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Not a day has gone by in the last few weeks without a mention of Ebola. Having made its way into North America, Ebola has become reached the top of the “to fear” list, making many worry that it will only be a matter of time before the disease dominates the continent. Effective vaccines and treatments for Ebola have yet to be discovered, though one may be hiding in plain sight: cannabis.
Cannabinoids in marijuana have gained more and more of a reputation as a way to control and aid one’s immune systems, specifically with diseases that target a body’s natural defense measures against viruses, like HIV. Dr. David B. Allen, medical director of Cannabis Sativa, Inc, and Brad Morehouse, founder of NewCure.org, both believe cannabis can combat Ebola in the same way.
First, a rundown on what Ebola is and does, so everyone understands the argument. Ebola is a virus that targets the RNA (which creates proteins) in cells, takes over, then begins to replicate itself. The virus is able to hide itself from virus killing cells by creating indivisibility cloak-like surface proteins, which makes fighting Ebola especially difficult for the body.
Another consequence of Ebola being an RNA virus is that it makes each strain unique to the individual infected, thus making the creation of a widely applicable vaccine incredibly difficult.
What makes Ebola deadly is the way in which one’s immune system reacts as time goes on. Aside from creating hemorrhaging and leaking between cells, Ebola primarily kills when a person’s body releases a massive amount of enzymes (a cytokine storm) and an overabundant, and fatal amount, of immune cells being activated.
That’s where marijuana comes in as a potential saving grace to those afflicted with Ebola. As Joe Martin points out, cannabis is contains natural antiretrovirals and is also an anti-inflammatory able to reduce the harm to the body caused by a cytokine storm.
Dr. Allen also notes that cannabis has already become a legitimate regulator of immune system processes for those infected with HIV, with the same processes being applicable to Ebola. Being a natural virus killer, Allen also notes how cannabis can prevent the other harmful consequences of Ebola, namely hemorrhaging and cell leaking.
Strong evidence suggests that cannabis can be a positive treatment for those suffering from Ebola, but all of which should be taken with a grain of salt. These are hypotheses, based on research involving other viruses, and not proven fact. Still, the argumentation is enough to warrant a clinical trial. Worst to worst, Ebola sufferers will smoke a bit of weed, which won’t make things worse…we hope.
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