Treating Swine and Avian Flu With Cannabinoids

Dr. Robert Melamede explains how the active substances in the cannabis plant can be used to treat avian and swine flu.

The problem with current approaches to defeating Swine Flu, is we have not been able to beat the virus, because it’s too good at mutating. Although it might be possible to use different antigenic targets to create a vaccine that would be moreuniversal and effective in the future, we need something now to defend against Swine Flu. We believe the solution is to change how our bodies deal with the virus. Recent discoveries about the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids can provide us with new medicines, which can modify how we respond to these viruses and provide us with effective, non-toxic therapies. This paper provides a theory, with peer reviewed references, that supports the use of cannabinoids to prevent deaths associated with avian flu infections. If the lethality caused by the current swine flu can also be attributed to ARDS, then our proposal can be extended to the current problem.

1.0 Introduction: The Endocannabinoid System

Far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics as pioneered by Nobel Laureate Ilya Prigogine, provides a physical underpinning for all biological processes [1,2]. An intrinsic characteristic that emerges, and permeates all organizational levels of life, is oscillations of opposing biochemical phenomena, often linked with inflammatory anti-inflammatory processes. In the same manner that temperature in a house varies around the set point determined by a thermostat, countless interacting reactions in human biochemistry oscillate around set points that turn up or down inflammatory responses and associated free radical production [3]. Evolution has selected the endocannabinoid system as a critical modulator of inflammatory biochemical pathways [4].

Essentially, inflammation-generated free radicals may be thought of as biochemical friction, and endocannabinoids as the oil of life [5] in that they reduce this friction. From this perspective, it is easy to understand why the endocannabinoids system has life promoting activities [6], and why phytocannabinoids (plant derived cannabinoids), by virtue of their ability to mimic endocannabinoids, have therapeutic benefits for such wide range of illnesses, including cardiovascular [7,8], neurological [9,10], immunological [11-14], skeletal [15,16], diseases and cancers [17-24]. They in fact appear to function as anti-aging compounds as indicated by the increased lifespan observed when mice were treated with THC for extended periods of time [25]. In contrast, knockout mice that lacked the CB1 receptor die prematurely and CB2 knockout mice appear to have a number of associated phenotypes relating to the immune system, cardiovascular system, nervous system, digestive system, and reproductive system [26-29].

The bird flu is one of the most critical viral diseases to threaten mankind today. Influenza viruses have already killed millions of individuals around the world. The following sections on the bird flu are a logical synthesis of existing knowledge that dramatically shows how important cannabis-based research can be for mankind, and why we have chosen influenza as an early focus of our research efforts. We feel that the evidence below sufficiently supports the possibility that cannabinoids may save millions of lives that would otherwise be lost due to influenza and HIV infections, and it would be immoral and irresponsible not to determine if our hypothesis is correct.

2.0 A Brief Introduction Into the Immune System

In order to appreciate the hypothesized life-saving possibilities offered by cannabinoids with respect to the bird flu and HIV, a limited understanding of how the immune system works is necessary. Upon infection, the infectious agent and damaged host tissue release chemical signals that serve as markers so that neutrophils, the foot soldiers of the immune system, can find their way to the invading pathogens. These specialized white blood cells bring with them a formidable array of biochemical weaponry including specialized receptors (TLRs), known as toll receptors that recognize molecular patterns on various pathogens. Bound TLRs activate neutrophils to produce highly inflammatory bacteriocidal chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide and sodium perchlorate. Additionally, neutrophils phagocytize the invaders. The neutrophils die young, lasting only a few days. The debris field is subsequently cleaned up by additional, late to arrive, phagocytic cells, monocytes and macrophage. The immune process thus far described is known as the innate immune system. We inherit it and are born with it functioning. The high levels of free radicals and other cytotoxic agents produced during the innate response create a lot of collateral damage. To overcome this damage problem, evolution has selected an additional more targeted, less inflammatory immune process known as the acquired response.

