CBD & Coronavirus: Know the Facts vs. Fiction
May 16, 2020
CBD is not a miracle chemical compound that can fight the COVID-19 virus, nor has it been associated with any human or animal studies of the coronavirus. Although, it may assist your body in defending against the virus and may be potentially beneficial for other conditions that are amplified during a global pandemic such as anxiety or lack of sleep.
**UPDATED July 2, 2020**
Preclinical research shows that certain cannabis strains with a high amount of CBD could potentially assist in blocking the receptors that COVID-19 enters through the body. Read more about their findings here.
Let’s separate fact from fiction.
Since the recent CBD industry boom, there have been many exaggerated health claims ranging from misleading to flat out WRONG. Some companies are using the coronavirus pandemic to increase sales with the spread of false information. Deceptive marketing during a world crisis is not only wrong- it can be costly to public health and safety.
Many people are desperately searching for some sort of protection against this virus, which makes them vulnerable targets for shady companies looking to profit from misleading information.
This is not the first time that the fear and panic of a global crisis have been exploited for financial gain and it most surely won’t be the last.
Previously, the 1918 influenza pandemic (H1N1 virus) was a breeding ground for fake cures and false information. “Snake oil salesmen” used tactics like creating advertisements disguised as real news and doctor recommendations to try and fool people. Products such as Vick’s VapoRub and Dr. Pierce’s Pleasant Pellets were among many products from companies taking advantage of Americans’ fears.
The 1918 influenza pandemic was estimated to infect about 1/3 of the world’s population and is responsible for 50 million deaths worldwide and 675,000 in the United States. As of May 11th, 2020, there have been a reported 285,000 deaths worldwide with more than 80,000 from the United States.
What can we do when there is so much misleading information being shared online?
Some officials have stepped up to try and combat these false claims about CBD and COVID-19.
In fact, New York Attorney General Letitia James has already sent a Utah CBD oil company a letter demanding the removal of false advertisements promoting protection from COVID-19.
Another notable instance was a California-based doctor with a scam convincing people to invest in a company boasting a pill that “prevented coronavirus infections”. No such evidence supported the claims and the man was charged with attempted wire fraud, a felony offense with a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
These are just a few of the many examples of people preying on pandemic fear. The right information about protecting yourself from COVID-19 should be from credible and reliable sources.
If you would like to know more information on the best practices for coronavirus prevention, we recommend the World Health Organization (WHO) for the latest up-to-date information.
Can CBD aid during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
To clarify, there is no evidence that points to CBD providing any protection from COVID-19 or anyone infected with a coronavirus but the pandemic has led many cannabis researchers to shift their focus and look at different data points.
Two Canadian researchers, Olga and Igor Kovalchuk, have explored their previous reports to see if cannabis extracts could assist in blocking the COVID-19 virus from entering the body.
Their findings showed that certain strands with a high amount of CBD were effective in changing the ACE2 receptor levels- the gateway in which SARS-CoV-2 enters the body.
This is not enough information to support the treatment of CBD in blocking the coronavirus but paves the way for more research to be conducted for a better understanding of how and if cannabis can help with COVID-19.
With that said, CBD may help provide comfort and alleviate symptoms associated with other conditions brought forth from the global pandemic, such as anxiety or insomnia- but even these claims must be carefully researched and understood since there are many people spreading false information on the web.
To accurately represent information supporting the potential benefits of CBD, we look at the scientific research that has been made in recent years.
So, what studies have been conducted with the goal of linking CBD to the immune system?
Also, what research studies have been made to support the possible anxiolytic properties of CBD?
While the answers to these questions still need more research to back up any hard claims, there are many strong signals that support the potential for CBD having anxiolytic properties.
Currently, it’s unclear exactly how CBD affects anxiety in humans. What we do know is that there are recent research studies supporting the idea that CBD can, in fact, help reduce anxiety.
CBD & Anxiety: Is there any Connection?
Self-quarantine, stay-at-home orders, unemployment, and a complete change of our way of life can bring on severe anxiety for many people and CBD might be able to address this with its known association with anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) properties.
There have been many CBD studies for anxiety within the past 30 years. One study dating back to 1982 tested whether CBD could reduce anxiety provoked by THC. While the study linked anxiolytic properties of CBD to the effects produced by THC, it was only the beginning for building more research and support for the potential anti-anxiety properties of CBD.
