In March of 2020, we took a look at the novel coronavirus and CBD’s place in the pandemic – if any. To say a lot has changed would be an understatement.
Although a lot of uncertainty remains, we’ve managed to unravel a lot of the mystery behind COVID-19. Unfortunately, the virus quickly skips ahead researchers, leaving the medical community spinning its wheels in the mud.
Of course, the endless swarm of Google-educated doctors hasn’t helped, nor did the many unscrupulous CBD vendors pushing cannabidiol as a miracle cure for COVID.
The irony, however, is that these malicious parties may have accidentally been right – albeit for the wrong reasons. New research into CBD found potential evidence that CBD could help treat the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Naturally, this is huge news for cannabis medicine and CBD proponents, but is it concrete enough to take seriously? How can CBD help with COVID, if at all? Before getting too excited, let’s dig deeper into the surprising discovery.
Where We Are Now (January 14th, 2022)
It seems like forever ago that COVID-19 first made a name for itself. Initially discovered in Wuhan, China, experts believed the virus came from bat carcasses in so-called “wet markets.”
Many argue that the virus resulted from an alleged lab leak and some wild conspiracy theories involving Bill Gates, 5G, the NWO, and more.
But one thing we can’t deny is COVID’s impact on the world. Economies are in shambles, while healthcare workers quit in swarms, unable to handle the influx of patients. Debates rage on about vaccine mandates while caseloads and death tolls mount.
And let’s not forget how much the virus itself changed. The Delta variant threw us for a loop, but our vaccines held their own. Now, the Omicron virus is in full swing. Unlike Delta, Omicron is more virulent and has an easier time evading the immunity provided by COVID-19 vaccines.
When we looked at the situation in 2020, around 200,000 COVID-19 cases were reported across roughly 170 countries. Those numbers didn’t age well.
According to the World Health Organization, there have been over 315 million cases, with nearly three million in the last 24 hours – a far cry from the mere 200,000 in 2020. Despite COVID’s low mortality rate, the sheer volume of infections has so far led to over 5.5 million deaths worldwide.
But on a positive note, many countries boast high vaccination rates, and approvals for groundbreaking antiviral drugs could change the game.
So while the number of cases (and deaths) has grown exponentially since our last check-in, recent discoveries provide renewed hope rather than a dark tunnel of uncertainty.
And CBD may finally have a place among the latest COVID advances.
CBD and COVID: What Does the Research Say?
Before we dive in, there’s the obligatory disclaimer. Although the research we’ll look at is promising, it’s far from conclusive. This isn’t an open invitation to rely on CBD as your sole protection (or cure) against the novel coronavirus.
However, the recent findings are huge eye-openers that help us further understand CBD’s impact on the immune system, along with its antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
Additionally, some studies suggest a connection between the endocannabinoid system (ECS), immune system, and CBD. With those in mind, it’s not a massive leap to at least hope CBD could arm our bodies against a potential COVID invasion.
Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, examined the effects of synthetic CBD on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The study, available in BioRxiv, still hasn’t gone through peer review – so again, take it with a grain of salt.
According to the University of Waterloo’s news report, scientists examined the antiviral response in human kidney cells, specifically against three proteins from the novel coronavirus genome.
Lead investigator Robin Duncan explains that they used kidney cells due to how they react to infection. According to Duncan, cells in areas like the lungs and digestive tract respond to infections before the immune system joins in. This acts as a sort of “first line of defense.”
When working correctly, the antiviral reaction attacks and destroys the virus’ genome, triggering a sort of “controlled cell death” known as “apoptosis.” This helps reduce the viral load by killing off many infected cells before your immune system joins the fight.
The problem is that this initial reaction is weak with COVID-19, making it much easier for the virus to slip by virtually unchecked. But according to the study’s findings, CBD could be the solution.
Duncan and his team combined CBD with the viral proteins responsible for triggering apoptosis. He explains that adding cannabidiol substantially improved the healthy cells’ activation of apoptosis.
This discovery could mean that, while CBD won’t cure COVID, it could strengthen us against it to reduce the severity of infection, lightening the load on hospitals and bringing down death rates.
Fellow researcher Maria Fernandes reached a similar conclusion. “This suggests CBD at the right dose could help cells be in a better state of readiness to respond to a virus, but it doesn’t cause a response unless there is a need,” she says.
What Does This Mean?
The discovery – like all preliminary research – means we should perform more detailed, controlled experiments. The experts behind this study all emphasize that no supplement – CBD or otherwise – is a viable substitute for conventional health measures, such as masks, social distancing, approved antivirals, or vaccines.
But as the reality of COVID’s permanency sinks in, the idea of synthesizing a CBD-derived antiviral drug seems increasingly appealing. Perhaps Epidiolex, a CBD-derived epilepsy drug, could find a new use to provide some relief in this pandemic.
Or perhaps CBD holds more secrets in the fight against COVID-19. Wherever the truth lies, we can’t deny that cannabidiol’s skill set seems to grow by the day.
- The COVID-19 situation is undeniably worse.
- New research suggests CBD could help the body respond more effectively to a COVID infection.
- CBD may also prepare healthy cells to form a more robust defense against COVID.
- Research is still preliminary and hasn’t been peer-reviewed.
- CBD is not a substitute for conventional medical care.