The acquired immune response takes pieces of the phagocytized pathogens and presents them on the surface of phagocytic cells in order to generate a specific response via the collaborative action of T and B cells that ideally kill pathogens and pathogen infected cells with a more specific targeted, less inflammatory response directed by B and T cell receptors.

2.1 Pathology associated with an Excessive Inflammatory Response

Today, most people in first world countries die from age-related illnesses [30]. One hundred years ago, people in the same countries died predominantly of infectious diseases. The proinflammatory arm of the human immune system has evolved to play a critical role in fighting many infectious diseases. However, the inflammatory responses and associated free radical production appear to be at the heart of age-related illnesses including neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, and cancers [31].

Man has changed the world in which we live in a manner that – for now – has greatly increased our lifespan. Improvements in public health, for example, have resulted in dramatic increases in the health of the human population. However, these changes have occurred too rapidly for the evolution of our immune system to keep pace with changing environmental demands. We live cleaner today, and in general appear to need lower levels of inflammation for control of most infections. Since the endocannabinoid system plays a critical role in up-regulating the antiinflammatory arm of the immune system, phytocannabinoids can play a natural role in bringing man’s immune system up-to-date by reducing the levels of immune generated inflammation, i.e. resetting the inflammatory thermostat.

It is important to keep in mind that different infections elicit different types of immune responses. There is an ongoing evolutionary battle between our immune system and pathogens. While many illnesses are exacerbated by an excessive inflammatory immune response, this type of response is required to control infection of tuberculosis, Legionella pneumophila, and Leishmania. The use of cannabis for these types of infections could be lethal as indicated by animal models [32], because some types of infections actually require the pro-inflammatory response for their survival as most recent studies indicate is the case with HIV.

2.2 Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

The Problem: The bird flu is one of the most dangerous viral diseases to threaten mankind today [33]. The main source of fear is that mutated viruses will be acquire the capacity to transfer not only from wild birds to domestic birds and then to people, from man to man [34] and result in a worldwide pandemic. North Americans may be particularly vulnerable to this threat as a result of the migratory route over Canada taken by many wild birds [35].

This danger is underscored by the recent outbreak of the avian flu on the Canadian turkey farms that resulted in the killing of thousands of birds 36. The Canadian press recently reported that Baxter International’s European facility in Austria mistakenly provided materials that were contaminated with the deadly avian H5N1 strain of influenza to a research company that subsequently sent samples to other European countries 37. When samples were injected into
animals, the unexpected death that resulted led to investigations that identified the deadly strain as the problem.

This error could easily have resulted in a pandemic that would have killed millions. The magnitude of the threat posed by the avian flu to humanity was recently further emphasized by studies showing an unexpected rise in resistance to currently used antiviral medications 33. The bird flu, should it mutate to efficiently infect humans, will kill many millions in one season.

The Solution:

The lethality associated with bird flu infections in humans is very high (63%) 38. Based on animal studies, it appears that the bird flu elicits a proinflammatory immune response that is many times greater than that which results from infections by other influenza strains both in the lungs 39 and the brain 40. The apparently excessive proinflammatory immune response results in the lethal development of adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multiple organ failure 41. We hypothesize that a life-saving down-regulation of the excessively high proinflammatory response to the bird flu may be accomplished by orally ingesting an appropriate dose of phytocannabinoids without impairing immune control of the virus (resetting the inflammatory thermostat). Smoking or vaporizing cannabis will not work, and in fact could make things worse since using the pulmonary route will promote an added degree of inflammation.

There are typically two phases to any immune response. Initially, the innate arm of the immune system responds by initiating acute inflammation and free radical-induced cell killing. This general, non-specific response is then turned down as the more targeted acquired immune response kicks in. A successful immune response is characterized by the control of infection in a manner that minimizes harm to the infected organism. This goal is difficult and complex to accomplish. Both genetic and environmental factors, as well as chance, determine the outcome of a given infection.

