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Oral CBD May Prevent COVID-19 Infection

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Oral CBD May Prevent COVID-19 Infection, Study Shows

While not a substitute for vaccines, “CBD has the potential to prevent infections, such as breakthrough infections,” the study’s lead author said.

Cannabidiol—the non-psychoactive cannabis compound better known as CBD—is a potent blocker of SARS-CoV-2 replication in human cells, new research shows. Not only that, but a survey of real-world patients taking prescribed CBD found a “significant” negative relationship between CBD consumption and COVID-19 infection.

As detailed in a paper published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances by a team of 33 researchers at the University of Chicago and University of Louisvillea survey of 1,212 U.S. patients taking prescribed CBD found that people taking 100 milligrams-per-milliliter oral doses of CBD returned positive COVID-19 tests at much lower rates than control groups with similar medical backgrounds who did not take CBD.

According to the study, all of the patients were people who had seizure-related conditions, which CBD is often prescribed to treat. Of this group, 6.2 percent returned positive COVID-19 tests or a diagnosis, compared to 8.9 percent in the control group. Among a smaller subset of patients who were likely taking CBD on the dates of their first COVID-19 test, the effect was even more pronounced: Only 4.9 percent of people taking CBD became infected with COVID-19, compared to 9 percent in the control group.

“Our results suggest that CBD and its metabolite 7-OH-CBD can block SARS-CoV-2 infection at early and even later stages of infection,” the study states.

Besides looking at real-world data, the scientists conducted lab tests. Lead author Dr. Marsha Rosner, a professor in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research at the University of Chicago, and her team treated human lung cells for two hours with CBD before infecting them with SARS-CoV-2, and left them for 48 hours while monitoring them for the presence of the COVID spike protein.

They found that CBD inhibits the replication of genes required for the growth and spread of the virus throughout the body. They performed the same tests on three COVID-19 variants and found the same result.

“As a bottom line, what this says is that CBD has the potential to prevent infections, such as breakthrough infections, which might be one of the most useful applications,” Rosner told Motherboard.

The researchers strove to identify the mechanism through which CBD inhibited infection; while they found a negligible effect at the point at which viruses enter cells, they found CBD to be “very effective” at preventing protein expression in cells two and six hours after infection, and “partially effective” at doing so 15 hours after infection. They also found that CBD’s metabolite, 7-OH-CBD—the compound created in the body when CBD is processed in the liver and intestines—has similar antiviral effect and was non-toxic to cells.

The study offers strong evidence that CBD can treat and slow the transmission of COVID-19. It comes just one week after an initial revelation out of Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Sciences University that cannabis precursors (the acids that, when combusted, turn into CBD and THC) can halt the infection of cells by SARS-CoV-2 in lab tests.

The authors of that study were careful to note that cannabis-derived products, while a potentially important public health intervention, are no substitute for vaccination campaigns. However, in the all-out fight to end the pandemic, they could end up becoming a much-needed supplement.

“Despite recent vaccine availability, SARS-CoV-2 is still spreading rapidly, highlighting the need for alternative treatments, especially for populations with limited inclination or access to vaccines,” the University of Chicago researchers write in their study.

“What we don’t want… is people just running out and thinking, ‘I can take CBD, and then I don’t have to get vaccinated or I don’t have to be masked,’” Rosner said. “This is what we really don’t want to see.”

It seems like there’s a flood of scientific news about the promise of cannabis in preventing or treating COVID-19. Last week, a different group of researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, identified CBD as a primer to a process called apoptosis, or natural cell death—in the case of COVID-19, their research suggests that CBD spurs on the death of infected cells, stopping viral spread in its tracks and slowing the transmission to others.

The studies, in tandem, contribute to a growing body of research identifying cannabis as a tool in the global COVID-19 response arsenal. Rosner and her team first laid the ground for this work in March of 2021, when they identified cannabidiol as a potential treatment for COVID-19 for its ability to hamper viral replication in lung cells in a lab. As detailed in a pre-print, the team found that in quantities similar to those that are prescribed as treatment for epilepsy, CBD inhibits the replication of genes that are required for viruses to spread throughout the body.

