It’s that time of year again… dry throat? Runny nose? You’re not alone. However, this time your cold comes with that extra added concern: “…but have I also got COVID-19??”In reality, these are all possible symptoms that share similarities with a common cold, the key symptoms for COVID-19 according to the NHS website are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal 
Most patients presenting with mild COVID-19 symptoms have at least 1 of these above symptoms, however it’s important to note that at early onset most people with COVID-19 have no symptoms (between 5%- 80% depending on age and comorbidity) and can present asymptomatically. If you are experiencing any of the above, it’s safest and in line with government advice to request a test via the gov website.In a recent ITV article, a medical professor comments regarding how to differentiate the two diseases and their respective symptoms. “For those who are sneezing or have a runny or blocked nose, if no other symptoms develop it is likely to be a cold.”Prof Spector said a runny nose, congestion or sneezing is “a sign that you absolutely do not have Covid”.Although this might be relieving for those of you concerned about symptoms, you can be asymptomatic with COVID-19 infection and also have a cold, so this is no guarantee you do not have the virus. This is referred to as comorbidity and is a widespread issue for many.
So although both sets of symptoms are different, it is advised that you self-isolate to prevent community infection in case you do have the virus. Especially as it was recently announced (25/9/20) That cases in England are up 60% in a week.  However, this could be due to more people being tested for extra peace of mind, and according to CEBM, asymptomatic cases are found in at least 5-80% of people. 
Medicinal cannabis as a treatment for COVID-19?
It’s extremely exciting news to hear that cannabis may be a possible therapy to inhibit the overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines common in cases of severe COVID-19 infection and a leading cause of mortality. This is explained further in our recent exploration titled What is Cytokine Storm Syndrome and Why Should You Care?
Research has shown that THC can act as a partial agonist, regulating the immune system’s inflammatory response and helps to avert complications such as systemic sepsis that can lead to tissue, peripheral / central nervous system and organ damage in severe COVID-19 cases, and is being repositioned for COVID-19 trials from Rheumatoid Arthritis applications. More studies are taking place as we speak that explores if medicinal cannabis can be used as a suitable and effective treatment for the disease at various stages of infection, and we look forward to some definitive answers. How long that takes however is the million-dollar question but this is being accelerated through repositioning existing medicinal cannabis therapies for COVID-19 trials.
Despite fighting the pandemic, there are still huge benefits surrounding your overall wellbeing for medicinal cannabis usage, so if you are feeling a bit under the weather reaching for the tincture bottle of goodness could be a helpful boost! Medicinal cannabis also has huge potential to mediate your immune system and improve your mental health and energy levels.
3. COVID-19: What proportion are asymptomatic?
April 6, 2020
Carl Heneghan, Jon Brassey, Tom Jefferson