Many clinical trials are testing whether CBD Cannabis can become an effective treatment for COVID-19

Let’s get this right now: You shouldn’t take CBD to prevent COVID-19. You shouldn’t smoke weed to prevent COVID-19 — in fact, it might make things worse. You definitely shouldn’t drink CBD juice or take gum to protect yourself from a virus that could potentially kill you — especially when there’s a vaccine proven to protect you.

At the same time, it can also The truth is that cannabis CBD has a role to play in this pandemic — from treating COVID directly, to dealing with the emotional side effects of the pandemic. We have seen this potential unfold in the course of a powerful development of new scientific research.

Last weekScientists have announced the discovery showed that CBD can prevent coronavirus from replicating inside cells. They also found that patients prescribed CBD-based drugs for epilepsy had a lower positive rate of COVID-19 than those not prescribed CBD, an early signal that this may be the case. can be maintained in the real world. This is so hot behind my heels Another recent study showed that two other cannabis compounds can bind to the coronavirus spike protein — preventing it from entering cells in the first place.

“When COVID first started, there was a lot of interest in the potential of cannabidiol [to] treating COVID patients, at the time, there was very little data for us to take off our hats.” Ziva Cooperdirector of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, told The Daily Beast. “Then here are two examples, both published within a week, that show there may be some promise.”

The bottom line for these two studies is the same: We need more clinical trials on CBD and COVID-19. The good news is that some testing has been done. At the present time there are seven clinical trials registered with is investigating CBD in relation to COVID-19 and more is underway elsewhere, The Daily Beast has learned.

Several studies have investigated CBD’s role in the treatment of acute COVID-19 (i.e. the length of time you have symptoms). Others are investigating how CBD might treat the lingering effects of COVID experienced after the infection has been cleared from the body (also known as “Long COVID“). Finally, a third research group is looking into whether CBD can help people grappling with emotional exhaustion caused by the pandemic.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about what CBD can do for COVID, but its potential application continues to build with each new round of research published. We need to figure out its role – perhaps sooner than we think.

Initial infection

The idea that cannabis can help treat the effects of COVID-19 is not particularly new. An early theory in the early days of the pandemic was that anti-inflammatory effect of CBD (common name for cannabidiol, a major non-psychoactive compound in cannabis), may reduce the effects of cytokine storm—Immune system responses that contribute to the life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19.

“If CBD could be helpful for that, it could essentially prevent an increase in disease severity and prevent loss of life in certain situations,” Cooper said.


Inspired by this idea, José Alexandre de Souza Crippa, a psychiatrist at the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto School of Medicine, conducted a clinical trial of CBD and acute COVID infection during the COVID-19 season Brazil’s winter 2020. Their research followed 91 mild to moderate COVID-19 patients for 28 days. Half took CBD and half took a placebo. But research shows that CBD has no real effect on the disease.

Crippa followed these patients for a year. However, the results remained unchanged: “We had high expectations for the acute phase [trials] but we don’t see that,” he said The Daily Beast.

That said, this line of requests is far from closed. Cooper points out that CBD is well tolerated by patients, which suggests it may be safe to continue these studies. And, the patients in these studies were given low doses of CBD.

“There is an opportunity here to increase and administer a much higher dose of cannabidiol to that patient population to determine if it might have an effect on COVID symptoms,” Cooper said.

CBD for Long Distance

Undeterred, Crippa has focused on investigating the effects of CBD on long-term COVID – in which the patient is debilitated for several months by symptoms such as headache, irritability, severe fatigue, difficulty exercising medium and fast breathing. He is conducting MRI scans on three groups: those treated with CBD and diagnosed with COVID from his earlier research; one placebo group had COVID but no CBD; and a third group of people who have never tested positive for COVID.

Crippa’s rationale is that CBD may have some protective effects in terms of anxiety and depression, common problems in patients with persistent COVID. He is also interested in whether CBD, has shown neuroprotective effects in Parkinson’s patientMay reduce persistent COVID-related brain fog.

“We’ve done animal studies, and cannabidiol appears to have neuroprotective and anti-cognitive effects, which are a key issue in persistent COVID,” says Crippa. “So it makes sense to infer that cannabidiol could prevent this in the long run.”

However, he cautions that reasonable expectations do not mean the idea will succeed. “It was trial and error,” he said.


