Study: Cannabis compound prevents COVID-19 from proliferating in human lung cells

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

A study that is currently being subjected to peer review has shown that a cannabis compound may inhibit COVID-19 replication in lung epithelial cells. That specific cannabinoid is called Cannabidiol, or “CBD” as most people know it.

Famed for its abundant medicinal qualities, CBD has managed to gain an extra army of fans with the latest news of its coronavirus-fighting potential.

Moreover, researchers who assessed observational data from patients who were consuming CBD prior to undergoing a test for coronavirus discovered that the cannabinoid’s use led to a major reduction in infection incidence rate; as opposed to those not taking CBD.

The expression of specific genes within the viral cells were encumbered when CBD – measured alongside its metabolite 7-OH-CBD – was administered to patients. Moreover, the cannabinoid managed to successfully reverse COVID-19-triggered gene expression changes within the lung cells.

In theory, the researchers say that CBD acted as a solid protectant and therapeutant among those who were infected with the virus.

CBD for COVID-19: Cannabinoid reverses hyperinflammatory response

Another important findings from this study on CBD for COVID-19 is that the cannabinoid “effectively reversed” hyperinflammatory response. Also known as a “cytokine storm”, Inflammatory response occurs when the virus is present in the human body. Once CBD came into the picture, cells were restored to a pre-viral level of inflation.

To put into perspective the seriousness of the cytokine storm, this response was one of the main causes of death among most people infected with COVID-19. Moreover, viral RNA expression was obstructed by CBD, inclusive of the spike protein’s essential coding – Without this coding, the virus would be unable to enter the human body’s cells.

Numerous other cannabinoids underwent testing for this investigation into the potential of cannabis for COVID-19 patients. However, as the trial came to a close, CBD was the only cannabis-derived compound that exhibited any influence on cells infected by the virus.

“We advocate carefully designed placebo-controlled clinical trials with known concentrations and highly-characterized formulations in order to define CBD’s role in preventing and treating early SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the authors wrote.

You can view a preprint of the published study in the journal Bio RXIV once it is peer-reviewed.

CBD for COVID-19: Understanding the legality of CBD

Following the 2018 passing of the Farm Bill, the production sale of hemp and the plant extracts were legalized and a federal law. The bill’s language states that hemp is only legal if it contains no less than 0.3 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Anything that contains more than this amount of THC is federally illegal, due to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) listing it as a Schedule 1 drug.

Currently, CBD is only approved for use in the health care system if it is sold under the brand name Epidiolex — a product developed by British drugs company GW Pharmaceuticals. Sale of the cannabinoid in any unapproved dietary supplements and health products is currently prohibited by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Alaska, Maine, Colorado, California, Washington state, Oregon, Massachusetts, Vermont, Michigan, Nevada, and the District of Columbia legally sell CBD in a variety of forms. Laws are changing and so, this list of states is sure to expand in the near future.