CBD as a Preventative COVID Therapy? What Science Has to Say

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world, people from all corners are looking for ways to either slow or stop it. While this isn’t going to come easy, nor quickly, we’ve started to see strides being made towards preventative therapies that could give us, at the very least, a glimmer of hope. 

CBD, in particular, is being analyzed for its medicinal properties and functionality within the human body. With a few studies already under our belt, exploring CBD’s potential as a preventative therapy is happening more extensively the longer we’re plagued by this epidemic. Now, we’re seeing exactly what science has to say about the legitimacy surrounding the cannabinoid’s use in this way.

First Glance

  • CBD’s medicinal properties are being analyzed towards preventative therapies.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and gene expression all appear to be effectively regulated by CBD.
  • Because of its potential, researchers are interested in the relationship between CBD and COVID-19, specifically as a preventative.
  • A study was conducted in April of this year to further understand CBD’s effect on the modulation of gene expression in susceptible tissues within the human body.
  • Under the Health Canada research license, the study found high-CBD cannabis strains lower the production of COVID-19 susceptible proteins within lung, nasal, mucus, kidney, and gastrointestinal tissues.
  • However, the study has not been peer-reviewed nor conducted on human subjects.
  • Though concrete conclusions could not be drawn from this singular study, it shows serious potential towards COVID-19 and CBD, as well as cannabis research as a whole.

CBD’s Potential: The Therapeutic Properties

CBD has been looked at extensively over the past decade in hopes of better understanding the qualities that it boasts, and how it works with the human body. Though our research is, still, extremely limited, we’ve seen significant potential pointing towards the cannabinoid’s antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its assistance towards gene expression

It appears as though CBD works within the body to not only regulate cannabinoid receptors, but multiple other functions within the endocannabinoid system as well. With this widespread regulation and support, many turn to CBD in helping to achieve homeostasis, or internal balance. The idea of internal harmony is not only appealing for the effects on the mind, like stress relief and clear thinking, but it’s ideal for the overall functioning of your biological systems. When this balance is acquired, your body can fight off illness and discomfort with significantly less difficulty than when things are all out of whack. 

All of this (and so much more) has gotten researchers’ interests piqued, especially during a time of such uncertainty like we’re experiencing now. We’re all a bit curious about CBD’s potential towards ailments such as these and, while we know it probably can’t treat it, it gives us something to look forward to. For both the cannabis community and the health and wellness industry, understanding the relationship between CBD and COVID-19 is crucial. 

What Research Says

Recently, Preprints published an informal study surrounding CBD as a potential COVID-19 therapy. It is important to distinguish that this study was not conducted under the pretense that CBD would be used as a cure; rather, the cannabinoid would be utilized for therapeutic measures. It’s also important to note that this research has not yet been peer-reviewed, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. 

Specifically focusing on high-CBD Cannabis sativa extracts, this study was conducted to see how cannabis’ cannabinoids modulated certain gene expression in tissues throughout the body. The idea is that enzyme II, ACE 2, expressed in lung, oral, nasal, kidney, and GI tissues, can reduce COVID-19 susceptibility when properly modulated. Thus, researchers under a Health Canada license began conducting their study using strains with high concentrations of CBD and human cells–not human subjects.

They found that their inclinations were correct: high-CBD strains could, in fact, lower the production of ACE 2. Not only that, but they also found that it lowered yet another protein, TMPRSS2, that is beneficial towards the prevention of COVID-19 entering our bodies. Typically the virus targets these proteins to attack, so, hindering the production of thus enzymes may aid significantly in prevention. However, they did note that the extracts that performed the highest levels of success require further, larger-scale support before any definitive answers could be drawn. 

Even though this particular study cannot draw concrete conclusions just yet, it shows massive potential towards necessary research about the Coronavirus and CBD. This study is only the beginning, but it is a perfect place to start. 

What’s Still Left to Find Out

For researchers, next up is evaluating these hypotheses with actual human subjects, as well as paying closer attention to the individual cannabinoid’s effects on this type of expression. The more we are able to understand these specific relationships, the better we can work to form more targeted, efficacious forms of therapy and preventatives. 

Although we still have much to learn, the potential is incredibly exciting for everybody: not just the cannabis industry, but for the everyday person looking to feel more comforted. And, truly, that’s what CBD is all about.