Cannabidiol (CBD), the cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, could be the key to reducing inflammation caused by Covid-19. Picture: Pexels.com
Cannabidiol (CBD), the cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, could be the key to reducing inflammation caused by Covid-19. Picture: Pexels.com

CBD products could help reduce Covid-19 inflammation - study

By Amber Court Time of article published Aug 8, 2020

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Cape Town - A number of medicines are being re-purposed to be investigated as potential treatments for Covid-19. There is no reason why CBD (cannabidiol, the cannabinoids found in cannabis plants) should not also be assessed as an intervention, according to Stellenbosch University's Eric Decloedt at the department of medicine.

A newly published peer reviewed study by Rossi et al in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, found that the endocannabinoid system (chemical messengers that are produced naturally throughout your body), could play a role in reducing inflammation caused by the coronavirus.

CBD is known to work with this system, which plays a role in regulating many bodily functions and has anti-inflammatory properties.

“These messengers allow for communication between different parts of your body, ensuring that they are all playing their part in keeping the internal environment balanced,” said Apex spokesperson Kayla Lawson.

APEX is a CBD brand with products made from cannabis plants that offers legal and natural wellness benefits.

This is a review article that is being proposed, said Decloedt. “The hypothesis has not been tested in patients with supporting evidence of efficacy,” he added.

Decloedt told Weekend Argus that there isn't efficient data yet to support that CBD works as an intervention and that it is premature.

“CBD stimulates CB2 receptors (cannabinoid 2 receptors). Stimulation of these receptors may induce changes in the immune system. It is unknown whether CBD stimulation of CB2 receptors will have a beneficial effect to treat Covid-19,” he said.

CBD could also have potential as an antiviral, although this remains to be proven through experimentation, according to the study.

The potential anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may assist patients managing inflammatory reactions, similar to those caused by the novel coronavirus.

The virus can show a range of symptoms, similar to those caused by the flu, like a fever, to diarrhoea and even the loss of taste and smell, said the study.

The research by Rossi et al indicated that the Covid-19 can induce inflammatory and immune response.

This immune overreaction is characterised by uncontrolled inflammation known as a cytokine storm.

“There are three key cells and hormones that reduce the body’s reaction which leads to cytokine storms,” stated the study.

These are known as macrophages, Mesenchymal Stroma Cells (MSCs) and estrogen, which all alleviate responses that lead to the cytokine storms.

The cells have one thing in common; to reduce the body’s inflammatory response by activating CB2 receptors.

Researchers found that this receptor can prevent and reduce the effects of some diseases that are characterised by inflammatory overreactions, such as some types of influenza.

“CBD demonstrated potent anti-inflammatory effects. It is logical to explore whether CBD can reduce the cytokine storm,” the researchers stated.

Researchers at Augusta University in Georgia have theorised that CBD may help those who experience severe inflammation of the lungs, which can occur in some Covid-19 cases.

The study suggested that CBD may assist in the treatment of symptoms associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Scientists have suggested that CBD could also have potential as an antiviral, although this remains to be proven through experimentation.

“While more research is needed to conclusively link CBD to the coronavirus treatments, it is encouraging that more scientists are advocating for further studies into cannabis and CBD,” explained Lawson.

She said that the latest research offered insights into the many potential uses CBD may have, beyond the wellness benefits it has become known for – assisting in promoting sleep, as a potential aid in pain relief, and in easing anxiety.

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