While recent studies warrant further research, CBD appears to have unexpected – although very encouraging – positive effects against SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The mechanism and degree of efficacy against preventing illness are up for debate. Still, the most promising findings by the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) suggest that high-concentration CBD may have potential as a COVID-19 prophylactic. Undoubtedly, these results came as a surprise to the cannabis and hemp community. However, correlative data also suggests that patients who take medical-grade CBD for epilepsy are less often COVID-19 positive.
Nonetheless, the question is this: how exactly does CBD fight against SARS-CoV2, if at all? Interestingly, certain hemp compounds and high concentrations of CBD were found to prevent infection and reduce viral replication, respectively.
Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) versus SARS-CoV2
Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) discovered that some hemp acids inhibit the spike protein’s ability to attach to human cells by binding to receptors at a pivotal moment in the infection process instead. Similarly, mRNA vaccines focus on the same spike proteins to guard against SARS-CoV2 infection. Thus, hemp directives may be an untapped source of COVID therapeutics, provided that those products contain high amounts of CBGA and CBDA. The latter is of particular interest as it's a precursor to the CBD contained in many medical products.
High-concentration CBD versus SARS-CoV2
The results from OSU were surprising from a medical standpoint, but a recent discovery by UCM is even more encouraging. For example, researchers discovered that CBD in high concentrations reduces viral replication in human lung cells, an entirely different mechanism than CBGA and CBDA. Whereas those hemp compounds attached to the coronavirus's spike protein, CBD directly inhibited replication, researchers found. The initial intent of the study was to determine CBD's response to the immune system, not necessarily see whether or not it might fight SARS-CoV2 or subsequent COVID-19 infections. Still, CBD warrants further research in light of this breakthrough.
Does CBD help fight COVID-19?
Not only that, but we also have anecdotal evidence to support both OSU’s and UCM’s discoveries. In the real world, epilepsy patients who take high CBD (CBD100+) levels less often test positive for COVID-19, but why? We don't yet have a definitive answer, but we have new research to guide further scientific inquiries.
So, we circle back around to our initial inquiry. How does CBD fight against COVID-19? The conservative answer is that CBD and hemp products in combination will have an effect; however, risks factor into the solution. Not every CBD-infused or hemp-derived product has comparable purity and concentration, so future developments must find a balance..
Besides, prophylactic and therapeutic uses have the most promise. However, more research is needed to weigh any potential adverse effects versus the treatment's general efficacy.