CBD anti-inflammatory properties and mental health treatment capabilities demand further investigation for coronavirus patients, according to a new study.
As researchers and doctors rush to understand the novel coronavirus, sometimes new evidence contradicts old claims. Cannabis represents a main topic where scientists have spun 180 degrees in discussing how the plant interacts with COVID-19. Public health officials announced back in March that marijuana smokers and vapers were more at risk to contract and spread the coronavirus.
Lung health experts still don’t recommend inhaling any combustible material like tobacco or marijuana, due to the inflammation caused in your airways. However, cannabis has emerged as an unlikely candidate in preventing and treating COVID-19 symptoms.
Researchers at the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute now believe CBD could reduce the lethal lung inflammation caused by COVID-19. In a peer-reviewed article published in this month’s issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, the researchers called for more studies into cannabinoids for their anti-viral and anti-inflammatory capabilities to combat the coronavirus.
“Acute infection is associated with a cytokine superstorm, which contributes to the symptoms of fever, cough, muscle pain,” researchers wrote. In severe cases, lung inflammation could lead to pneumonia, making it difficult to breathe for patients who already have weakened immune systems.
Researchers noted no effective therapeutic treatments have yet emerged and the few that have resulted in adverse side effects like pancreatitis and hypertriglyceridemia, which increases a patient’s risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. “[All of] which make it imperative to explore effective alternative anti-inflammatory strategies.”
Researchers referenced previous studies that demonstrated the novel anti-inflammatory properties cannabis provides. An emphasis was placed on CBD’s anti-inflammatory capabilities, as it doesn’t possess the psychoactive characteristics found in THC, marijuana’s other well-known cannabinoid. THC can lead to increased heart rate, anxiety, and disorientation for some patients. CBD has also been FDA-approved for seizure reduction in patients with intractable epilepsy.
“Unlike THC, 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 researchers concluded.
They also added that CBD has therapeutic benefits for COVID-19 patients beyond anti-inflammatory treatment. The pandemic has caused mass uncertainty around the economy, job security, and social networks, resulting in a rise in depression, fear, and anxiety some have labeled a second pandemic. CBD has an additional therapeutic potential in this way, as a previous study suggested CBD could improve the mental health of patients suffering from the anxiety and emotional stress after recovering from Ebola.
“Like Ebola, patients recovering from COVID-19 may experience various psychological and social stressors that may be triggered by residual chronic inflammation and autoimmune reactions,” the researchers explained. “Therefore, 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.”