The new strain of coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, has been spreading rapidly across countries. As the 2019-nCoV continues to affect thousands of people, viral and unverified claims about its treatment and cure are being shared all over social media.
The latest claim is that weed or cannabis can kill the novel coronavirus and save those who are infected by it.
The claim has been shared widely, including by Bollywood filmmaker Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri.
Solution to a lot of world’s problems lie in India. But you can’t find them as long as you ridicule our ancient wisdom.— Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) February 8, 2020
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. pic.twitter.com/qrwynpT6IW
At the onset, it must be clear that scientists and doctors are still figuring out ways to treat 2019-nCoV. Researchers are in the early stages of understanding the potentially dangerous strain of virus which has never been encountered in humans before. Efforts to develop a vaccine are ongoing, but a new vaccine will probably take months, or even years to come into actual use.
In a few cases, antiviral drugs conventionally used against HIV, flu or Ebola have helped show improvement. But experts are still wary of considering them a universally applicable and proven course of treatment. China is in the process of conducting clinical trials of these medicines.
So can any claims be made about a plant being a possible ‘killer’ of the virus?
FIT spoke to Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant - Internal Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.
Dr Suranjit Chatterjee“There is absolutely no scientific evidence to believe any such claims. We are still figuring out the virus. Until solid research is conducted, there is no reason to go by these statements.”
Dr Sumit Ray is a Senior Consultant, Critical Care Medicine. Speaking to FIT, he said, “Cannabinoids are useful for stress, pain relief and anti-nausea. They have been part of many cultures, not just in Indian. But, there is no evidence to suggest that it has anti-viral activity.”
Therefore, these claims are devoid of any scientific basis and must not be believed without prior verification.
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