The global concern over the coronavirus known as COVID-19 has many people taking precautions against contracting the virus. With growing concern for the number of positive cases spanning across the globe, people are anxiously waiting for news of a vaccine or cure. And, when that doesn't work, social media users may start to believe every piece of information that circulates around the internet.
An image circulating as a news screenshot reads "BREAKING NEWS: WEED KILLS CORONAVIRUS." Additionally, the subheader at the bottom stated: "Scientists are shocked to discover that weed kills coronavirus." This has been doing rounds on social media for a while now. People know they probably shouldn't believe it, yet, here we are.
Where Did This Claim Come From?
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri tweeted the false news headline, captioning the picture: "Cannabis is a magic plant. Till the mid-80s it was sold by Govt. Because of Rajiv Gandhi and western Pharma companies it got a bad name." Adding, “Make cannabis legal.”
The picture is reportedly not from an actual broadcast but was created as a meme.
While getting high may help with some of the anxiety of this worldwide epidemic, it will unfortunately not help you fight off the virus or suppress the symptoms, which include, fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
On Feb. 18, the World Health Organization issued a statement claiming that at this time, "there is still no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat" the virus. Which means even weed isn't a cure or treatment.
This isn't the first time the internet had us rolling our eyes when it came to misinformation about the coronavirus. When news first started circulating about the disease, some people thought the name was synonymous with the Mexican beer.
What Are Some Other Claims That Don't Work?
One set of tweets and Facebook posts from U.S. conspiracy theory accounts said drinking bleach could protect against the virus or even cure it. Something called the Miracle Mineral Solution or MMS is masquerading as a cure, but its components are bleach and water - which definitely doesn't cure the virus but gives you a lot of dangerous health risks.
There is some evidence that red marine algae may cure some viruses like cold sores or herpes, but it does not cure coronavirus. Another claim is that garlic or sesame oil can treat the virus, while it's true that garlic contains organosulfur compounds that keep our hearts, heads, and guts running smoothly, and can also help ailing cancer, it does not treat COVID-19.
Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram have a lot more of these conspiracy theories related to curing the virus but none of them are true. As mentioned above, the WHO has announced that there is absolutely no cure as of yet and believing any of the false claims above only puts you in danger.