If you find that you’re not feeling fully recovered after suffering from COVID-19, you’re not alone. Most who contract COVID-19 will fully recover after a few weeks. But there are some who continue to have symptoms or complications for months after they stop testing positive. This is known as long COVID.
What is Long COVID?
The CDC refers to long COVID as post-COVID conditions, but it is referred to by many names, including long haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, chronic COVID. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have begun referring to long COVID as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC). Naming it is one thing, understanding it is another entirely.
Long COVID refers to those who have suffered from a COVID-19 infection and have not made a full recovery within 12 weeks of testing positive. Symptoms can last for months, even up to a year.
According to the CDC, research indicates that 13.3% of COVID sufferers still see symptoms at one month or longer post-infection. Only 2.5% see symptoms at three months or longer based on self-reporting. And for those patients who suffered so severely they were hospitalized, 30% still see symptoms at 6 months. While severe symptoms in the intitial infection are not necessary for long COVID to develop, almost one-third of those who suffer reported having more severe symptoms.
Mayo Clinic found that research suggests that 1 in 5 people between ages 18 to 64 still see symptoms one month to a year post-infection. Of those 65 and older, there is a 1 in 4 chance of developing at least one medical condition due to COVID.
Omicron long COVID is seemingly more common than long haul infections caused by another strain of the COVID-19 virus according to a 2022 study.
Long Haul COVID Symptoms
Symptoms vary when it comes to long COVID. This is because it can impact so many different organs and systems. Fatigue and “brain fog” are some of the most reported long haul COVID symptoms. Other common symptoms include:
- Loss of smell
- Hair loss
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced libido
Other symptoms associated with long COVID are:
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartrate
- Digestive issues
- Vascular issues
- Menstrual cycle changes
- Joint or muscle pain
- Mental health issues
- Inflammation of the brain
Treatment for Long COVID: CBD
Due to the wide variety of symptoms—with patients typically suffering from multiple issues—and systems impacted, treatment for long COVID can be complicated. Most doctors are leaning towards patient-centered approaches that focus on holistic treatment. Many of those suffering are finding relief from long haul COVID symptoms through the use of CBD.
Research is finding that the cytokine storm, which is an extreme inflammatory response in the body, is the most likely cause for some of the more severe long-term complications. Because of the inflammatory response, there are many studies focusing on the effects of CBD for COVID long haulers. There is even a clinical trial currently in recruitment studying the effects of CBD as an anti-inflammatory for long COVID.
So far, studies have found that CBD can help block infection with SARS-CoV-2, more commonly referred to as COVID-19. To be more specific, the metabolite 7-OH-CBD “potently blocks” SARS-CoV-2 replication in lung epithelial cells. CBD has also been found to reduce expression of ACE2, a protein the virus targets to enter the system. Both cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabivarin (CVN) are being researched as potential treatment for long COVID.
Speak with Your Doctor About Long COVID Treatment Options
With no one-size-fits-all long covid test and no traditional treatment plan for long COVID, it can be difficult to know the right path to take. You’ll need a customized, integrative treatment plan that involves your doctors. If you believe CBD should be included in that treatment plan, we recommend speaking to a doctor about your options. To learn more or to set up a telehealth visit with one of our doctors, visit our website and sign up for a free account today.