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You may have read recently that weed might be a natural antidote to the coronavirus.

Cannabis and Covid

Does CBD really help prevent or treat a coronavirus infection? What about marijuana? Experts break it down.

The buzz took off last month, when researchers at the University of Chicago published findings from a laboratory experiment on rodents that suggested CBD — a compound in cannabis — may block the coronavirus from replicating in cells. And so came the headlines claiming that weed could prevent or treat COVID.

But scientists who study the ways cannabis interacts with pathogens, our cells and the immune system say understanding the impact cannabis has on SARS-CoV-2 is not so simple.

COVID-19 is a complex disease, and cannabis is a complex plant. Different compounds in the plant — like THC and CBD — have vastly different effects that, for the most part, aren’t well understood. And even though certain compounds derived from cannabis have shown success against SARS-CoV-2 in lab experiments, those findings don’t necessarily translate to humans in the real world. Robust clinical trials haven’t yet been done to clearly understand the dosing and the mechanisms of action in the human body.