The immune-cell-driven functions of the innate immune system are very inflammation dependant, and as a consequence produce collateral damage to surrounding tissue. Neutrophils, monocytes and macrophage are migratory cells that travel to the site of infection and initiate an innate immune response. Ultimately, these same cell types are also responsible for the transition to the acquired response as a result of antigen uptake and presentation. Current thinking suggests that the monocytes release MCL-1 attractant protein that binds the chemokine receptor CCR2 on a novel dendritic cell subset that produces TNF and iNOS (Tip) 42, which during later stages of infection promote antigen specific T cell responses 43.

There are numerous studies that demonstrate the capacity of cannabinoids to down regulate the cascade of pro-inflammatory immune responses. Neutrophil 44 and monocyte migration in inhibited by activating CB2 receptor 45Similarly, cannabinoids reduce the response to proinflammatory chemokines and cytokines 46 including TNF 47-49. Most relevant to our proposal, the effect of THC on influenza induced lung inflammation has been examined50,51. These studies demonstrated that THC could prevent influenza induced lung epithelial cell death even though there was an increase in viral load.

In order to appreciate the significance of these findings the thermostat model is helpful. The inflammatory thermostat of Homo sapiens was set over the past hundreds of thousands of years. Humans lived short dirty lives. A strong inflammatory response was essential. Under some circumstances, such as occurs with influenza infection in a cleaner modern world, the inflammatory thermostat may be set too high. As a result, rather than protecting us, our immune system is killing us. Biology is never simple. The influenza virus is itself cytolytic and therefore destructive of respiratory epithelial cells, and our defenses are complicated 52. The question therefore becomes what kills first the virus or the immune system? The probable, but complex answer is that the outcome will depend the idiosyncratic biochemical balances of an individual, past exposures, and their genetics.

Case Study
What counts is the way in which the complicated dialog between an infectious agent and its host comes together to promote survival or death. Can an individual reduce inflammation and its lethal consequences while still controlling the viral infection? We have a limited but significant answer. Steve Kubby has inoperable, metastasized pheochromocytoma. He is the sole long-term survivor of this illness, having had it for 35 years. His only medication has been Cannabis. Recently, when he came down with serious case of the common flu, he treated himself with “homemade” cannabis extract-based lozenges instead of smoking cannabis. His symptoms were much milder than what normally occurs when he has had the flu and smoked cannabis in the past. Turning down immune modulated inflammation did not harm him and in fact appears to have been beneficial.

Today it is essential to determine if our lozenge is effective in reducing bird flu associated deaths. We feel that this work is particularly important since people are continually coming down with new variants of the influenza virus, such as the bird and swine strain currently threatening humanity. Because of the intrinsic high degree of variability that is built into the influenza virus, it’s only a matter of time before this problem becomes even more serious. We hope to provide a cost-effective, and safe solution to this threat, which could literally kill millions. It is critical that
work start as soon as possible. When the “Spanish flu” broke out in 1918, more people died from it than from World War I.


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– Article from Cannabis Science.