- A 1993 study tested 4 groups of 10 healthy volunteers with a simulated public speaking test. The groups were given either placebo, diazepam, ipsapirone, or CBD. The subject that took the CBD showed a decrease in anxiety after the speaking test- supporting the potential anxiolytic properties of CBD.
- A research study in 2003 investigated CBD’s effect on the brain to understand the reaction and how it could help decrease anxiety. When CBD was applied, they reported an increase in activity where the brain normally mediates anxiety.
- A human study in 2011 once again utilized a public speaking test. This study matched CBD with one of the most common anxiety conditions, Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Once again, the subjects treated with CBD showed a reduction in anxiety and discomfort while the placebo group expressed the opposite with higher levels of discomfort and anxiety.
- A 2016 study found positive signals for CBD being administered to pediatric posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anxiety and insomnia levels decreased during the use of CBD when other pharmaceutical treatments had previously provided no relief. When testing CBD, 79.2% of patients saw a decrease in anxiety while 66.7% of the patients reported better sleep scores.
- A 2019 study examined the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) for anxiety and sleep in the form of a case series with 72 adults, 47 of whom were dealing with anxiety and 25 patients dealing with a lack of sleep.
While this research has yet to support CBD as an FDA-approved treatment for anxiety, many studies show the potential for CBD to reduce anxiety and the need for more research to support this alternative medicine.
While this research may show positive responses for linking CBD to anti-anxiety properties, what about using CBD to help boost the immune system?
Can CBD Boost your Immune System?
The immune system is important for dealing with viruses and helps your body fight off infectious agents, but a weakened immune system can often be a factor in a patient’s death due to increased inflammation in the body. This inflammation can do more damage to the body than a virus itself. Therefore, having a strong immune system can be an important consideration when protecting yourself from the coronavirus.
This brings us to the question. Can CBD boost your immune system?
CBD is still a very new alternative medicine and much more research needs to be done to provide any sort of direct correlation between CBD and a stronger immune system.
Even so, the recent discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has shown us that the same chemical compounds found in hemp are found inside the brain and help maintain a healthy balance in many of the body’s processes, including the cells in your immune system.
Significant advances have been made to understand the functions of the endocannabinoid system and it leads researchers to suggest that hemp has strong immunomodulatory effects, meaning that it modifies the functions of the immune system or immune response in the body. Research has also supported the immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids, which has aided with beneficial effects to immune-mediated diseases.
CBD could potentially amplify certain immune system functions that may not be working at peak performance, but this may be more relevant data for people dealing with an autoimmune disease rather than perfectly healthy individuals.
Regardless, extensive research examining the endocannabinoid system shows promising findings that call for further exploration of the relationship of CBD and the immune system.
Finding CBD that is Right for You
Dealing with a global pandemic is difficult and we are all in this together for the health and well-being of everyone. If you are considering using CBD as part of your daily health plan, consider using a company that is USDA organic certified and always ask your doctor before beginning any new alternative medicines.
We believe that CBD oil should have the highest-quality ingredients to support good health. Therefore, at 43 CBD Solutions, we craft artisan CBD oil from organically grown hemp that is sourced locally in the Colorado mountains. Any additional carrier oils and ingredients for flavorings are all organic and we make sure to include third-party testing for all our products- ensuring that you know 100% what goes into your CBD oil.
- Zuardi, A. W., Cosme, R. A., Graeff, F. G., & Guimarães, F. S. (1993). Effects of ipsapirone and cannabidiol on human experimental anxiety. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 7(1_suppl), 82–88.
- Crippa, J., Zuardi, A., Garrido, G. et al. Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Regional Cerebral Blood Flow. Neuropsychopharmacol 29, 417–426 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.npp.1300340
- Gomes, F.V., Resstel, L.B.M. & Guimarães, F.S. The anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol injected into the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis are mediated by 5-HT1A receptors. Psychopharmacology 213, 465–473 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-010-2036-z
- Bergamaschi, M., Queiroz, R., Chagas, M. et al. Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients. Neuropsychopharmacol 36, 1219–1226 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2011.6
- Shannon S, Opila-Lehman J. Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report. Perm J. 2016;20(4):16-005. doi:10.7812/TPP/16-005
- De Gregorio D, McLaughlin RJ, Posa L, et al. Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a model of neuropathic pain. Pain. 2019;160(1):136–150. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001386
- Kovalchuk, Olga & Kovalchuk, Igor. (2020). Cannabinoids as anticancer therapeutic agents. Cell Cycle. 19. 1-29. 10.1080/15384101.2020.1742952.
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