Researchers See Promising Results Using CBD to Treat COVID-19

November 05, 2020

Researchers See Promising Results Using CBD to Treat COVID-19

The debate on CBD -- a substance in marijuana known as cannabidiol -- has raged for years. Evidence continues to mount that CBD can provide many benefits to the body, and recent research suggests it may help those with serious COVID-19 infections.

Many studies that indicate that cannabinoids could be harmful to disease progression have focused on another component of marijuana, THC, not CBD. This makes decoding the evidence even more difficult for the average person, who simply wants to know what can help as COVID-19 continues to cause illness and fear.

Inflammatory Responses in the Body

Inflammation plays an important role in immune system function. It helps to activate the body's immune system response. Some diseases hijack this response, causing the body to attack itself. 

Chronic inflammation also has many negative effects on the body and is a sign of poor overall health. Suppressing inflammation is beneficial in the treatment of some diseases, but it can be harmful for others. COVID-19 can cause a dangerous inflammatory response in the body that is known as a cytokine storm.

Cytokine Storms

Cytokines are products of the body's immune system response. When you get a cold, flu, or other illness, cytokines are activated. Severe COVID-19 infections can create a cytokine storm. They can cause your body's immune system response to go into overdrive, and instead of helping you get better, the response creates life-threatening problems.

In addition, cytokines are part of the body's inflammatory response. A cytokine storm is closely associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome, known as ARDS. Lung damage from illnesses and injuries can lead to ARDS. In severe cases of COVID-19, the virus enters the lungs, causing a type of viral pneumonia. The virus damages the lungs, resulting in ARDS.

ARDS causes inflammation in the lungs, releases cytokines, and dilates the blood vessels. It also causes smooth muscle contractions. These symptoms make it difficult for oxygen to enter the lungs, pass through them, and enter the bloodstream, which is what makes it so dangerous. People with ARDS often need ventilators to keep breathing, but this may not be effective for COVID-19 cases.

There does seem to be a causal effect between ARDS and cytokine storms in people with COVID-19. Many medical professionals are now using drugs that reduce inflammation and help control cytokine storms in severe coronavirus cases.

New CBD Research Offers Hope

One study on using CBD to treat COVID-19 compared the protocol to treatment with corticosteroids, which are commonly used to treat cytokine storms. Researchers studied terpenes, a component of marijuana. Terpenes have long been believed to contribute to the taste and smell of marijuana, but researchers are now learning they might provide significant medical benefits.

Researchers compared CBD, the terpenes NT and VRL, and the corticosteroid dexamethasone, which is a commonly used treatment for severe inflammation. They found that CBD was effective on its own and significantly reduced cytokines, similar to the effect that dexamethasone produces. When terpenes were combined with CBD, the new substance was twice as effective than the corticosteroid.

The study was performed in vitro, so further trials will be needed to confirm the findings. CBD and terpenes may be weapons in the fight against COVID-19 as well as other inflammatory diseases. CBD is known to decrease the immune response while still allowing it to function. This holds promise in treating many autoimmune disorders.

Marijuana vs. CBD

Marijuana and CBD contain many of the same helpful compounds. However, some people may become psychologically dependent on marijuana and the high that it brings.

CBD can provide the beneficial effects of marijuana without the high. In addition to reducing inflammation, it can help relieve pain and anxiety. If you've been self-medicating with marijuana or other drugs, consider learning more about addiction and alcohol and drug rehab facilities.

Sources - Can CBD Boost Your Immune System? - Successful Initial Results Using Cannabis Terpenes to Treat COVID-19 - Cytokine Storm in COVID-19: The Current Evidence and Treatment Strategies

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