Cannabis-based medicinal products for the treatment of Long COVID symptoms: current and potential applications


Hannah Thurgur,  Anne Katrin Schlag,  Elizabeth Iveson,  Adele Hosseini,  Michael Lynskey,  David J. Nutt


August 31, 2023


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection can result in a range of persistent symptoms impacting everyday functioning for a considerable proportion of patients, a condition termed Long coronavirus disease (COVID) or post COVID-19 syndrome. The severity and set of symptoms vary between patients, and include fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, sleep disturbances, palpitations, tachycardia, pain, depression, and anxiety. The high prevalence of Long COVID combined with the lack of treatment approaches has resulted in considerable unmet clinical needs. There is a growing body of evidence that cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) can be used to treat symptoms including pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep, headaches, and cognitive dysfunction, which are commonly reported in Long COVID. This article provides an overview of the pathophysiology of Long COVID and discusses preliminary pre-clinical, clinical trials, and real-world evidence (RWE) for CBMPs in the context of Long COVID. This review summarises current clinical trials and studies exploring CBMPs in Long COVID. The current evidence provides a rationale to further explore CBMPs as a treatment for Long COVID symptoms. In addition to further randomised controlled trials (RCTs), the increasing availability of CBMPs globally, coupled with the continued prevalence of Long COVID in the population, also highlights the value of real-world data in the research of CBMPs in Long COVID. Critically, there is an evident need for multidisciplinary approaches of CBMPs and Long COVID in real-world clinical practice settings.