What is coronavirus?
Many are under the assumption the coronavirus that broke out in late 2019 is a new virus. The term coronavirus is, in fact, a term used to collectively describe a large family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses, from the common cold to more severe diseases like the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-Cov) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-Cov). A novel coronavirus (nCov) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are viruses that originate in animals and are transmittable to humans. There are detailed studies that found the origin of the MERS-Cov to be dromedary camels while the SARS-Cov originally came from civet cats.
How is it spreading?
The virus mainly spreads from person to person. It can spread via respiratory droplets excreted by a person who sneezes or coughs. These droplets may land on another person’s mouth or nose or even inhale into the lungs.
The virus can also spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching one’s mouth, nose, or ear.
Who are at risk?
Everyone is at risk of contracting the virus. However, there are certain groups of people who may be at a higher risk than others. Some people who are more susceptible than others are those who have compromised immune systems. People who suffer underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are also at a higher risk than others.
People who spend a prolonged amount of time in crowded and enclosed areas are also at high risk.
Canada’s efforts in monitoring the virus
Since the outbreak of CoVid-19 in Wuhan, China, the Public Health Agency of China has closely monitored the situation while the Government of Canada continues to assess the risks of traveling and has recommended avoiding certain high-risk areas.
As of March 4, 2020, Canada alone has a total of 30 confirmed cases according to the World Health Organization (WHO). These numbers plummeted to 93 confirmed cases on March 10 according to Health Canada. 36 of the 93 cases come from Ontario, 39 in British Columbia, 14 in Alberta, and 4 in Quebec.
Prevention is better than cure
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared some steps on how to prevent illness and the best way is to avoid being exposed to the virus is by:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue, and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
The human body’s first line of defense has physical and chemical barriers that protect us from the harsh outside world. The skin is the waterproof physical barrier, whereas, tears, mucus, and saliva we produce are the chemical barriers.
These barriers might not sound very impressive but if these are compromised, the bacteria and viruses from the outside can easily breach the human body and this can quickly lead to infection and complications.
When viruses breach the physical barriers, the human body has a programmed immune system to immediately recognize and mediate these foreign bodies entering. Upon entering of these foreign bodies, this triggers an immediate immune response and the body starts sending the white blood cells and molecules as soldiers to fight the invaders and substances that threaten your health to prevent illness.
It is widely known that boosting one’s immune system would help the body to fight and fend off bacteria, harmful substances, and viruses.
In the light of coronavirus, strengthening one’s resistance to infectious diseases will help defend you to the dangers of the virus, with properly observing proper hygiene practices. How to boost your immune system? Doctors would always advise rest, workout, relax, observe proper hygiene habits, consume a healthy balanced diet, and take vitamins A, D, E, and B vitamins as a supplement.
Healthy improvements in the lifestyle can help and conversely if the immune system is compromised, this leads to an increased vulnerability to the virus, decreased recognition and destruction of the virus, and increased infection time which can lead to serious complications and even death.
Cannabis on Immunity
Health Canada shows that there are research studies that suggest certain cannabinoids have a wide range and complex effects on the immune system function.
Cannabis is wild in the tropical and temperate areas of the world and is well-known with its species; Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. Cannabis has over 400 chemical entities and of which, there are more than 60 cannabinoids but cannabis is known for its two major cannabinoid compounds: the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the cannabidiol (CBD).
Sativa trains provide stimulating and energizing effects which makes them the best species to use during the day. Boosting energy, sativas promote a feeling of well-being that puts consumers at ease while there is an increase in focus and energy.
Indica strains provide a more relaxing and calming experience, making them a great choice for nighttime use. This species is mostly associated with sleep.
Cannabis comes in various strains. Every individual strain has a dominant cannabinoid and unique effects. Strains also have different content levels of THC, CBD, and sometimes, CBN.
THC is primarily produced in the leave and buds of the female plant and is the main psychoactive compound that is responsible for the high experience.
CBD is not a psychoactive component and is considered to be responsible for the medicinal properties of cannabis.
Norhan Mehrez, a psychology master’s student at Concordia University, investigated last 2019 how cannabinoids affect the immune system. That cannabinoid has pro- and anti-inflammatory effects and also can be stimulatory or inhibitory on the immune system. Mehrez also explained last 2019 that “Two major components of Cannabis sativa, THC and CBD, have been shown to regulate the function of immune cells.”
Meanwhile, Prakash Nagarkatii and colleagues from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, have research that explains smoking cannabis can cause severe immunodeficiency in.
Research studies on how cannabis affects the immune system of a human body is still at its infancy stage. There are some promising data collected as of date but more research has to be done to fully obtain good information.