Can CBD prevent COVID-19 infection?
A recently released study shows that oral CBD may help to prevent COVID-19 infection. Learn more about the study and how CBD could help to combat this global pandemic.
CBD oil is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. Some believe that CBD oil has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that could help prevent infection against Covid-19. “CBD has the potential to prevent infections, such as breakthrough infections,” the study’s lead author said.
Studies suggest that CBD oil may be effective in treating other respiratory infections such as SARS, Influenza, and MERS. While there is no guarantee that CBD oil will work to prevent infection against Covid-19, it is an interesting option worth exploring. More research is needed to determine if CBD oil is an effective treatment for this virus. If you are interested in using CBD oil to help prevent infection against Covid-19, please consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment regimen.
Cannabidiol—the non-psychoactive cannabinoid component better known as CBD—is a strong inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 replication in human cells, according to new research. In addition, a survey of real-world CBD users found that there was a “significant” negative link between CBD use and COVID-19 infection.
According to a study published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances by a team of 33 researchers at the University of Chicago and University of Louisville, a survey of 1,212 US patients taking CBD prescribed doses of 100 milligrams-per-milliliter oral liquids detected that individuals who took CBD had lower rates than control groups with similar medical backgrounds who did not take CBD.
According to the research, all of the people in the study had seizure-related problems that CBD is frequently given to treat. Among this group, 6.2 percent had COVID-19 tests or a diagnosis return positive results as opposed to 8.9 percent in the control group. Within a smaller subset of patients who were most likely taking CBD on the dates of their first COVID-19 test, the impact was even more notable: Only 4.9 percent of individuals who took CBD became sick with COVID-19, compared to 9% in the control group.
“Our results suggest that CBD and its metabolite 7-OH-CBD can block SARS-CoV-2 infection at early and even later stages of infection,” the study states.
The researchers also evaluated real-world data and conducted lab experiments. Dr. Marsha Rosner, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Ben May Department of Cancer Research, treated human lung cells for two hours with CBD before infecting them with SARS-CoV-2 and left them for 48 hours while monitoring them for the appearance of COVID spike protein. They discovered that CBD inhibits the replication of genes involved in the virus’s growth and distribution throughout the body. They repeated these tests on three COVID-19 variants, and they obtained similar results.
“As a bottom line, what this says is that CBD has the potential to prevent infections, such as breakthrough infections, which might be one of the most useful applications,” Dr. Marsha Rosner said.
The researchers attempted to figure out how CBD inhibits viral infection; while they discovered a minor impact when viruses enter cells at the moment of entry, CBD was found to be “very effective” in preventing protein expression in cells two and six hours after infection, and “partially effective” 15 hours after infection. They also discovered that CBD’s metabolite, 7-OH-CBD—the chemical formed in the body when CBD is broken down in the liver and intestines— has antiviral activity and is non-toxic to cells.
The study provides significant proof that CBD can treat and reduce COVID-19 transmission. It follows an article from Vice, Motherboard “Scientists: Cannabis Can Prevent COVID-19 Infection” detailing the discovery out of Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Sciences University that cannabis precursor chemicals (the acids that, when combusted, create CBD and THC) can inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection cells during lab experiments.
In the fight to prevent a new global pandemic, researchers from Israel first published their findings in February 2019. They revealed that cannabis-derived products, while potentially beneficial to public health, cannot be used in lieu of vaccination efforts. However, they might turn out to be an important help in the all-out effort to end the epidemic.
“Despite recent vaccine availability, SARS-CoV-2 is still spreading rapidly, highlighting the need for alternative treatments, especially for populations with limited inclination or access to vaccines,” the study researchers from the University of Chicago write.
“What we don’t want… is people just running out and thinking, ‘I can take CBD, and then I don’t have to get vaccinated or I don’t have to be masked,’” Rosner said. “This is what we really don’t want to see.”
It seems like there’s a flood of scientific news about the promise of cannabis in preventing or treating COVID-19. Last week, a different group of researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, identified CBD as a primer to a process called apoptosis, or natural cell death—According to their findings, CBD appears to promote cell death in infected cells, stopping viral transmission and slowing the spread to others.
Dr. Rosner warns that determining the appropriate CBD dose and formulation for COVID-19 infection is difficult until her study progresses into clinical trials on humans. After all, Rosner said, “we can only do so much in mice; we really need to do this in people.”
“We think it has a potential, both to be a preventative—so for instance, you can imagine that I’m going traveling and CBD is something that, if we can make the right product accessible, it should be widely available, it should be something people could anticipate needing,” she said. “Or you go and get tested and immediately start taking it. The hope is that it would prevent more serious disease, but we don’t know yet. And we would need a clinical trial.”