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Your access to this site has been limited by the site owner If you think you have been blocked in error, contact the owner of this site for assistance. If you are a WordPress user with Researchers are recommending more research into how cannabis-derived CBD might help treat dangerous lung inflammation from the novel coronavirus. The authors detailed the evidence for how cannabis’ anti-inflammatory powers may help in this month’s issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Coronavirus lung damage can be relieved by hemp extract cannabidiol, or CBD, which can counter much of the inflammation caused by COVID

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Cannabis May Reduce Deadly COVID-19 Lung Inflammation: Researchers Explain Why

Researchers are studying cannabis’ potential as an adjunct treatment for COVID-19.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, researchers have started to look for solutions in an unlikely place – the cannabis plant. Cannabis’ active compounds have a number of properties that make it appealing as a potential adjunct treatment for infections from the novel coronavirus, and recently scientists have begun looking at its potential for reducing susceptibility to the disease, and even discussed whether it could be used as an antiviral medication.

This month, researchers from the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute are recommending more research into how cannabis-derived CBD might help treat dangerous lung inflammation from the novel coronavirus. The authors detailed the evidence for how cannabis’ anti-inflammatory powers may help in a peer reviewed article in this month’s issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

In the article, researchers explain that “recent reports have suggested that acute infection is associated with a cytokine superstorm, which contributes to the symptoms of fever, cough, muscle pain.” These extreme instances of inflammation can lead to severe pneumonia which clog up the lungs, make breathing difficult or impossible. So, one of the important strategies that scientists are studying in the fight against COVID-19 is reducing inflammation.

In particular, researchers are looking at drugs which reduce IL-6 cytokine activity. In a recent study, one such drug, Tocilizumab, was able to clear out patients’ lungs, and resulted in recovery for 90% of the patients treated. Unfortunately, it also produced serious negative side effects like inflammation of the pancreas and hypertriglyceridemia (a risk factor for coronary artery disease). This has led researchers to continue the search for anti-inflammatory strategies – preferably ones that aren’t as harsh on these already critically ill patients.

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Cannabis can be smoked in its raw form, or infused into tinctures like this one.

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That’s where cannabis comes in. The authors explain that several cannabinoids in the cannabis plant have anti-inflammatory properties. In particular, they point to CBD as the most likely candidate for treating COVID-19 related inflammation. CBD has shown serious anti-inflammatory properties in previous studies, it doesn’t create the disorienting psychotropic effects associated with cannabis’ most common chemical THC, and it has already been approved by the FDA as safe for children with intractable epilepsy. If successful at reducing inflammation for COVID-19 patients, it could be a safer alternative to other anti-inflammatory options.

Why do researchers believe CBD can help with COVID-19, specifically?

For one thing, the authors explain that previous research has shown that CBD can reduce a number of pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-6, the one reduced by other drugs being studied for COVID-19. CBD was also shown to reduce interleukin (IL)-2, IL-1α and β, interferon gamma, inducible protein-10, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α, and tumor necrosis factor-α – all of which are associated with the pathology of severe cases of COVID-19. In addition to reducing these pro-inflammatory cytokines, CBD has also been shown to increase the production of interferons, a type of signaling protein that activates immune cells and prevents viruses from replicating.

Previous research also supports the idea that CBD can specifically reduce lung inflammation. In an animal study on asthma, CBD was able to reduce production of proinflammatory cytokine production, actually reducing airway inflammation. In the same study CBD also reduced pulmonary fibrosis – a condition where lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred, thickening lung tissue and making breathing more difficult. This is important, because COVID-19 can also leave patients with serious pulmonary fibrosis.

The authors also note that CBD isn’t the only cannabinoid that shows promise as an anti-inflammatory medicine. THC has also shown powerful anti-inflammatory results, but it’s less well tolerated than CBD, with common symptoms like disorientation, anxiety, and increased heart rate. Research on CBD, on the other hand, shows it to be safe and well-tolerated with dosing as high as 1500 mg a day, for a period of up to two weeks. The authors explain that this “suggests its feasibility to reduce SARS-CoV2 induced lung inflammation/ pathology and disease severity.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 05: A sign placed outside a CBD store in Murray Hill during the coronavirus . [+] pandemic on May 5, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

While negative side effects are minimal with CBD, the article’s authors point out that CBD may have a side benefit for patients with the disease – reduced anxiety. “The many uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic such as status of the economy, employment and loss of connection can fuel depression, fear and anxiety” they explain, pointing out that the increased inflammation in COVID-19 may also trigger increased levels of anxiety. But CBD has shown serious promise for the management of anxiety, and may help reduce these challenging levels of stress.

