It seems as though the only constant in our lives right now is the daily newsbreaks regarding the global pandemic caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. As the numbers rise in America, new treatments, vaccine rumors, hotspots, and more continue on and on each day with no end in sight. As new data, science, and studies become more available, one potential new treatment is gaining momentum: CBD. Yes, CBD is now being looked at as a possible treatment for COVID-19. So can CBD be a treatment for COVID-19? Let’s go through the current research to find out.
While more research is certainly going to be needed, early signs are showing that cannabidiol or CBD may help reduce the cytokine storm and excessive lung inflammation that is causing the deaths in a lot of patients with COVID-19, according to researchers at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. No clinical research to this point has been done and will need to be in order to determine the dosage and timing of doses, but the groundwork is being laid. The researchers have already seen early signs of evidence that CBD can help patients that show signs of respiratory distress to the point that they can avoid interventions like mechanical ventilation and/or death from acute respiratory distress syndrome.
“Our laboratory studies indicate pure CBD can help the lungs recover from the overwhelming inflammation, or cytokine storm caused by the COVID-19 virus, and restore healthier oxygen levels in the body.”-Dr. Jack Yu, a physician-scientist and chief pediatric plastic surgeon at MCB.
Dr. Babak Baban, an immunologist and interim associate dean for research at DCG said that “ARDS is a major killer in severe cases of some respiratory viral infections, including severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and we have an urgent need for better intervention and treatment strategies.”
The CBD findings from DR. Jack Yu’s research were enabled by their additional evidence of safe and somewhat inexpensive models that could duplicate the lung damage caused by ARDS. The work on the actual virus is still limited to a few labs around the country due to safety concerns, however, with this new approach that replicates it, this should open many more doors for studying COVID-19.
The model uses the large, unique genetic structure of the novel coronavirus and produces classic symptoms of ARDS like the destructive immune response. The team then introduced CBD to the model which then significantly downregulated the classic indicators of the inflammation-promoting cytokines while improving the oxygen levels in the blood. This allowed the lungs to begin a recovery process from the structural damage.
A critical issue with COVID-19 is that instead of just destroying the virus, the quick immune response can rapidly disable the lungs, thus transforming them to a place where the virus is replicated, rather than a place that makes oxygen and eliminating harmful gases like carbon dioxide.
An initial solution for this was to put patients on mechanical ventilators. This was helpful for a while and enabled critically ill patients to be able to breathe while using less energy to fight the infection. In theory, this was supposed to allow the lungs to recover from the attack, however, this has now shown to not be the case. In fact, new evidence suggests that 30-50% of patients who require a ventilator, do not survive.
These cytokines found in these storms are a class of molecules that are secreted by immune cells along with other cells like endothelial cells that line blood vessels, which can have an impact on cell communication while both promoting and deterring inflammation. With the current coronavirus, there is an extremely high production of inflammation-promoting molecules.
Researchers have looked at objective measures of lung function in mice. They’ve been looking at levels of proinflammatory cytokines, oxygen levels in the blood before and after CBD treatment, along with temperature which is often an indicator that inflammation is occurring. The results showed that oxygen levels went up, while cytokine levels and temperatures went down post-CBD therapy. A few days later, follow-up analysis of the lungs showed a reinforced reduction of key indicators of destructive inflammation.
The researchers went on to say that both clinical symptoms and physical lung changes that were a direct result from ARDS were reversed by CBD treatments.
Since CBD is widely available and affordable, the hope is that further research can be done along with clinical trials. There have been several indications in recent years that CBD has a potent anti-inflammatory effect in the human body in a variety of pathological conditions. The conclusion by the researchers suggests that CBD can potentially provide a protective role during ARDS that may extend CBD as part of the treatment of COVID-19 by reducing the cytokine storm, protecting pulmonary tissues, and re-establishing inflammatory homeostasis.
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As we at Timberline CBD continue to research and provide you with the most up-to-date information we can find on the ingredients we offer in our products, we encourage you to check with your own doctor before adding any medication or supplement to your regimen.