Can loose leaf help mitigate COVID-19s impact?

 


Let us start by saying: These are tough and confusing times and we hope you’re doing well. 


Within a few weeks in March, the entire world went from going on about their normal day to day to a collective lockdown that a significant chunk of the world is still dealing with. Infections continue to rise as more and more people get frustrated about being cooped up in their houses or in many cases, being extremely anxious about whether they’ll be able to keep a roof over their heads. Millions of people in the US have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and thousands of businesses have pulled the shutters down. 


However, an important exception to this in many states, especially in California was cannabis shops (dispensaries), which have continued to stay in business as they're considered essential, a rather ironic inclusion given that most of the rest of the US is not pot-friendly, legally speaking. Even Elon Musk went on to talk about it during his twitter storm, saying that it's an odd situation for cannabis to be readily available in a legal and safe manner in California while people in other states go to prison for doing the exact same thing. A sad state of affairs indeed.

 

cannabis herb

Keeping dispensaries open in California might have just helped reduce a large number of COVID cases and save several thousand lives 

Anyway, getting back to the topic. While we know that one of the reasons why dispensaries were allowed to be open is because of the significant amount of revenue it brings in. However, there’s another really helpful aspect of loose leaf that may just help massively with this pandemic and it's unsure if the California government did this on purpose, but there have been studies that suggest that cannabis and nicotine might actually be helpful in combating the coronavirus, should it enter the body. The beginning of the pandemic saw many health experts caution people on smoking or smoking up as it can cause problems to our lungs and cause anxiety which would, in turn, make our body’s ability to deal with COVID-19 a much tougher battle. However, newer studies seem to suggest just the opposite. 


Now, the studies aren't entirely conclusive and this should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt given its contentious nature. However, what the science seems to suggest is that given that a certain proportion of people tend to get COVID-19, a smaller proportion of smokers seem to be on that list, with numbers being significantly lower (look this up). 


Why? Well, it seems that one of the receptors in our body called the Angiotensin-converting enzyme II, also known as the ACE2 receptor, is important for the coronavirus to latch onto and multiply/become potent in our body. The ACE2 receptor is found primarily in our nasal cavity, our lungs, mouth and in lesser amounts in our kidneys and gastrointestinal tracts, which makes it very easy for the coronavirus to multiply in our body.

 

The ACE2 receptor, found all over the body, binds with the virus and spreads quickly. Nicotine and CBD in particular suppress and reduce the availability of ACE2 for COVID

 

What researchers have found, with varying degrees of success, is that nicotine and CBD seem to be suppressing the ACE2 receptor’s ability to bind with the coronavirus. Both nicotine and CBD themselves latch onto the ACE2 receptors to multiple and metabolize within the body, which in turn leaves the body with fewer ACE2 receptors for the coronavirus to latch on to. Therefore, it seems like for the coronavirus, there are weak or no receptors to latch onto. This in turn makes things a lot better for people who might be worried about catching COVID-19  and/or that it might be an easier battle. Right? 


Well, what's interesting is that people with diabetes also show a similar drop off in the percentage of cases, and we know that people with diabetes tend to have a horrible time with this disease, so the numbers and science behind this are rather puzzling. What makes things a lot more confusing is that we're not even sure if more or less ACE2 receptors are supposed to be good for our body’s chance to fight against the coronavirus. If more ACE2 receptors in the body are good for our body's fight against COVID, then we should be seeing a higher proportion of smokers in the ICU ward. 

 

 

People with diabetes, along with smokers, are an anomaly in that very few diabetics have been infected with the Coronavirus

However, that doesn't really seem to be the case here and we don't really know why. While this is one explanation, there are various angles to look at things, especially in the medical field, where this is paramount. There might be an unexplainable reason for diabetic patients not being vulnerable to COVID-19, but we’re probably not looking at the right places. Either way, there’s a good chance that a person who smokes or loves their CBD supplement, is probably going to be fine. 


What’s even more interesting is that further research undertaken by a Canadian research group found that there are around 800 strains of cannabis strains, particularly CBD Sativa strains that can probably be used to help reduce the incidence of COVID among many people, especially at-risk groups (older people, people with breathing issues and other health problems) could definitely use all the help possible.

 

cbd benefits

Scientists have found that nasal sprays and mouthwash can help reduce cross-infection of COVID, in which case infusing CBD in it will work more efficiently

 

Scientists and people in the medical community have been working tirelessly trying to figure out how this virus can be treated and beaten. One of the solutions of treatment, particularly for frontline healthcare workers is that they use nasal sprays and mouthwashes to reduce cross-infection through the nasal and oral cavities. What one team has suggested is that CBD is infused in these sprays and mouthwashes for even better efficiency in reducing the chances of getting COVID. A really cool solution that might save a lot of lives.


This virus is an unpredictable and difficult virus to understand and currently our knowledge of it, while increasing and improving at warp speed, is still rather limited and very conflicting, as well. We're not suggesting that smoking or smoking up with 100% help you build immunity towards COVID because we don't know if that's the case, at least not definitively. What we do know is that smoking cigarettes or pot will definitely not make you more susceptible to COVID. Basically, our contention is that if you're safe and isolated, you should go over to a dispensary and light a doob and have fun, especially given the circumstances we’re in, some stress-free moments in a struggling world would definitely be welcome.

For now, any and all things that might help treat COVID will be a welcome relief until there’s a vaccine or a proper treatment that can take care of the disease effectively. Until that happens, we’re stuck to being super cautious (at least most of us) and having sad lonely tokes.