Rosner and her team caution against conflating their findings with the suggestion to use recreational cannabis as a treatment for COVID-19: THC may inhibit CBD’s antiviral effects, the authors note, and smoking is bad for your lungs. Without clinical trials, they also can’t recommend that people go out and buy CBD at a dispensary.

“We strongly caution against the temptation to take CBD in presently available formulations including edibles, inhalants or topicals as a preventative or treatment therapy at this time,” the authors write. “Especially without the knowledge of a rigorous randomized clinical trial with this natural product.”

Rosner notes that it’s impossible to know what CBD dosage and formula will be most effective at treating COVID-19 infection until her research moves into clinical trials on humans. After all, Rosner said, “we can only do so much in mice; we really need to do this in people.”

“We think it has a potential, both to be a preventative—so for instance, you can imagine that I’m going traveling and CBD is something that, if we can make the right product accessible, it should be widely available, it should be something people could anticipate needing,” she said. “Or you go and get tested and immediately start taking it. The hope is that it would prevent more serious disease, but we don’t know yet. And we would need a clinical trial.” 

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7 COMMENTS

  1. I am a 74 year old scuba diver.. this is a blog from scubaboard.com.

    ‘Twas the night before Christmas, but Covid was here,

    So we all had to stay extra cautious this year.

    Our masks were all hung by the chimney with care

    In case Santa forgot his and needed a spare.

    With Covid, we couldn’t leave cookies or cake

    So we left Santa hand sanitizer to take.

    The children were sleeping, the brave little tots

    The ones over 5 had just had their first shots,

    And mom in her kerchief and me in my cap

    Had just settled in for a long winter’s nap.

    But we tossed and we turned all night in our beds

    As visions of variants danced in our heads.

    Gamma and Delta and now Omicron

    These Covid mutations that go on and on

    I thought to myself, “If this doesn’t get better,

    I’ll soon be familiar with every Greek letter”.

    Then just as I started to drift off and doze

    A clatter of noise from the front lawn arose.

    I leapt from my bed and ran straight down the stair

    I opened the door, and an old gent stood there.

    His N95 made him look pretty weird

    But I knew who he was by his red suit and beard.

    I kept six feet away but blurted out quick

    “What are you doing here, jolly Saint Nick?”

    Then I said, “Where’s your presents, your reindeer and sleigh ?

    Don’t you know that tomorrow will be Christmas Day? “.

    And Santa stood there looking sad in the snow

    As he started to tell me a long tale of woe.

    He said he’d been stuck at the North Pole alone

    All his white collar elves had been working from home,

    And most of the others said “Santa, don’t hire us!

    We can live off the CERB now, thanks to the virus.”

    Those left in the toyshop had little to do.

    With supply chain disruptions, they could make nothing new.

    And as for the reindeer, they’d all gone away.

    None of them left to pull on his sleigh.

    He said Dasher and Dancer were in quarantine,

    Prancer and Vixen refused the vaccine,

    Comet and Cupid were in ICU,

    So were Donner and Blitzen, they may not pull through.

    And Rudolph’s career can’t be resurrected.

    With his shiny red nose, they all think he’s infected.

    Even with his old sleigh, Santa couldn’t go far.

    Every border to cross needs a new PCR.

    Santa sighed as he told me how nice it would be

    If children could once again sit on his knee.

    He couldn’t care less if they’re naughty or nice

    But they’d have to show proof that they’d had their shot twice.

    But then the old twinkle returned to his eyes.

    And he said that he’d brought me a Christmas surprise.

    When I unwrapped the box and opened it wide,

    Starlight and rainbows streamed out from inside.

    Some letters whirled round and flew up to the sky

    And they spelled out a word that was 40 feet high.

    There first was an H, then an O, then a P,

    Then I saw it spelled HOPE when it added the E.

    “Christmas magic” said Santa as he smiled through his beard.

    Then suddenly all of the reindeer appeared.

    He jumped into his sleigh and he waved me good-bye,

    Then he soared o’er the rooftops and into the sky.

    I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight

    “Get your vaccines my friends, Merry Christmas, good-night”.

    Then I went back to bed and a sweet Christmas dream

    3

    0

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