Reality Check: CBD Can’t Cure COVID-19 一 Yet
Part 1 of a two-part blog on CBD and COVID-19
There’s a meme that says: “I have 100 problems, and CBD solves 99 of them.” CBD’s properties can boost mood, enhance sleep, and provide pain relief, but the truth is, CBD can’t cure everything. And that includes coronavirus, or COVID-19, despite what some disreputable CBD manufacturers may try to tell you.
The fact is, there is simply no evidence at this point that cannabis can cure or prevent COVID-19. While there are people who say CBD and cannabis boost their immunity and help their bodies fight viruses, there aren’t any studies that suggest there is a correlation between CBD and COVID-19 – at least not yet. To claim now, as some manufacturers have, that CBD prevents or cures coronavirus is at the least, misleading, and at the worst, dangerous.
The New York Attorney General and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) have sent warning letters to companies that have made claims about CBD and the coronavirus.
“By misrepresenting the effectiveness of products against COVID-19, companies like Finest Herbalist are giving consumers a false sense of security, putting their very lives at risk,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said. “Deceptive marketing is never acceptable, especially during a time of crisis; this is a matter of public health and safety.”
The National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) warned “cannabis consumers and others (to) beware of online misinformation surrounding the use of either whole-plant cannabis or CBD as a potential remedy for the COVID-19 virus.”
NORML added, “In this time of crisis, some predatory marketers are seeking to profit by selling a host of products under a variety of false or unsubstantiated claims. Some of these marketers are explicitly targeting cannabis consumers.”
COVID-19 Studies Are Underway
So, is it possible CBD may have a positive effect on the coronavirus? It’s possible; we just don’t know. And there are currently no studies that back claims that it does. However, studies are underway: Dr. Mohan Cooray, president and CEO of an online medical cannabis retailer in Canada, asked Health Canada for approval to study the effects of cannabis on COVID-19 patients. And in Israel, there are now three clinical trials to study CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties as a potential COVID-19 treatment.
InnoCan Pharma, an Israeli company that develops cannabinoid-based medications, in partnership with Tel Aviv University’s Ramot, will conduct the studies. According to a press release, “This product, which is expected to be administrated by inhalation, will be tested against a variety of lung infections.
“The research results may be beneficial to additional treatments for Central Nerve System ( CNS ) indications such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease,” the company said.
Cannabinoids have been found to have anti-microbial properties that work with some types of bacteria, as well as some fungi. CBD has also been shown to be an anti-inflammatory. In one 2020 study, researchers found that CBD helped with some viral effects in rodents. However, with other viruses, such as HIV-1 or HSV-1 (herpes simplex), cannabinoids actually worsened the disease, researchers said.
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine recently launched a study to investigate whether CBD has anti-viral effects on cells infected with COVID-19.
The UMB study follows up on the results of a study by researchers at the University of Lethbridge in Canada. The Candian researchers found evidence that CBD could help modulate ACE2, an enzyme found in lung tissue, oral and nasal mucosa, and other areas of the body, used by Covid-19 to enter a person’s cells and spread infection.
“Modulation of ACE2 levels in these gateway tissues may prove a plausible strategy for decreasing disease susceptibility,” researchers said.
CBD Can Help
CBD does have other benefits during this pandemic.
During these times, a high level of uncertainty has caused or worsened anxiety in many people. CBD can significantly alleviate anxiety by promoting calm and a feeling of well-being without the “high” of marijuana. CBD can also help with insomnia and sleeplessness, also made worse by the anxiety and uncertainty of today’s world.
Aches and pains from long periods of sitting or sore muscles from an increased amount of outdoor activity? CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with some types of pain. It can be taken orally or in a soothing topical cream.
One way you probably shouldn’t take CBD right now is by vaping. Said, NORML, “In fact, because COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, NORML has previously suggested consumers – and in particular, those patients who may be at greater risk – to either limit or altogether avoid their exposure to combustive smoke of any kind.”
So, the best thing you can do right now is to stay home if you can, practice social distancing, and wear a face mask when you go out.
And, for now, if you want to help keep your immune system healthy, stick to the tried-and-true: avoid alcohol, stay active, relax, and get a good night’s sleep.
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