  1. Anonymous on

    I don’t want to be rude but I would like to state for the record that this flu is not from pigs, but was generated in a lab, it could only have come from the lab, and it was done intentionally. Please save and share far and wide. [Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz proves the government has been lying about vaccination safety, and conducting GENOCIDE at the expense of our children, families, national security, and general prosperity. The CDC identified the four component strains as one endemic in humans, one endemic in birds, and two endemic in pigs. The recombinant DNA was reverse engineered to create this new strain, and the ‘Vaccine’ for this drug has been stockpiled and profits are soaring. Governments are racing to get ’emergency funding’ to deal with the pandemic. The WHO at the UN decided to ‘prime the public’ now that they have sufficient new regulation over the new global financial system and the world economies are being plunged into depression. The UN expert believes that Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and the current A-H1N1 swine flu virus are biological warfare agents. What to do if force vaccinated Swine Flu Hoax! Squalene emulsified in Tween 80 is used in swine-flu vaccine as an adjuvant according to Norvatis patent, also used as immunization-sterility vaccine for domestic animals according to Ohio State patent. FERTILITY IMPAIRING VACCINE AND METHOD OF USE Abstract: A vaccine comprising an antigen derived from a zona pellucida glycoprotein is effective to impair fertility in animals, preferably carnivores. The vaccine can be used as an immunosterilant or an immunocontraceptive. FERTILITY IMPAIRING VACCINE AND METHOD OF USE This application claims the benefit of U. S. Provisional Application No. 60/070,375, filed January 2,1998, U. S. Provisional Application No. 60/071,406, filed January 15,1998, and U. S. Provisional Application No. 60/076,368, filed February 27,1998. H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine Insert Admits It Causes Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Vasculitis, Paralysis, Anaphylactic Shock And Death Natural Cure Ample proof exists that the ingredients in these vaccines are toxic, and that the risks are
    substantial: not only are authorities targeting first responders in health care, they are targeting
    pregnant women and children, both of which are extremely vulnerable to such ingredients, and
    upon which no safety testing has been undertaken. Bear in mind they cannot test safety on
    children under the age of 18 because it is illegal to do so, and therefore any child taking these
    shots is taking a risk against their life and the quality of their health…forever!
    However, there is a much more immediate threat involved here, one which is flying underneath the
    radar, but which has the capability of rendering moot all our resistance to forced vaccines. It is Bill
    C-6, which has been passed by our Parliament, and which is currently in the Senate for Second
    Reading beginning on September 16th. This Bill is a hair away from becoming Law, and has
    the power to force vaccines, to institute martial law, and literally to create a police state
    ready to pounce on those who have the wisdom to say no! The naming of the US666 and EU666 genes which have been recreated from the 1918 flu pandemic and recombined with the seasonal flu to start the swine flu pandemic we are in now. Also the scientists killed since 2001.

  2. Sir Les on

    Anyway…as I have said many times in the forums…God said “All plants are Good” and Jesus said “it is all good, When taken with thanksgiving”…and used correctly!
    For everything God made has a unique function to preform!

    It has come to my understanding that not only are the cannabanoids a probable cure, but the Lenolenic Acid (spelling?)Which can be derived from the seeds, is already noted as being a aid in strenghtening the immune systems of living creatures that eat of the seed.

    Now putting these elementals back into the enviroments from which they came…might make a healthier enviroment all around the table…from cleaner air,waters, and enriched soils…to medical benefits for the live stock…and of course the BIRDS GOD LOVES!…healthy Birds..less sickness is spread…same for the rodents!…and the insects!!!

    I have always stated these possibilities are part of the attributes of hemp and Marijuana!

    And how can one remove something God gave freely to all lIfe?…now taking it away makes for a very upset state of living things to contend with!…and forcing to mutate to different food sources…causing more problems for the farmers!…which makes the choice to us poisons…and then worse..they use chemical furtilizers to enrich the soils…which burns out the life of the soils….

    so cause and effect is in part our fault for removing or touching this plant…being disobediant…

    Now we have the right to put it back and say sorry! (repent)

    It could end some virus and bacteria at the source, or root!
    By tilling the composting leaves and by-products back into the soil, to grow mycellium… once the plant has fulfilled its function in the enviroment as a plant!

    Now listen up…GOD said do not touch this tree! (in the begining) for there was only one!

    And now…we can see why God was protecting it!
    I don’t think God wanted the plant removed from his garden..hence that is why it was there to begin with, Did God not make and grow it?….Now would they put God into Prison for making ANd growing Marijuana in his Garden today?…YEP!…..That is an error on humans part…I think God wanted the plant to fulfill something in the enviromets…like make them healthier and safer for humankind…and ALL LIFE!
    And it all got twisted up out of context…by the holy misinformed!
    Trying to keep the plant Holy…they emparted on their own accord and took it upon themselves to spread false hoods and eventually Laws prohibiting its growth, to protect it and keep it holy…but it has backfired globally causing all kinds of suffering!!!

