Can CBD Help Fight Coronavirus?
CBD, or cannabidiol (a component of cannabis), has recently gained a lot of attention due to reports of its health-promoting properties that may prove helpful in the treatment of COVID-19. While it is too early to speak of a breakthrough, the research results are promising – it is recognized that CBD may help regulate oxygen levels in the body and protect against a severe cytokine storm.
Scientists under the
microscope November will mark a year since the first cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in Wuhan, China. Since then, the number of those infected has exceeded 33 million, of which one million have died. Most cases of COVID-19 are mild, and the main symptoms include:
- dry cough, and
However, in immunocompromised patients, the body may be less able to cope with the virus, leading to serious complications.
As the world race against time to invent a vaccine, some scientists report that the cannabis ingredient, CBD, could prove to be an effective weapon in relieving COVID-19 symptoms. Scientists speculate that cannabidiol may suppress the response of the immune system because it resembles naturally occurring cannabinoids (called endocannabinoids) in the human body.
Cannabidiol and the treatment of COVID-19 patients
Although the Center for Disease Control and Prevention points out that smoking CBD, THC and other nicotine products increases the risk of complications in the event of coronavirus infection, the number of publications on SARS-COV-2 increases as well which indicate that the natural component of cannabis when administered intranasally may alleviate inflammation in infected lungs.
Researchers at the University of Augusta in Georgia (USA) recently published research results showing that high levels of CBD are beneficial for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome. Study co-author Dr. Jack Yu in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research admits, „Our lab studies show that pure CBD can help treat acute lung inflammation or the cytokine storm caused by COVID-19 by restoring oxygen levels in the body.”
The influence of the cytokine storm on the course of the coronavirusoccur
There are many severe cases of the coronavirus thatwith a cytokine storm. How does it happen? First, let’s make it clear that the human immune system is designed to destroy everything foreign. This is how they are treated, inter alia, virus-infected cells. To fight them, the immune system releases cytokines – protein substances that regulate how blood cells and immune cells work – to trigger inflammation and fight infection. However, in some cases, the amount of cytokines is so high that it begins to damage organs and tissues.
When it comes to acute respiratory distress syndrome, 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. CBD may come to the rescue, which, according to American scientists, lowers the level of cytokines, thereby improving the oxygen level in the body and supporting the regeneration of damaged lung tissue.
Cannabis Component Blocking Enzyme
Cannabidiol’s possibilities seem broader. Well, scientists from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, selected a few out of almost 800 varieties of cannabis and examined their healing properties. Based on this, they discovered that extracts from CBD-rich strains can help regulate the ACE2 enzyme. The enzyme to which the SARS-CoV-2 virus attaches, thus becoming a receptor for the virus when it infects cells in the body. This includes lung tissue, the digestive tract, and the oral and nasal mucosa, among others.
Interestingly, the enzyme is more abundant in the male body, which may explain the fact that men have worse disease and are more often fatal to them. According to statistics, 71% of deaths in Italy were related to men, while in China they accounted for 64% of all victims. For comparison, in Poland the mortality rate among men is 58%.
3D models in CBD testing
How did scientists test CBD’s effectiveness in blocking the ACE2 enzyme? For this purpose, they used tests on 3D models. Thanks to this, they saw how the enzyme behaves in the body and that the cannabis component may be a blockage for it. While this is still preliminary research that requires further testing, it offers hope for a cannabinoid (CBD) -based therapy that will help prevent or alleviate the symptoms of the coronavirus.
In turn, as part of the Canadian Lethbridge Study, a team of researchers screened Sativa cannabis extracts using artificial 3D models of human tissue, mouth, gut and respiratory tract. Studies have shown that 13 extracts are potent in CBD and were able to modulate ACE2 effectively. Let us emphasize that the extracts tested are rich in CBD but extremely low in psychoactive substances, so patients would not experience the same effects as after taking marijuana.
CBD a remedy for a pandemic?
The scale of the pandemic even requires checking all possible ways to fight the coronavirus. Given the high effectiveness of CBD in treating pain and many other conditions, it is not surprising that cannabidiol is being so thoroughly researched for the prevention of COVID-19, thereby highlighting the health benefits of hemp-based products.