Can weed really kill the coronavirus? Let's find out
There has been a fervor about the new coronavirus disease—now known as COVID-19—since early 2020.
Infections have topped 65,000 worldwide, causing an introduction of travel bans, trade restrictions and quarantines. The death toll has risen to at 1,486 as of this writing, with the majority occurring in China.
One interesting side effect of the panic has been a massive amount of internet searches asking, "can cannabis kill the coronavirus?". The spike in interest can be traced to a meme that was posted on Twitter this month by Filmmaker Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri.
Agnihotri circulated a screenshot of a fake news bulletin that claimed a team of scientists had found marijuana to be an effective treatment for coronavirus infections.
The false image featured the headline "Breaking News – Weed Kills Coronavirus" and began circulating worldwide on WhatsApp, a popular free text messaging app, before spreading to other social media platforms. In his tweet Agnihotri said the "solution to a lot of the world's problems lies in India".
"But you can't find them as long as you ridicule our ancient wisdom. Cannabis is a magic plant. Till mid-80s it was sold by Govt."
"Because of Rajiv Gandhi and western Pharma companies it got bad name. Make cannabis legal," he said.
To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. However, those infected with 2019-nCoV should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to coordinate efforts to develop medicines to treat nCoV with a range of partners.
Official statement from the World Health Organization
His claims were quickly revealed to be untrue, as the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that there is no specific medication currently available to treat COVID-19, saying "clinical trials are under way, but there is no mention of a cure being established".
Although Agnihotri spread misleading—and potentially dangerous—misinformation, the fact that it generated such rapid online momentum is a testament to the increasing global awareness of cannabis as a healthcare treatment option.
In fact, there is a growing body of research which suggests that cannabis might even be the next big weapon in our fight against superbugs, thanks to its anti-microbial qualities.