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No peer reviewed studies to date show that cannabis or its compounds can help with COVID-19 specifically, but the authors of this article say the evidence suggesting that it may help is worth further investigation. They recommend that scientists begin studies to investigate whether CBD can be used to reduce inflammation and anxiety in COVID-19 cases, as an adjunct to antiviral medications.

While this doesn’t suggest cannabis should be considered a cure or treatment of COVID-19 on its own, it does suggest that it may have potential to help bring down inflammation and reduce anxiety in those suffering from the disease. But until more studies are done, this is just a well-supported theory. Direct experimentation is needed to bring us real answers.

Study shows CBD reduces coronavirus lung damage

Coronavirus lung damage can be relieved by hemp extract cannabidiol, or CBD, which can counter much of the inflammation caused by COVID

Research published in the Medical Journal of Australia explains that COVID-19 is a combination of viral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS. Because of the latter, it can cause serious coronavirus lung damage.

Yale Medicine adds that COVID-related ARDS typically “sets in” approximately eight days after symptoms first appear. Additionally, certain people have a higher risk of developing ARDS with this particular coronavirus. This includes those who are older and people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

While many potential therapeutics are being explored to help ease coronavirus lung damage, one study reveals that the hemp extract cannabidiol — which is better known as CBD — may play an important role in this process.

CBD and its impact on coronavirus lung damage

This research involved 30 adult male mice that were split into three groups. Two of the groups received daily intranasal administration of polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (Poly I:C) for three consecutive days to mimic ARDS, with one of these groups also receiving CBD treatments every other day until three doses were administered. The third group received sterile saline intranasally and served as a control.

On day nine of the study, all of the mice were euthanized and their lung tissue was harvested by a blind investigator. A flow cytometry analysis was conducted and revealed that the mice that were administered Poly I:C only had lower T cell frequency, elevated neutrophils, and a reduction of apelin. The mice that were also treated with CBD showed different results. Namely, they had more normal levels of T cells and neutrophils and their apelin was enhanced.

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Based on these findings, researchers concluded that CBD helped improve lung structure and exerted “a potent anti-inflammatory effect.” They further noted that it worked by helping to protect the endocannabinoid system, as evidenced by its impact on apelin. The full study was published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine on Oct. 15, 2020.

Understanding apelin and disease

Apelin is one of two peptic ligands within the apelinergic system. An article published by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in the journal Comprehensive Physiology shares that the apelinergic system has a number of important functions. Among them are assisting with vasodilation, modulating glucose and insulin, and aiding in the development of the cardiovascular system.

Because this system interacts with all of these functions, it has also been linked to a variety of diseases. This includes chronic heart failure, diabetes, and obesity. There also appears to be a connection between the apelinergic system and HIV. Thus, targeting this system may hold the key to treating a variety of major health conditions.

Treatment with CBD is not so simple

In a Letter to the Editor published March 31, 2020, by the Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy journal, Joshua Brown from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy warns that CBD “has complex pharmacological properties.” Thus, taking CBD doesn’t always provide the desired effect.

Brown points to a study involving Epidiolex, the CBD-containing medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat serious seizure disorders. Brown says that in this particular study, participants receiving CBD had higher rates of infection — both viral and pneumonia — than those receiving a placebo treatment.

Brown does concede that the average consumer will likely consume lower doses of CBD than contained in this anti-seizure medication. However, those using medical cannabis may consume doses similar to those found in Epidiolex. This could potentially put them at greater risk of infection instead of providing a protective effect.

More research is needed

In the end, more research is needed to fully understand the effect of CBD on COVID-19, coronavirus lung damage, and infection in general. While some studies show promising results, others reveal areas where more information is needed to provide patients the best advice.

In the meantime, educating patients on the potential benefits and risks is critical to helping them make the best decision possible given their health and situation. Discussing dosing is important as well, especially as it relates to the amount of CBD available in some over-the-counter products versus the amount of CBD ingested when using medical marijuana. Starting with lower doses enables patients to better monitor their response to this hemp extract.

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