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THC in marijuana may help prevent fatal complications from COVID-19

Cannabis could be used to help treat potentially deadly complications with COVID-19, a growing body of research suggests.

Researchers at the University of South Carolina performed a trio of studies on mice which found that THC - the chemical that gives cannabis its mind-altering effect - could help prevent a harmful immune response that causes Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

ARDS is one of the most common complications for patients with severe cases of coronavirus. It can be fatal or lead to permanent pulmonary scarring.

The goal of the USC study was to see if THC could block the immune response that leads to ARDS developing by introducing a toxin into the mice that triggers the response.

In dozens of experiments across all three studies, all of the mice that were given THC after the toxin survived, while those that didn't get the chemical died.

The researchers cautioned that their work is still far from conclusive and stressed that they are not encouraging people to use marijuana to self-medicate for COVID-19.

However, they said the preliminary research showed immense promise of THC as a treatment for severe cases of the virus that has already killed more than 209,000 people in the US and more than one million around the world.

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