Cannabis and Covid: What You Should Know

cannabis and covid

Regina Nelson, Ph.D, and J. Theodore Carson, MSEd.

2020 has been a year like no other!

The first real viral epidemic to strike the globe in a hundred years has left many of us uncertain where to go or who to turn to for accurate information. As always, we have scientists and doctors on the one side engaged in rigorous research and inquiry, and on the other side, we have pseudo-scientists, quacks, and predators preying on fear and desperation. In between, there exists a desperately frightened population, waiting for answers. As social scientists and educators, we may not have all of the answers, but here is some of what we found while sorting through the most recent research as well as what it means for the average patient. While cannabis contains hundreds of compounds that are believed to affect or interact with the human body, the chemicals which are the most studied, especially in regards to Covid-19, are CBD, THC, and the aromatic compounds of the cannabis plant known as terpenes. Recent studies have given some hope for potential treatments and even preventative strategies for cannabis patients. While the authors will not venture to make claims regarding the efficacy of using cannabis in preventing or treating Covid-19, we invite readers to study the attached source materials and use them to engage in meaningful dialogue with your healthcare provider. This post will look at cannabis as a prophylactic or as a supporting treatment and aftercare therapy. After all, we do all have an endocannabinoid system to care for.


Anytime we are talking about the disease, the first point of order is prevention. It’s always better to avoid an infection than to treat one. Recent research by Wang, et al. (2020) suggests a mouthwash or throat gargle with a low dose THC:CBD ratio of 1:15-1:21 may be highly effective in inhibiting the ability of a virus to enter a cell. Additionally, CBD seemed to produce a cellular reaction to which scientists say “could conceivably disable the virus before it has a chance to hijack host cells for reproduction (Wang, et al., 2020).” This is potentially game-changing! While more investigation is required before anyone can say for certain, this is definitely an avenue worth exploring! In essence, it may be as easy as swishing a tincture several times a day–and many medical cannabis patients do that anyway!


Obviously, prevention is something to hope for, but overwhelming numbers of people are being affected–globally, though the U.S. is leading in infection rates. Much of the underlying problem with severe infections like COVID-19 seems to lie in the “cytokine storms” that occur in the body and lead to scarring and fibrosis in respiratory tissues. A cytokine storm is a term describing a massive flood of chemicals throughout the body that instructs tissue to inflame. This massive over-inflammation of tissue can disrupt the body’s communication networks and damage necessary structures, as well as encouraging the body’s immune system to begin attacking itself. According to research summarized by Esposito, et al. (2020) in an open letter to the British Journal of Pharmacology, oral CBD therapy starting at 100 mg/day with titration to 300 mg/day was shown to mitigate the type of cytokine storm that results in lung failure. Similar activity was found in mice exposed to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC). A study written by Muhammed, et al. (2020) found that administering respiratory treatments of THC resulted in a 100% survival rate in mice, while the entire control group died within 72-120 hours of exposure. In essence, this study supports the idea that patients following a good medical cannabis therapy plan as outlined in The Survivor’s Guide to Medical Cannabis are already supporting the immune system functions that fight these cytokine storms.

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Work cited:
Giuseppe Esposito, Marcella Pesce, Luisa Seguella, Walter Sanseverino, Jie Lu, Chiara
Corpetti, Giovanni Sarnelli. The potential of cannabidiol in the COVID-19 pandemic.
First published: 10 June 2020

Amira Mohammed, Hasan Alghetaa, Muthanna Sultan, Narendra P. Singh, Prakash Nagarkatti, and
Mitzi Nagarkatti. Administration of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Post-Staphylococcal Enterotoxin
B Exposure Protects Mice From Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Toxicity.
Front Pharmacol. 2020; 11: 893.
Published online 2020 Jun 16.
doi: 10.3389/fphar.2020.00893

Bo Wang, Anna Kovalchuk, Dongping Li, Yaroslav Ilnytskyy, Igor Kovalchuk, and Olga Kovalchuk.
In Search of Preventative Strategies: Novel AntiInflammatory High-CBD Cannabis Sativa Extracts Modulate ACE2 Expression in COVID-19 Gateway Tissues.

Posted 19 April, 2020. doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0315.v1

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