Research surrounding hemp’s use in the medical field has opened up new and previously unexplored routes. This is shown in a newly published paper by researchers in India. The team built up of researchers from three different universities observed that hemp was being used as part of traditional herbal medicine and sought to explore how hemp could incorporated into modern medicine.
The research paper, published in October 2023, outlines the dangers of the Nipah Virus, how hemp oil has been used in more traditional routes, and their theories as to how it can be incorporated into modern approaches to fighting the Nipah virus. And while the research outlined in this paper is preliminary, it shows a new avenue previously unexplored by modern medicine.
What is the Nipah Virus?
The Nipah Virus (also known as NiV), discovered in 1999, is a zoonotic virus. This means that it is capable of transferring from animals, most commonly bats, to humans. These bats can spread the virus to other animals, like pigs, which then transfer the virus to humans.
Symptoms of Nipah Virus can include:
- Slurred speech
- Encephalitis (brain infection)
- Muscle pain/weakness
- Difficulty breathing
- Sore throat and coughing
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC for short), “The symptoms of NiV infection range from mild to severe, with death occurring in 40%–70% of those infected in documented outbreaks between 1998 and 2018.”
At the time of this writing, there is no vaccine to prevent Nipah Virus, nor is there a medication to treat those who contract the virus. Researchers are exploring avenues of treatments and ways to help lessen the effects of the virus, including one study that utilizes hemp oil.
What was the Goal of the Study?
In October 2023, researchers from Mangalore University, Maharani Cluster University, and Karnatak Science College in India worked together to publish a research article exploring the usage of hemp oil against the Nipah Virus. Their goal was to examine how hemp’s therapeutic and antiviral properties could be used. To do this, they examined the symptoms of the Nipah Virus and how healers used traditional medicine to combat the symptoms.
Using this information, the research team from the three universities outlined how hemp has been used by local healers to lessen the symptoms of the Nipah Virus. Traditionally, hemp oil has been used to combat some of the more severe symptoms.
According to their research, “the local traditional healers in India used hemp oil as the mouth wash for controlling throat infections, head ache, vomiting and suggested all the patients for the consumption of hemp seeds and oil as the functional food [1-76]. The consumption of hemp seed and oil has drastically reduced the fever. Therefore, there is a growing evidence that hemp oil might inactivate the Nipah virus (NiV).”
Key Takeaways from the Study
Despite the study’s results being preliminary, there several key takeaways to make a note of. The first is the use of hemp oil to treat symptoms of the Nipah Virus, including head ache, vomiting, and infections. The use of traditional medicine shows evidence of having a positive impact in the fight against the virus.
The exploration of hemp’s antiviral properties in other viruses, like SARS-CoV-2, also lends to the possibility of hemp’s use in modern medicine. Understanding how hemp’s properties can be used against various viruses helps identify new routes in viruses with no known cure, like Nipah Virus.
Finally, this study helps display the need for more in-depth research regarding hemp’s use in the medical field. For hundreds of years, traditional medicine has been documented to include hemp in various remedies and treatments. Current research is in the process of exploring the use of hemp against various ailments (cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s for example), however, most results are considered preliminary. This study serves as a stepping stone toward uncovering how hemp can be incorporated into modern medicine.