Courtesy Royal College London

Crippa’s team isn’t the only one interested in what cannabis-based drugs might do to prolong COVID. Drug Science UK, a non-profit group led by neuroscientist David Nutt of Imperial College London, is in the early stages of a clinical trial that would give 30 longtime COVID patients access to a CBD-dominant medical cannabis recipe called MediCabilis (a liquid product manufactured by Australian Bod) and see how well they tolerate the drug from February to June.

The bright spot on this research is particularly bright thanks to the involvement of Nutt, who is widely known as a longtime advocate for drug research who was fired from the Drug Abuse Advisory Board. of the United Kingdom in 2009 because of the belief that MDMA was less dangerous than ride a horse and alcohol. (Today, MDMA is being studied as a “breakthrough drug” for PTSD).

David Badcock, CEO of Drug Science UK, said the team was undertaking the study because patients with persistent COVID experience symptoms such as pain, anxiety, insomnia and high blood pressure or heart rate. – symptoms are also seen in conditions managed with medical marijuana. (For example, one previous research led by the team found that after three months of accessing medical marijuana, 75 patients with anxiety, chronic pain, PTSD, or MS saw an increased quality of life score.)

“Since there is no established medical treatment for [long COVID] conditions, we felt it was important to research every possible option for those who became ill during the pandemic — including medical marijuana,” he said. The Daily Beast.

All of this research is still in the early stages. Crippa is in the process of analyzing its data and the trial, conducted by Drug Science UK, remains solely to determine if it is safe for COVID patients to take medical cannabis. If nothing goes wrong, Nutt and his team will scale the study up to a randomized controlled trial.

From physical to mental

Whether or not CBD can help us treat COVID symptoms, its greatest potential seems to be to help us cope with the psychology of the pandemic. Anxiety is one area where CBD has strong potential thanks to the “convergence” of preclinical evidence, Steven Laviolettea professor of anatomy and cell biology at Western University in Canada, told The Daily Beast.

Laviolette proven before CBD can suppress fear-related memory formation in rats, as it interacts with serotonin signaling pathways in the brain. “Of course, Serotonin is really important for anxiety and mood disorders,” he told The Daily Beast.. “Most of the major drugs that treat those disorders target the serotonin system, so it’s very promising that CBD also seems to exert an anti-anxiety effect on the serotonin pathway.”


Steven Laviolette (left).

Western University

Right now, available at at least two trials is being conducted at the University of Texas at Austin to investigate the impact of CBD on emotional coping during the pandemic. But Crippa’s group also published work showing how CBD has helped exhausted hospital workers deal with stress.

In the Brazilian acute COVID study, Crippa also conducted a study of 118 frontline healthcare workers at the University Hospital Ribeirão Preto Medical School. Half of the patients took 300 mg of CBD along with regular phone calls with their psychiatrist and motivational videos. The remaining group only received phone calls and video processing.

Compared with the placebo group, the CBD group experienced a significant reduction in their emotional exhaustion and anxiety scores. “After this one month, it was clear that the group given the cannabidiol did much better,” says Crippa.

Science says…

On the other hand, new research is often an opportunity for people to promote unproven ideas about cannabis to the public. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration had to issue alert Letters to CBD manufacturers who falsely claim that their product treats or protects against COVID.

Both Cooper and Crippa warn that the CBD most people buy at the store is almost certainly not something given to people in clinical trials, but must be produced according to FDA guidelines that have been established. tested for purity and unknown substances. Scientists know exactly how a lot of CBD in any dose — something not always right over-the-counter CBD products.

In other words, it’s not like the stuff you can buy at a drugstore, let alone a gas station.

While research into medical marijuana and CBD seems like too much of an incentive to stop, snake oil sellers can slow that process and create painful barriers in thin air. And there are already barriers that make this kind of research difficult.

“Given the sociocultural histories of the candidates and subsequently the reluctance of some established psychiatric communities to be more open to cannabis-based pharmacotherapy, it is a challenge. awake,” Laviolette said. “We really need to invest more heavily in research in this area, and less and less red tape.”

At the moment, we still don’t know exactly what, if any, role CBD will play in dealing with COVID-19 or its emotional consequences. But there’s certainly enough research to say it’s worth learning more.

“It looks like we’re a long way from knowing exactly what we can take off our hats at the moment,” Cooper said. “But you know, this is how science works. You get some hits, you get some signals. And then other studies built on that. “ Many clinical trials are testing whether CBD Cannabis can become an effective treatment for COVID-19


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