Cannabis and Covid-19: The evidence keeps coming in on CBD’s ability to treat the disease

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We’ve previously reported on CBD’s ability to act as a Covid-19 antiviral. Researchers at the University of Lethbridge in Canada have published two recent papers showing that high CBD strains of cannabis fight the virus in two different ways: (1) by preventing the virus from entering human cells you shut down the possibility of a disease process gaining any traction, and (2) by “profoundly” calming the ‘cytokine storm,’ a hyperinflammatory process that drives severe cases of the disease, especially in the elderly.

It’s this second mechanism of action that other researchers are following up on. A paper out of Augusta University in Georgia found that “CBD downregulated the level of proinflammatory cytokines and ameliorated the clinical symptoms [that] induced ARDS” (acute respiratory distress syndrome), the severe form of Covid-19. And thus:

Our results suggest a potential protective role for CBD during ARDS that may extend CBD as part of the treatment of COVID-19 by reducing the cytokine storm, protecting pulmonary tissues, and re-establishing inflammatory homeostasis.

Similarly, a literature review conducted by the Univ. of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, found that “CBD can inhibit the production of proinflammatory cytokines . . . that have been associated with SARS-CoV2 induced multi-organ pathology and mortality.”

Importantly, they say that CBD accomplishes this without causing adverse effects:

CBD has a high margin of safety and is well tolerated pharmacologically even after treatments of up to 1500 mg/day for two weeks in both animals and humans, which suggests its feasibility to reduce SARS-CoV2 induced lung inflammation/pathology and disease severity.

The effectiveness and safety profile of CBD matters because the two leading antivirals in development come with their own problems.

Tocilizumab promoted recovery in 90% of patients but it has also produced adverse effects like pancreatitis and hypertriglyceridemia (high blood levels of fatty molecules).

And with the much talked about Remdesivir, though it reduced the mortality rate of seriously ill COVID-19 patients, lung inflammation persisted. Which, the authors say, “may partly explain the 20–30% reduction in lung function in COVID-19 patients after recovery. And if left unresolved it can lead to pulmonary fibrosis – scarring and hardening of lung tissue making breathing difficult and sometimes impossible. Thus their conclusion that “these findings support the investigation of cannabinoids as a plausible option to be added as an adjunct to Remdesivir or any new antivirals on SARS-CoV2 induced lung inflammation.”

This medical news is perhaps more crucial than ever. As coronavirus disease continues to surge throughout the US and elsewhere, the assumption is we just have to wait it out. But an ominous note was struck in The Times which says something else entirely – that the coronavirus is here to stay.

John M. Barry, professor of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University and the author of “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History,” explains:

China has achieved far more than the most optimistic models predicted, but its initial slowness in responding allowed the virus to spread globally. Once that happened, the virus could not be stopped. Right now it is circulating invisibly in developed countries as well as in developing ones with little public-health infrastructure. That means it is here to stay and will constantly threaten to reinfect even countries that initially control it .

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