A data firm is warning those infected with the novel coronoavirus to avoid consuming products that contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis.
Aurelius Data, a company dedicated to providing data around plant-based medicines, warned the public Tuesday that THC and COVID-19 don’t mix, based on what they know about how cannabinoids affect patients with influenza.
Data CEO Julie Armstrong said her company knows the COVID-19 affects the population in a similar way to influenza.
“And we know that in studies where THC was administered to mice with influenza, we saw an increase in viral loads and a decrease in the immune system to fight off the virus,” she said in a statement. “It stands to reason that the same would hold true for coronavirus and THC consumption could diminish the immune system of someone infected with the virus.”
However, while more research is needed, Aurelius noted it’s well established that cannabidiol (CBD) helps to modulate autoimmune and inflammatory responses.
Recently, the public has been getting conflicting information on whether other common anti-inflammatory medications are harmful to COVID-19 patients.
A: Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of of ibuprofen. pic.twitter.com/n39DFt2amF
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 18, 2020
Additional research is also needed to determine if THC is in fact harmful to coronavirus patients.
“Although no clinical trials exist showing poorer outcomes in patients infected with COVID-19 who use therapeutic or recreational cannabis, the data from pre-human studies urge caution for these individuals in the face of the current viral epidemic,” Barry Mennen, a doctor who works with medical cannabis, said in Auerlius’s statement. Mennen is also an adviser to the data company.
Aurelius Data has created a survey to help inform patients about how cannabis consumption affects viral infections. The questionnaire asks a patient’s symptoms, if they are concerned about contracting COVID-19, what conditions they are currently treating with medical cannabis or other pharmaceuticals and how effective they feel those treatments to be.
The brief survey can be taken here.
“Medical cannabis patients across this country are going to be affected by COVID-19 just like the rest of the population and they need to be aware of the interactions their cannabis medications could have on this disease,” CEO Armstrong said. “We are working to collect data in this under-researched area and provide them with the best recommendations we can moving forward.”
Top image: Map of the COVID-19 outbreak as of March 18, 2020, by Pandakekok9 via Wikimedia Commons