The American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) insists that all claims concerning cannabis and health are substantiated and evidence-based. On March 5, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic as the virus, COVID-19, spread at an unprecedented rate. While all options, including alternative modalities, are considered, as of March 18, 2020, we have yet to identify a curative treatment for COVID-19. Thus, as a leader in cannabis education for healthcare professionals, the ACNA responds by reviewing the facts on COVID-19 to dispel misinformation and help consumers and healthcare professionals make informed decisions.
The FDA made clear there are no available products to treat or cure the coronavirus at this time, including prescription pills, vaccines, potions, lotions, lozenges, etc. Cannabis and CBD products have no proof of efficacy against coronavirus, and so we must not claim otherwise. On March 6, 2020, the FDA sent a cease and desist letter to a CBD company in Idaho for selling the “Buhner Coronavirus Kit” for $155. The company removed the product from their website.
Early clinical research from China demonstrated COVID-19-related deaths could have resulted from virus-activated cytokine storm syndrome. Since then, several cannabis videos and articles have surfaced, arguing that cannabis can slow the cytokine storm. While pre-clinical studies may indicate some anti-viral properties of cannabis, evidence that cannabis or CBD treats or reduces recovery time for those with the COVID-19 virus does not yet exist.
Additionally, some cannabis companies market products as having antibacterial properties even though research is limited to animal data. It is essential to note that COVID-19 is a virus, not bacteria. Cannabis topicals should not replace antiseptic agents that prove efficacy against disease-causing microorganisms.
Finally, statements promoting cannabis as an immune boost are also surfacing. CB2 receptors on immune cells can reduce inflammation and modulate our immune system when activated. While research demonstrates the benefits of cannabinoids on inflammation and immune modulation, suppressing inflammation can inhibit the immune system, leading to complications when fighting a fever or infection.
In light of the recent restrictions and orders to shelter in place, many cannabis businesses are deemed non-essential, and patients are quickly losing access to their medicine. We must maintain some sense of normalcy during these rapidly changing times. While the use of cannabis to treat infections is still in its infancy, there is useful data on cannabis for anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia. Stress can exacerbate our anxiety, pain, and insomnia. Many find using cannabis to help manage these symptoms is essential. The ACNA strongly urges its members to reach out to local authorities to request cannabis retail and delivery services go uninterrupted. Accessing essential cannabis medicines is key to many of our health and well-being, and we must advocate for patients to maintain safe access as an essential service.
We encourage our members to practice social distancing as recommended by the CDC, to help flatten the curve. Whether we are on the front lines of COVID-19 or sheltering in place, it can be difficult to stay sane during this outbreak. Here are some tips to help with isolation.
- Online Creativity: Schedule some meals or dates through video. Make crafts, find a new recipe or consider taking an online class
- Get Active: Find ways to exercise, go outside if you can maintain 6 feet of distance. Watch exercise videos, stretch, try Yoga
- Write in a Journal: Start a journal to help gain perspective on your feelings around the impact of the virus. Consider starting a gratitude journal.
- Self-Care: Being home 24/7 can cause us to forget the basics. Schedule breaks, take a walk, set limits on how long you will work.
- Slow Down and Be Present: Be sure to take deep breaths, consider mediation and practice mindfulness.
To all of our members and their loved ones, we wish you the best of health and wellness during this challenging time. ACNA will continue to operate as best it can during this time.
In Health and Wellness,
President, American Cannabis Nurses Association