Researchers say CBD may relieve lung inflammation caused by coronavirus

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The devastation caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) has been felt across the globe, with 13.5 million global cases having been confirmed by health organizations as of July 15. Although doctors have not yet found a definitive cure for the contagious COVID-19, a group of researchers at the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute are hopeful that cannabis’ non-psychotropic cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) may ease virus-related lung inflammation.

As a natural anti-inflammatory, it’s not surprising that researchers are turning to CBD as a suitable treatment. Based on the findings of this team’s peer-reviewed article, which was published in a recent issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, CBD’s anti-inflammatory capabilities indicate “its feasibility to reduce SARS-CoV2 induced lung inflammation/pathology and disease severity.”

They came to this conclusion after assessing the cannabinoid’s safety and pharmacological tolerance in patients who receive treatment 1500 mg of CBD on a daily basis over a two-week period. Now, the researchers are pushing for new studies into the anti-viral and anti-inflammatory efficacy of CBD as a treatment for coronavirus.

Researchers cite previous studies when investigating CBD as a treatment for coronavirus

The team of researchers responsible for carrying out this study on cannabis for coronavirus spent time analyzing previously-conducted studies into the novel anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis. Specifically, the team honed in on CBD’s ability to ease inflammation without producing mind-altering effects in users; cannabis’ primary psychoactive compound is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). 

Aside from its anti-inflammatory properties, the researchers claim that they have found evidence to suggest that CBD could also provide symptomatic relief in COVID-19 patients with its anxiolytic, antidepressant and various other therapeutic properties. The cannabinoid has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use among patients who suffer from epilepsy.

“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.”

Study on CBD for coronavirus claims that existing COVID-19 treatments are ineffective

While it remains uncertain as to exactly what/where the coronavirus pandemic was initially triggered – before spreading across much of the globe – doctors have determined that serious cases of COVID-19 occur when the lungs are inflamed. Depending on the severity of lung inflammation, a patient’s condition may progress to pneumonia. 

“Acute infection is associated with a cytokine superstorm, which contributes to the symptoms of fever, cough, muscle pain,” wrote the researchers, who added that an individual’s immune system plays a role in whether or not he/she is diagnosed with pneumonia.

To-date, scientists and doctors have failed to come up with an effective therapeutic treatment for coronavirus. The researchers are optimistic that the findings of their study will encourage further research into potential cannabis for COVID-19 patients, with the team concluding that their discoveries indicate the need to “explore effective alternative anti-inflammatory strategies.”