Several new studies have revealed that cannabis compounds might be an effective tool for preventing COVID-19. While more research is needed to determine if it can be used as a treatment, this early research has exciting implications for cannabis’ ability to aid in the fight against the ongoing global pandemic.
What Does the Research Say?
Thus far, different studies have shown that CBD, a popular non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, might effectively prevent and treat COVID-19. While these compounds were able to block COVID-19 in a test tube, it is not yet known whether they would be an effective deterrent to COVID-19 in the human body. Other possible treatments have shown promise in lab settings but were later found to not be effective in humans.
According to Reuters, a team at the University of Chicago, led by Marsha Rosner, used small doses of highly purified CBD to determine whether they could keep COVID from infecting cells in a lab. While CBD did not prevent the cells from becoming infected, the compounds did react when the COVID-19 entered the cells. Rather than block the virus from entering the cells, it prevented the virus from replicating.
The University of Chicago team also found that CBD worked to block COVID-19 virus from replicating in mice during tests on rodents. However, the researchers cautioned that clinical trials are needed to determine the effectiveness of cannabis compounds like CBD in preventing or treating COVID-19. The CBD must also be incredibly pure. The university research team used CBD that was 98% pure, which is much purer than CBD you can typically buy in a retail setting.
The researchers also tested other cannabinoids to determine whether they produced the same effects that CBD had. After testing THC (the primary psychoactive component of marijuana), CBG, CBDa, CBDV, and CBC, the team concluded that none of those cannabinoids were effective at preventing the virus from infecting cells or blocking the COVID-19 virus from making copies of itself once cells had been infected. In fact, the researchers noted that THC, when combined with CBD, actually rendered CBD ineffective against the virus.
However, other studies have shown different results. An article published by Forbes referenced a study in the Journal of Natural Products by Oregon State University, which found that both CBD and CBGa had the potential to prevent the COVID-19 virus from entering cells and causing an infection. Both cannabinoids attached to the virus’s spike protein, which blocked the virus in a lab setting.
The researchers determined that further research would be needed to determine the effectiveness of these cannabinoids but that they could potentially be developed into drugs for preventing and treating COVID-19.
Should I Run Out To The Nearest Dispensary to Purchase CBD to Combat COVID-19?
So, should you immediately rush out to the closest dispensary or business that sells CBD if you’re concerned about COVID-19? Not yet, says Rosner: “People should not run out and get CBD from their favorite dispensary,” she said.
While many have touted CBD products as popular treatments for nausea, pain, and other ailments, clinical trials have only started to prove their effectiveness, even as the products become available in a wide variety of forms.
Recently, Brazilian researchers gave CBD to 105 patients with mild or moderate COVID-19. This went along with standard treatments. In this study, the CBD did not have any impact on the illness, according to the report issued by the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in October.
Researchers have also begun random trials and are giving CBD or placebos in patients with mild COVID at Sheba Medical Center in Israel,
Another trial that is still in the early stages at Rabin Medical Center is focusing on giving CBD to patients with more severe or critical illness from COVID. It’s more challenging than the Israeli researchers anticipated, however, since most of the patients that have been hospitalized are suffering from mild to moderate illness, so there is a much smaller pool of severely ill patients to test. While this is encouraging from a community wellness standpoint, it does not yet answer the question of whether CBD is an effectiec treatment.
The next clinical trials performed by Rosner’s team will likely focus on treating asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 cases. Researchers admit, however, that the media reports that have widely touted the potential for cannabis to combat COVID might lead more people to stop relying on masks and vaccines and attempt to treat themselves with cannabis products.
Right now, says Rosner,”vaccine-induced antibodies and antibody drugs are much more effective at blocking infection.”
What Cannabis-Related Products Might Be Released to Help Treat COVID?
Recent studies also showed that THCA, another cannabinoid might have similar effects against the virus. Like THC, the compound is considered a Schedule 1 substance, limiting the options for researchers.
There are other preclinical studies that might yield useful therapies based on CBGA and CBDA as well. Hemp companies have been working around the clock to create new products for consumers to enjoy these cannabinoids. In most instances, these products are ingested orally, but other products like gel capsules, tinctures, and beverages have also become popular in recent years.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether cannabis products will truly turn the tide against COVID-19, or if the media has blown it’s effectiveness out of proportion. From a holistic standpoint, many believe that the already-proven benefits that people seem to enjoy from these products can only help relieve some of the most common symptoms of COVID.
Until clinical trials have definitively proven the usefulness of CBD, THCA, CBDA, and CBGA to treat the illness, it is recommended that people still take advantage of the physician approved therapies and personal protection provided by masks.
At Cannabutter Digest, our team will continue to monitor the most recent studies and will continue to update our readers on the latest news regarding cannabis and the treatment of COVID-19. In the coming weeks and months, more information should be readily available, and more products are sure to follow if the results are positive.