    This would be in direct violation of God’s word and will.
    Breaking a commandment…”DO onto others as you would have done onto you!”…taking away a Gift God gave to help us is not the way to behave…its robbery!!

    So the religious order needs to stand up and restore the plant into EDEN…so it is completed!..and correct the law!

    If we wait too much longer…extinction will make restoration impossible for us to do!..ACTS 3:21…and thus more gifts will be lost due to the lack of faith in God’s words!..and life will become even harder to have!

    Pollution and warfare…will no doubt continue, as the enviroments die off, and food beocmes scarcer to find, due to the lack of foresight and reasoning these bent Governments are taking…More woe, wrath will come down..

    They need a carbon sink to solve for Global warming…Marijuana is the best suited candidate!

    They need cures for all kinds of sicknesses…again a road not traveled is a road full of new ideas and directions/possibilities not taken!

    New renewable fuels, textiles,and developement in sciences and biological directions…even in climatization of the planet!

    Food…and more!…is it the Genesis in its self?
    A way to make worlds live?…while humankind is on the opposite road in denial?

    Only time will tell….

    So why trunkate our possibilities and future endevours to a dead end world of destruction, Sickness, suffering, and death, for dollars and cents… when we have this untraveled road before us that God aksed us to follow?

    Is this the path Christ Jesus wants us to follow to?

    I believe it is a road to peace on oh so many front lines!

    All the gifts of life should have a chair at the table of God!
    And the kingdom of made up of the greator good of it all!

    Stop the lies!
    Stop the profanity!
    Stop the abuse!
    Stop the wars!
    Stop the oppression!
    Stop the sanctions!
    Stop the imprisonment of God’s children!
    Stop making insergents, and religious fanatics!
    Stop the robbery of the gifts God gave unto all life!

    When are they going to Stop and look, to what they are creating?…a den of robbers and thieves!…cause it cost too much to live in their bent systems which are now showing signs of failure and corruption!

    Just one more, I told you so…Coming from CHrist our lord!

    Now should we waste our pearls of wisdom on them Swine who created this mess with bent laws and prohibition, and long beating sticks to keep us in line?
    Or should we make em pay by keeping it a Top secret?

    I wonder sometimes….

    And what about retribution to all those who have been, beaten, silenced, imprisoned, or worse..and have lost all they made in their lives (respectfully in real free trade)/black markets…so they claim….

    How many people have lost their lives trying to legalize this plant…and how many more must put down their lives to free themselves from the stupidity these governments are making with this bent Prohibition stance….?

    it makes absolutely no sence to Punish people for trying to live in peace, health, and happiness, with out being tied to Idolatry, and Human sacrifices by the taxation and corruption going on right now, and ever since Christ Jesus walked this earth Proclaiming another way out of the box!

    A cure all???…Seems so!
    The door is open to those who want to enter sinlessly.
    There is no curse here!

    Sir Les

  3. Bloody Yank on

    Maybe that’s why I’ve never had the flu … and as far as that goes, I rarely ever get a cold….

    I think in the years ahead we’re gonna find a whole lot more health information about this special little plant.

  4. Anonymous on

    This new pandemic has nothing to do with pigs. But it’s good to know a nice herbal remedy might help.

  5. Jocelyn blais on

    Few hours ago, I said to my wife…
    ”Imagine…if a the swine flu goes on and the best cure is…POT!!!”
    No JOKE!…
    And, I open my computer…and I stumbled on this text!

  6. StonerChique on

    Obviously, we have to grow more pot and feed it to pigs and erace this scourge at its source. After we overgrow the government, we will have to overgrow nature– everybody ready to do their part? drop your seeds into the ground and stop swine flu.. together we can do it..