Covid-19 is an issue that needs no introduction. Since early 2019, this highly contagious virus has dominated the headlines and the lives of people worldwide. As a disease that was previously unknown, medical professionals have had to race to figure out how Corona works and how to treat it. While many things are still undiscovered, here’s what we know so far.
How Covid-19 affects the body
The severity of the Coronavirus is different for everyone that contracts it, but here are the basics of what happens. After breathing in or touching droplets from an infected person, the virus usually makes its way to the mucous membranes in the throat. As your body detects the invasion, it creates an immunological response, often resulting in symptoms such as fever, cough, fatigue and a sore throat.
Once inside the body, the virus begins to replicate, helping it to spread further and often killing off healthy cells in the process. The true danger comes when the virus makes its way through the respiratory tract and into the lungs. As the infection attaches itself to the healthy lung cells, they become inflamed, causing pain and difficulty breathing.
In severe cases, this becomes acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and is when the patient will need to be hospitalised.
Covid pain relief with CBD
Most patients who contract the Coronavirus will be able to recover at home with no medical intervention. While CBD should not be viewed as a cure or prevention for Covid-19, it can help to provide relief from symptoms during the recovery stage.
Many people have described non-serious cases of the disease as similar to a cold or flu. During this time, they may feel many different pain symptoms including muscle aches, sore throat, headaches and painful lungs from coughing.
As a proven pain reliever, CBD can provide relief from these problems. For sore muscles, topical treatments may be used, while all other pains should be treated with sublingual or oral products, such as CBD oil or CBD gummies. Corona patients are advised not to smoke or vape CBD. While these products (like CBD flowers) are harmless in themselves, any kind of smoke could irritate the lungs further.
Other ways CBD can help Covid patients
The broad-ranging benefits of CBD mean that pain relief isn’t the only way it can be helpful to sufferers of Covid-19. As we’ve seen above, the first thing that happens with catching Covid (or any virus) is an immunological response from our bodies. The way that CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system means it plays a role in helping to maintain a healthy immune system. This may help the body defend itself against catching the virus, as well as increasing the white blood cells that help fight off infection.
Perhaps the most impactful way that CBD can help with Covid-19 is its capacity as an anti-inflammatory agent. In the early stages, this can help amplify the pain-relieving benefits of CBD. The flu-like aches and pains and sore throat are linked to inflammation – so this case, CBD is working to help you in two different ways.
Most importantly, CBD can be of assistance when the virus reaches the lungs, which is when it becomes the most dangerous. Researchers performed studies on mice in which they had induced ARDS, resulting in symptoms similar to those seen in acute covid cases. The mice had a reduction in their blood oxygen levels of up to 10%, as well as damage to the lung tissue. After being treated with CBD, these negative conditions were either partially or totally reversed.
The problem with over-the-counter pain relief
Of course, there are plenty of traditional over-the-counter remedies for pain such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). However, even unrelated to the current pandemic, there are issues with these medications. NSAIDs, which include medications such as ibuprofen, can cause side effects such as stomach pain, nausea and ulcers. If taken regularly, they can lead to a greater risk of heart conditions and stroke.
During the course of the pandemic, health professionals reported that taking NSAIDs may increase the severity of the virus. These claims were later debated, but the fact that there are still mixed messages around the subject means that we don’t have a definitive answer about the safety of using these drugs in combination with the virus.
Painkillers and the Covid-19 vaccination
With the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, new concerns emerged about taking over-the-counter painkillers. Although it’s too early for any research into their interaction with the Covid vaccine specifically, painkillers such as NSAIDs or aspirin are known to interact with the efficacy of the regular flu shot. As such it is advised to avoid them both before and after the vaccination.