The COVID syndrome affects around 98,000 people in the UK and is a long-haul condition that causes fatigue, depression and irritability. It was first described by a Saudi farmer in the 1970s, who developed fatigue and depression and went on to develop a disorder that has since been renamed after him. But despite huge advances in medical science, there is no cure for COVID and no evidence that using cannabis helps cure it. And despite the lack of evidence, the use of the drug has been banned in the UK since 1971.
There is currently a great deal of interest in the effect of cannabis on the body’s metabolism and some people believe that cannabis may prove to be beneficial in the treatment of long-haul CVD.Recent research increasingly suggests that cannabis may help treat certain symptoms in so-called COVID truckers. Although the long-term effects of COVID have not been adequately studied, patients experience symptoms such as mental abnormalities and brain fog, inflammation, effects on multiple organs, muscle and joint pain, palpitations, headaches, and severe physical fatigue that can last for weeks or months. The long-term effects of these symptoms are enormous, writes researcher Indrani Sarkar. Despite the array of often debilitating symptoms truckers face, researchers are trying to find an effective treatment plan even though the number of truckers is increasing. However, many studies suggest that cannabis – particularly the non-toxic cannabinoid molecules cannabidiol (CBD), cannabivarin (CVN) and beta-caryophyllene (BCP) – may play a role in helping truckers manage their symptoms and find some relief. One such study, published in the Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Mechanics, examined the efficacy of cannabis in symptom treatment strategies after COVID through a series of modeling and molecular docking studies. Of the four human proteins reported to be elevated or damaged by the virus, three – ACE2, interleukin-6 and serine transmembrane protease and NRP1 – were included in the study. Molecular docking and modeling have shown that cannabidiol and cannabivarin, derived from cannabis, can bind to and downregulate central nervous system proteins associated with postcoital symptoms, which may be useful for postcoital symptom management strategies, write the authors, who conclude by proposing cannabis as an important therapeutic herb for postcoital symptoms. Another study, published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, suggests that the cannabinoid molecule beta-caryophyllene may activate CB2 receptors to suppress multiple inflammatory mediators, thus addressing the triad of infection, immunity and inflammation in treating the virus. The authors explain that one of the most promising therapeutic targets for modulating immuno-inflammatory responses is the endocannabinoid system, specifically the activation of the cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2R), a G-protein coupled receptor that transmits anti-inflammatory properties through the modulation of multiple signaling pathways. Based on reasonable pharmacological mechanisms and therapeutic properties, we hypothesize that BCP has potential for investigation against COVID-19 and will inspire further preclinical and clinical studies. Despite promising results, people with COVID symptoms need not run to their local pharmacy just yet. The COVID study is still in its infancy, and much more research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of cannabinoids as part of a treatment strategy for truckers. In the meantime, people who feel unwell after taking COVID should consult their doctor.
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