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CBD and Health CBD Benefits

Cannabis and Covid [Cannabis Properties, How to Use It Safely, & the CBD-Covid Relationship]

The appearance of Covid has coincided with a rise in depression, anxiety, and cannabis consumption. This raises the question regarding a correlation between the consumption of cannabinoids and the increase in depression and anxiety.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What Is CBD

CBD Effects

What Is CBD

The Implications of Covid-19 On Depression

The Increase In Cannabis Consumption During Covid-19

How to Use CBD Without Risking Your Respiratory Health

Conclusion

References

Consuming cannabis has gone far beyond ‘getting high.’ As our knowledge of the plant grows, the applications for it grow in parallel to it.

Uses hidden or unknown to us are due to the lack of legal assurance for research and development (R & R & R&D). But with hemp’s relatively newly acquired legal label, the flow of knowledge and product innovation has spiked incredibly over the past three years.

Cannabis Sativa is a family of plants that has two main varieties. Marijuana and Hemp.

Marijuana is heavily loaded with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. It is essential to know because THC is the ONLY psychoactive component found in cannabis.

This being the main reason why marijuana continues to be illegal in so many states and countries.

However, hemp has a minuscule amount of THC. Only up to 0.3% of THC, to be exact. This being the main reason why hemp enjoys such a contrasting legal status to that of marijuana. Hemp is federally legal in all 50 states.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid (cannabis component) that is also federally legal as long as it is extracted from hemp sources.

CBD Effects

It isn’t easy to put the finger on the actual effects and benefits of CBD because there isn’t any conclusive evidence to back it up. But this does not mean that there isn’t any evidence at all.

The anecdotal evidence collected from new and frequent users is overwhelmingly positive. Some people have even gone out to claim that they’ve been able to treat terrible conditions with CBD better than they ever could with prescription meds.

Scientists have also developed a ton of research that seems to back up these anecdotal claims. But even with a ton of research, clinical and preclinical trials still lack to confirm these potential benefits as a fact.

Even though primarily based on personal user experiences and anecdotal evidence, these are the most common reasons why people have started to use CBD oil:

  1. Could Act As an Anticonvulsant to Suppress Seizure Activity
  2. Helps Manage Pain
  3. May Have Antipsychotic Properties
  4. Acts As An Anxiolytic [helps cope with anxiety]
  5. Has Been Attributed With Anti Inflammatory Qualities

As you would expect with any foreign substance to your body (not only CBD), there may be some risks and side effects involved.

However:

The risks associated with CBD consumption have been rendered minimal. Many ongoing studies aim to help understand the risks involved in the long-term, but nothing conclusive has come of them yet.

Side effects are more common but are easily avoided for most people by suspending use or adjusting the dose. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, then the wisest way to go about it is to ask a licensed physician first. Which we recommend doing before taking any form of cannabis or cannabis-derived products.

A few common side effects may include

1. Nausea

2. Gastrointestinal Distress

3. Fatigue

4. Irritability

The above side effects are mainly attributed to a miscalculation of the appropriate dose for treating the symptoms.

CBD has been shown to interact with other drugs, so if you take prescription drugs, it’s always best to stay away from CBD or consult with your doctor first.

But what is the link between cannabis and viruses? Specifically Covid-19.

Aside from the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that some claim CBD has, the link between cannabis and viruses is somewhat indirect.

The Implications of Covid-19 On Depression

Although it has not been long enough to conclusively correlate the appearance of the Covid-19 pandemic with a shift in depression rates around the world, there have been several reported cases and preliminary studies that point us towards that assumption.

In a cross-sectional survey conducted in Gansu, China, investigators found that the novel coronavirus pandemic's outbreak brought on psychological pressure on Chinese medical staff [1].

The survey was based on self-ratings of depression and anxiety, which later led to the conclusion that first-line healthcare workers have high anxiety and depression symptoms that should be dealt with by adopting positive coping styles. This conclusion leaves many stones uncovered but leads to the belief that healthcare workers' negative emotions need to be addressed.

In Ireland, and as a result of a nationwide quarantine on March 27th, 2020, a group of investigators looked to assess the prevalence rates of General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and depression to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The online screening process results showed that positive GAD or depression was associated with a variety of factors that included younger age, female sex, but most importantly, loss of income due to Covid-19, Covid-19 infection, and having a higher perceived risk of Covid-19 infection. The results were even more convincing for citizens aged 65+ [2].

