As more cases of the novel coronavirus develop, the search for possible treatments that could treat, cure, or prevent it continues. With the second wave of infections causing panic, researchers scramble to learn more about this potentially deadly coronavirus.
Many Americans were surprised when cannabis was deemed essential during the resulting pandemic. But what’s even more curious is that researchers are now looking into cannabis as a potential COVID-19 treatment.
CBD for COVID-19 Studies
As most researchers analyze how they can fight against COVID-19, some are exploring how cannabis or cannabis-derived CBD could benefit infected patients. Primarily, they’re looking into how cannabis can alleviate the severe symptoms associated with this disease.
Some of these researchers’ suggestions highlight how CBD might assist COVID-19 patients. One way, in particular, is how CBD can lessen ACE2 expression and pro-inflammatory cytokine production. These characteristics of this cannabinoid can help patients with lung inflammation.
CBD also has the potential to work as an antiviral. However, there haven’t been enough studies testing these theories, and the need for more research is apparent.
New Evidence of Potential Benefits Using CBD for Coronavirus
While, at this point, using CBD for COVID-19 is just a theory, some new evidence explores how cannabis-derived CBD might assist with severe lung inflammation.
In this study, the researchers at Augusta University in Georgia believe that CBD could positively affect ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). This is a severe symptom COVID-19 causes by increasing the inflammatory response in patients’ lungs.
The inflammatory response triggered by this coronavirus is what some refer to as a ‘cytokine storm.’ Researchers from the study explain, “currently, other than supportive measures, there is no definite cure for ARDS, illustrating the urgent need for creative and effective therapeutic modalities to treat this complex condition.”
While there’s no definite cure available, CBD might be capable of treating this severe COVID-19 symptom. Researchers in this study believe that it’s possible CBD could aid patients as it reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine production. This could help clear the cytokine storm and bring patients’ lung inflammation under control.
A reduction in cytokines like interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1b, and IL-17 could decrease this inflammation significantly. Thus, this inflammation reduction could diminish the respiratory distress and damage commonly caused by COVID-19. After conducting some experiments, these researchers found some support for this theory.
The Research on Possible Advantages Using CBD for COVID-19
The research showing how using CBD for COVID-19 might work analyzes the effects the cannabinoid has on mice. These rodents were first given a Poly(I:C) treatment. This is how the researchers artificially induced ARDS. The resulting symptoms were comparable to what’s commonly observable in severe cases of COVID-19.
The resulting cytokine storm lessened the mice’s blood oxygen saturation by 10%. These mice subjects even experienced structural damages to their lungs.
As the mice were coping with the cytokine storm and resulting respiratory distress, the researchers administered CBD. The results of this experiment boast the power of this cannabinoid while treating ARDS.
The authors of the study report, “These symptoms were totally or partially reversed and returned to the level and condition of the normal after treatment with CBD.” So what happened?
Experiment Results of Using CBD for COVID-19 Symptoms
The mice that received CBD experienced a reduction in the expression of IL-6. This is one of the cytokines that is primarily responsible for the cytokine storms produced by COVID-19. CBD introduction also decreased the levels of other pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Even though Poly:(I:C) increased inflammatory markers, the researchers explain, “CBD treatment reversed all these inflammatory indices and partially re-established homeostasis.” The mice that received CBD treatment also experienced an increase in their blood’s lymphocyte levels. These are vital white blood cells that help to defend the body from and eliminate infections.
The researchers in this study also claim that CBD might assist in treating severe respiratory viral infections comparable to COVID-19. Their findings highlight that the potential to use CBD for COVID-19 is there. Now, it’s about proving without a doubt that CBD is effective.
They explained, “The current data support the notion that the anti-inflammatory function of CBD may reduce cytokine storm and mitigate the effects of exaggerated inflammation.” The researchers continue, saying that, “considering all potential regulatory effects of CBD as well as the vast distribution of endocannabinoid system in the body, it is plausible that CBD may be used as a therapeutic candidate in the treatment of various inflammatory conditions, including COVID-19 and other virus-induced ARDS.”
Regardless of the results of this study, more research is needed to come to a definite conclusion. But the potential to use CBD for COVID-19 symptoms is there. It’s just about proving its efficacy against this deadly disease.