One week it’s a bad study on hydroxychloroquine, next it’s a shoddy report hyping cannabis’s antiviral potential. In fact, the only thing that seems to outpace the burgeoning list of retracted research is the onslaught of new papers on COVID-19. A recent paper from French researchers at the university of Toulouse threw in a theory from way out of left field. They proposed that Rimonabant – an ill reputed anti-obesity drug withdrawn from the European market – ought to be used to treat COVID patients.
Rimonabant was briefly prescribed for weight loss, being the first approved cannabinoid “antagonist” – a drug that shuts down CB1 cannabinoid receptor activity throughout the brain and body. It was withdrawn within two years of its approval for causing depression and suicidal thoughts, among other side effects. While shutting down the “munchies” receptors, Rimonabant also blocks many of the brain’s pathways to feel pleasure.
So why treat COVID patients with Rimonabant, according to these French researchers? Because obese people fair worse when afflicted with COVID. And some 35-40% of adults in the United States are obese, which leads to a host of health problems that weaken the body and increase susceptibility to diseases, including COVID.