Can CBD Help Fight Coronavirus?

CBD, or cannabidiol (an ingredient in hemp), has gotten a lot of buzz recently due to reports of its health-promoting properties, which may prove helpful in the treatment of COVID-19. While it’s too early to talk about a breakthrough, the results of the study are promising – it’s believed that CBD may help regulate oxygen levels in the body and protect against a serious cytokine storm.

CBD under the magnifying glass of scientists

November will mark one year since the first cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in Wuhan, China. Since then, the number of infected people has exceeded 33 million, of which one million have died. The course of most COVID-19 cases is mild, with the main symptoms including:

  • fever,
  • dry cough,
  • fatigue.

However, in immunocompromised patients, the body may be less able to cope with the virus, leading to serious complications.

As the world races against time to invent a vaccine, some scientists report that the hemp component, CBD, may prove to be an effective weapon in alleviating the symptoms of COVID-19. Scientists speculate that cannabidiol may mute the immune system response because it resembles naturally occurring cannabinoids (known as endocannabinoids) in the human body.

Cannabidiol and the treatment of patients with COVID-19

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that smoking CBD, THC, and other nicotine products increases the risk of complications from coronavirus infection, as information about SARS-COV-2 grows, so do publications indicating that the natural ingredient of hemp administered intranasally can alleviate inflammation occurring in the lungs of infected patients.

The impact of a cytokine storm on the course of coronavirus

A cytokine storm is involved in many severe cases of coronavirus. How does it occur? To begin with, let’s explain that the human immune system is directed at destroying anything foreign. Among other things, virus-infected cells are treated this way. To fight them off, the immune system releases cytokines – protein substances that regulate blood cells and immune cells – to cause inflammation and fight off the infection. However, in some cases, the amount of cytokines is so high that it begins to damage organs and tissues.

When acute respiratory distress syndrome occurs, the patient’s own autoimmune system floods the organs with cytokines, resulting in dangerous inflammation. This reaction can increase lung damage and lead to acute respiratory failure. It is CBD that can come to the rescue, which, according to American researchers, lowers cytokine levels, thereby improving oxygen levels in the body and aiding in the regeneration of damaged lung tissue.

Hemp ingredient blocks enzyme

The possibilities of cannabidiol seem to be broader. Researchers at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, selected a few of nearly 800 hemps strains and studied their medicinal properties. On this basis, they discovered that extracts from CBD-rich strains can help regulate the enzyme ACE2. An enzyme that the SARS-CoV-2 virus attaches to, thus becoming a receptor for the virus to infect the body’s cells. This includes lung tissue, the gastrointestinal tract, and the oral and nasal mucosa.

3D models in CBD testing

How did the researchers test the effectiveness of CBD in blocking the ACE2 enzyme? They used 3D model testing for this purpose. This allowed them to see how the enzyme behaves in the body and that the hemp ingredient may be the blocker for it. Although this is still a preliminary study that requires further testing, it gives hope for the invention of a cannabinoid-based therapy (CBD) that can help prevent or alleviate symptoms of coronavirus.

CBD a remedy for a pandemic?

The scale of the pandemic even dictates that all possible ways to combat the coronavirus be tested. Given CBD’s high efficacy in treating pain and many other conditions, it’s no surprise that cannabidiol is being so thoroughly researched for COVID-19 prevention, highlighting the health benefits of hemp-based products.

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