The pandemic's impact on depression rates is yet to be understood completely, but studies like these shine a light on a critical issue. 

A similar study conducted in Hong Kong, where situational circumstances related to Covid-19 had a detrimental effect on civilian mental health, supports this theory [3].

As well as a global survey conducted that showed "...anxiety, stress, and depression are overwhelmingly prevalent in the world during COVID 19." [4].

The Increase In Cannabis Consumption During Covid-19

Coping with depression and anxiety is no easy feat. Many studies have tried to understand the relationship between cannabis/CBD and depression, but whether CBD works as a treatment for depression is not what we're here to understand.

In this case, we want to focus on what people believe to be a coping mechanism for depression, regardless of the subject's medical assessment.

There is a long list of studies that have tried to comprehend the increase of cannabis use during the pandemic, and although we can't put the finger on the exact cause for the rise, most studies point towards an evident increase in consumption.

Due to the potential link between CBD and depression, it's not unreasonable to interpret the rise of consumption due to the increase in depression and anxiety mentioned earlier in this article.

But is this relationship backed up by conclusive evidence? It, unfortunately, is not.

If you feel inclined to raise your CBD intake due to the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, it would be wise to stay away from smoking and inhalation. Although we're not qualified clinicians, it doesn't take much to understand that Covid-19 is an illness with respiratory implications, and inhaling smoke into your lungs could potentially cause further damage.

How to Use CBD Without Risking Your Respiratory Health

Fortunately, you can choose many CBD product categories that don’t require inhaling smoke or vapor.

Although CBD cannot be interpreted as a treatment for a Covid-19, if you do feel inclined to consume it, an alternative to inhalation is what you’re looking for. CBD can come in edibles, sublingual drops, topically applied products, and many more.

Conclusion

Several studies have addressed the rise in depression and anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic. Similarly, other studies have alluded to the increase in cannabis consumption during the same time. Although there isn’t any conclusive evidence that correlates both increases, it’s not unlikely that they are.

However, CBD or any other cannabinoid CANNOT be considered a treatment or coping mechanism for covid, depression, anxiety, or any other medical condition. 

Hemmfy articles and blogs are meant to entertain and educate. However, we are not medical professionals and do not intend to give medical advice through them.

The knowledge around CBD and other cannabis-derived products is growing and constantly changing, as does their legal status. Hence, we recommend checking with your local authorities and a licensed physician prior to consumption.

References

[1] Zhu, J., Sun, L., Zhang, L., Wang, H., Fan, A., Yang, B., Xiao, S., & Li, W. (2020). Prevalence and Influencing Factors of Anxiety and Depression Symptoms in the First-Line Medical Staff Fighting Against the COVID-19 in Gansu. SSRN Electronic Journal, 1. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3550054

[2] Nyayakar, S. (2020). A Study on Assessment of Depression, Anxiety and Stress among South Indian Population During the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Biomedical Engineering, 1. https://doi.org/10.37628/ijbme.v6i2.748

[3] Choi, E. P. H., Hui, B. P. H., & Wan, E. Y. F. (2020). Depression and Anxiety in Hong Kong during COVID-19. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(10), 3740. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103740

[4] Shah, S. M. A., Mohammad, D., Qureshi, M. F. H., Abbas, M. Z., & Aleem, S. (2020). Prevalence, Psychological Responses and Associated Correlates of Depression, Anxiety and Stress in a Global Population, During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic. Community Mental Health Journal, 57(1), 101–110. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-020-00728-y

[5] Half of cannabis users increased consumption during first wave of COVID-19. (2021). CAMH. https://www.camh.ca/en/camh-news-and-stories/half-cannabis-users-increased-consumption-1st-wave-covid-19

[6] Laar, M. V. W. (2020). Cannabis and COVID-19: Reasons for Concern. Frontiers. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.601653/full

[7] Vanderbruggen, N. (2020). Self-Reported Alcohol, Tobacco, and Cannabis Use during COVID-19 Lockdown Measures: Results from a Web-Based Survey. Abstract - European Addiction Research 2020, Vol. 26, No. 6 - Karger Publishers. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/510822

Simon Cartagena

Simon Cartagena is a full-time cannabis copywriter. This has led him to write for companies like Hemmfy.com where he acts as Senior Content Writer and other world-renowned cannabis publications. Simon has created Content Marketing strategies and articles that have helped company revenues increase by up to 1,000%. Simon’s goal is to help people understand cannabis in an industry where misinformation seems to be predominant.