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Can CBD help relieve symptoms of ‘long Covid’?

CBD has history of being used to ease many of the same symptoms as those experienced by sufferers of long Covid.

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CBD could be a safe way to ease the worst of the symptoms until more is known about this debilitating condition.

For some people, coronavirus can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone, some of which could potentially be helped by CBD.

Last year was a learning curve when it came to Covid-19, and one of the key findings to emerge from the pandemic was that, for some, it was far from a brief illness.

While the NHS confirms that many people who contract the virus will feel better in a few days or weeks and most will make a full recovery within 12 weeks, a significant minority will still be feeling the effects weeks or even months after the original infection.

This has become known as long Covid, or post-Covid-19 syndrome, and little is known why it affects some people more than others – especially when the original infection is often mild.

However, research based on findings from the Covid Symptom Study App pointed to a greater likelihood of long Covid among asthmatics, and white women aged between 40 and 60.

Symptoms include extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations and brain fog, along with altered taste and smell, joint pain and gastrointestinal issues – however, they vary greatly between patients.

With little known about the condition on account of it being such a new virus, many sufferers find the ongoing symptoms impact greatly on daily life, leading to stress and depression on top of the physical elements.

Treatment options are limited, with gentle exercise, mindfulness and regular rest, along with over-the-counter pain medications, the only real options.

However, there may be another way; CBD has a long history of being used to ease many of the same symptoms as found in long Covid, and has the benefit of being safe and non-addictive too.

Joint pain

CBD is a valuable weapon in the fight against chronic pain, historically providing much-needed relief in conditions such as arthritis, where prescription-strength medication failed.

In 2020, a study of Canadian medical cannabis patients found that its use reduced the use of prescription painkillers, down from 28 per cent of participants at the start of the study to 11 per cent at the end. 

It is thought that CBD’s pain-relieving properties stem largely from its anti-inflammatory effects – making it ideally suited to the nature of joint pain. 

Anxiety and stress

Increasing research shows that CBD is a safe and effective anxiety remedy, so much so that a Canadian firm is developing a prescription drug based on the compound.

EmpowerPharm Inc is currently developing a unique prescription drug containing synthetic CBD as the active pharmaceutical ingredient to treat anxiety.

And while research is still ongoing, preliminary studies also suggest that CBD has been shown to reduce stress in animals such as rats.

Study subjects were observed as having lower behavioural signs of anxiety, and the physiological symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate, also improved – good news for those for whom long Covid has caused palpitations.

Brain fog

One of the most unsettling long Covid symptoms is brain fog and an inability to concentrate, long after the original symptoms have eased.

While cannabis – which contains high levels of the psychoactive THC – has been associated with impaired cognitive function, studies have found that the use of CBD oil may actually help to improve cognition.

For those people still suffering from the after-effects of Covid-19, it can appear that, due to the relative newness of the condition, there is no help available.

CBD could be a safe, non-addictive way to treat and ease the worst of the symptoms until more is known about this debilitating condition.

 

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