How Can Cannabis Help with Viral Infections? Anamika Mehta, Molecular Genetic Scientist

Medicinal properties of Cannabis is becoming important and scientifically proven by every new research paper being published on this topic. As we are on the verge of Covid19 becoming a pandemic, the world is concered about ways to battle the coronavirus Covid19. The immune system has the important function of defending the host from foreign agents or pathogens, and, depending on the nature of these, it makes use of innate and/or adaptive immunity mechanisms to eliminate them. In both cases, proteins and specialized cells are involved in eliminating pathogens. Cannabis plays an important role in fighting viruses along with other microbes. The immune system puts in place a complex mechanism to fulfil its function, including responding to hormones, neurotransmitters, and proteins, and specific lipids, such as endocannabinoids (eCBs). It may be that the activation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a decisive role in preventing the development of a disease.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) It is composed of eCBs and enzymes (for the synthesis and breakdown of eCBs), as well as the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, which are widely distributed throughout the body. Cannabinoid receptors are activated by different ligands that are either endogenous, such as eCBs, or exogenous, such as cannabis derivatives and synthetic compounds.


What is immune system? The immune system is made up of special organs, cells and chemicals that fight infection (microbes). The main parts of the immune system are white blood cells, antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus, and the bone marrow.


It is well known that the immune system interacts with the nervous, immune, and endocrine systems, now considered as the neuroimmunoendocrin network.

In this sense, ECS activation could be considered an important factor in the study of an effective or deficient immune response against infectious diseases. It should be highlighted that ECS activation might also present complex interactions during the course of an infection. The immune system is responsible for dealing with foreign agents and their clearance, but, when the ECS is activated, the final result is sometimes different from what would be expected, i.e., the survival of infectious agents within the host. In the case of viral infections, the contact of viral particles with cannabinoid compounds makes them capable of positively or negatively modulating some immune response parameters. We will have to study the response of cannabis on Covid19. But for an experimental model study of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) induced by infection with Theiler's virus, showed that cannabinoid agents was good therapeutic targets for treating MS due to the fact that they promote remyelination.

 Anamika Mehta, Molecular Genetic Scientist

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