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THC could treat deadly COVID-19 symptoms – study



A new study has revealed how THC could treat acute acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by COVID-19.

Researchers at the University of South Carolina (UofSC) have found that ARDS can be completely prevented by treatment with THC, a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant.

The findings, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, also suggests a possible treatment for ARDS caused by COVID-19.

The new paper is based on research by Dr Mitzi Nagarkatti and Dr Prakash Nagarkatti at the University of South Carolina (UofSC) School of Medicine, who have studied how plant-derived compounds can be used to prevent and reduce inflammation throughout the body for a number of years.

When inhaled the bacterial toxin Staphylococcal enterotoxin can cause ARDS by activating immune cells to produce massive amounts of cytokines leading to “cytokine storm”.

This can cause the lungs and other organs to fail, often resulting in death.

This immune process is similar to that seen in patients with severe COVID-19 who are admitted to the hospital and develop ARDS accompanied by cytokine storm, which leads to respiratory and multi-organ failure.

The studies also showed that Staphylococcal enterotoxin alters the microbiome in the lungs leading to the emergence of pathogenic microbiota.

But THC helps this symptom too, by promoting beneficial bacteria that suppress inflammation thereby preventing the damage to the lungs.

The new paper is based on research by Dr Mitzi Nagarkatti and Dr Prakash Nagarkatti at the UofSC School of Medicine.

Dr Mitzi Nagarkatti said: “Acute respiratory distress syndrome is triggered by a variety of etiologic agents. Currently, there are no FDA-approved drugs to treat ARDS because of which the mortality rate is close to 40 percent. Our studies suggest that THC is highly effective to treat ARDS and thus, clinical trials are critical to investigate if this works.”

Prakash Nagarkatti added: “Cytokine storm is a huge clinical issue which leads to multiorgan failure and often death. It is also seen in COVID-19 patients, and there are no effective treatment modalities against this syndrome.

“We have been working on cannabinoids for over 20 years and found that cannabinoids such as THC are highly anti-inflammatory. Thus, our studies raise the exciting suggestion to test THC against ARDS seen in COVID-19 patients.”

The Nagarkatti laboratory has performed decades of pioneering studies on cannabinoids.

Their work on the use of another cannabinoid derived from cannabidiol (CBD), to treat autoimmune hepatitis have led to FDA approval of CBD for the condition.





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