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Cannabis for Malaria

Malaria is a life-threatening disease that caused an estimated 409,000 deaths worldwide in 2019, with an estimated 229 million cases of malaria in the same year. Malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which is passed on through the bites of female Anopheles mosquitoes. Children under 5 are the most vulnerable group. Common symptoms include fever, headache and chills, and its symptoms can make it difficult to tell if it’s malaria until several or more days after infection.

There are many effective treatments for malaria, including chloroquine phosphate and artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). However, more treatments are always welcome, especially for treatment-resistant forms of malaria. Some studies have shown that cannabis has some antimalarial activity in mice, but there are few human trials. Of particular interest for the treatment of malaria and other tropical diseases such as dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis are the terpenes eugenol, alpha-pinene and beta-caryophyllene, which have antimalarial activity and all of which can be found in some varieties of cannabis.

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