CBD and COVID: Studies and Key Takeaways

*This article is purely informational and does not constitute medical advice. Consult your healthcare provider about CBD.

CBD and COVID
CBD and COVID

CBD and COVID

CBD and COVID – The CBD community has been greeted at the start of the new year by resurfacing news of studies on CBD. The trigger was mostly attributed to a team of researchers from Oregon State University. 

Richard van Breemen et al., found cannabis compounds cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, inhibiting a critical step in the COVID-19 transmission. 

But before we gobble on everything the media has headlined for us regarding CBD and COVID, let’s take a step back and intelligently separate facts from rumors, key takeaways too.

Disclaimer:

The studies presented do not imply that CBD can treat the condition mentioned. Moreover, the information presented here is not meant as a substitute or alternative to information from healthcare professionals. Consult your healthcare provider about CBD before use.

CBD and COVID: List of Notable Studies Relating CBD and COVID

  1. A preprint (a scientific paper that has not been peer-reviewed) titled “Cannabidiol Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Replication and Promotes the Host Innate Immune Response” published March 2021 says CBD (cannabidiol) can block the early stages of SARS-CoV-2 infection. 

Note: SARS-CoV-2 or Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is responsible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

  1. A clinical trial published in October 2021 found that the daily administration of 300 mg CBD for 14 days failed to have any significant effect on the clinical evolution of COVID-19.
  1. In a study published in November 2020, a team of researchers found that several high-CBD cannabis strains decreased the quantity of ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) gene expression, a gene expression that mediates the SARS-CoV-2 entry into a human host. 

Note: A gene expression is a process by which information from a gene is used to make a functional product like a protein. 

  1. In a study led by Chiara Corpetti, their data suggested that CBD is a powerful inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in a test tube experiment. 
  1. In another study published last December 2021, CBD was found to inhibit the unhelpful rate of Remdesivir (an FDA-approved drug for COVID) metabolism in the human liver. Furthermore, CBD was found to extend Remdesivir’s half-life in a test-tube experiment. 

The Entourage Effect Proves Useless Against SARS-CoV-2 According to Rosner

If you’re an avid information consumer of anything plant and biochemistry, you may have encountered the term “entourage effect” already. 

The entourage effect, in essence, refers to the holistic effect of the interaction between cannabis’s phytocompounds (cannabinoids, terpenoids, flavonoids, and more). 

Marsha Rosner of the University of Chicago, and her team observed hopeful results by using small doses of highly purified CBD. The purity percentage was more than 98%. 

The use of other cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabigerol (CBG) didn’t have any significant activity in preventing the replication or transmission of the virus from one cell to another. 

Rosner further mused that “not only did THC not work but combining it with CBD prevented CBD from working.”

This finding is significant because it is a stark contrast to what several studies have been relaying about cannabis’s entourage effect. 

But then again, the entourage effect is still a very fluid term in terms of its perceived effects in different medical conditions. 

CBD and Other Cannabinoids Exert their Activity Through PPARs

CBD is known to famously interact and influence the human body through the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). 

However, the recent scientific discussion on CBD lifted another gateway to which cannabinoids can exert their activity – it’s throught PPARs or Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors. 

Three types of PPARs are known to be one of the regulators of the human body’s inflammatory responses (a natural reaction of the body during a viral infection such as COVID). 

Is it Justifiable to Use CBD for COVID Patients?

So far, no.

Unfortunately, despite the several ways CBD may work, there are still numerous questions that need addressing. Let’s look at the facts.

  1. The favorable antioxidative effects may not translate well into a clinical setting of improving COVID symptoms. Why? There is still no confirmation regarding CBD’s supposed favorable effect on respiratory failure. 

Also, CBD is noted to have viral, fungal, and pneumonia infections (although rare) side effects. This risk, alone, warrants a closer look on whether CBD may or may not exacerbate COVID 19 infection. 

  1. Clinical trials on CBD’s efficacy against COVID-19-associated psychological conditions are missing. 
  1. Most of the studies that are, so far, promising are done in vitro (in an incredibly controlled test-tube type of experiment setting). 

The Wrap

With that said, it’s important to not self-medicate using available CBD products in the market. A wide range of CBD products in varying forms of tinctures, oils, creams, sprays, gummies, vaporizers, and more are still subject to appropriate safety controls. 

“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

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