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As researchers worldwide hasten in the search for a coronavirus vaccine, increasing research studies indicate CBD, the popular medicinal cannabinoid compound derived from hemp, could be a potential therapy for advanced symptoms of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised against inhalation of smoke and vape THC, CBD, and nicotine products, which may increase risk for coronavirus complications. International researchers, however, have found alternative methods of CBD consumption, like intranasal application, may be beneficial.
Researchers at Augusta University in Georgia, published results from a study that showed high CBD formulations could be effective in the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS.
The condition, also known as a “cytokine storm,” has been seen in serious cases of coronavirus, and also can affect patients with other viruses or autoimmune diseases. When ARDS occurs, the patient’s own hyperactive autoimmune system bombards organs with cytokines, resulting in dangerous inflammation. This reaction can cause lung damage and death in COVID-19 victims.
“Our laboratory studies indicate pure CBD can help the lungs recover from the overwhelming inflammation, or cytokine storm, caused by the COVID-19 virus, and restore healthier oxygen levels in the body,” study co-author Dr. Jack Yu said.
The study model showed CBD “down-regulated” the cytokines, which helped improve oxygen levels and encouraged recovery of damaged lung tissues.
Dental College of Georgia and Medical College of Georgia researchers took part in the study, with results published in review journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. Researchers from University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, who also took part in the study, cited the study’s publication in peer review journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
In Canada, researchers at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, studied various strains of cannabis for medicinal effects. The university previously had developed more than 800 Cannabis sativa strains under a cultivation license issued by governmental agency Health Canada.
Study authors found extract from high CBD strains could help to regulate an enzyme that coronavirus attaches to; the virus effectively uses the enzyme to infect cells located where exposure is common, which include lung tissue, oral and nasal mucosa, and the gastrointestinal tract, among others.
Called the ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme II), researchers used 3D models to observe whether high CBD formulations would block the enzyme, thereby potentially blocking the virus’ ability to infect cells. Though a preliminary study, the findings might lead to further research and therapies that could lessen the severity of, or help prevent, coronavirus.
Study authors also noted the potential benefits of CBD supplementation on physical and mental health, and said, “… randomized clinical trials to test the efficacy of CBD on alleviating anxiety and fear associated with COVID-19 infection and its consequences on people’s physical, social, and psychological well-being may be beneficial in the future.”
Results were published on peer review website Preprints.
mg on July 1 reported about another study that examined the benefits of CBD and opioid treatment for severe inflammation and cytokine storm associated with coronavirus. That study, titled “Opioids/cannabinoids as a potential therapeutic approach in COVID-19 patients,” was published in the Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine.
Results from the study said, “It is suggested that clinical trials could be conducted on opioids/cannabinoids products with immunomodulatory activity. We hope that, with great efforts, scientific support, and sharing of information, the overcoming of COVID-19 will come soon.”