CBD to Treat Covid-19 – Does it Work?
My name is Dr. Jon Kaiser and I’m an Integrative Medicine physician located in California. I have over thirty years of experience treating immune disorders beginning with HIV/AIDS. You can learn more about my medical practice at www.JonKaiser.com
There’s exciting new research that provides evidence that a specific strain of high CBD cannabis, may be able to suppress inflammation to a great enough degree that it inhibits infection with Covid-19.
The cannabis plant has been used as medicine for thousands of years. In fact, high THC cannabis tincture was added to major pharmaceutical company medicines all the way up to the 1940’s. Cannabis tincture was part of medications used to treat cough, pain and anxiety.
2:12 Here is a picture of a patent medicine made by Park-Davis Pharmaceuticals for cough containing THC and codeine.
In the 1960’s the renowned Israeli researcher Dr. Ralph Mechoulam and colleagues, isolated both CBD – known as cannabidiol – and THC – known as tetrahydrocannabinol, setting the cannabinoid research pipeline in motion. They went on to discover that the human body, as well as all other vertebrate animals, make their own cannabinoids – called endocannabinoids.
We now know the endocannabinoid system is involved in a wide variety of processes, including pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress response, sleep, immune function, and our metabolism. They act to keep all the systems of your body in balance – the key to good health!
Now there’s exciting new research providing evidence that a specific strain of high CBD cannabis, may be able to suppress inflammation to a great enough degree that it inhibits infection with Covid-19.
The researchers, Olga and Igor Kovalchuck, have been developing and testing a novel cannabis strain for years with the goal of creating a strain to help combat inflammation and cancer. Once the pandemic hit, they began redirecting their efforts toward how the strain might be used to help fight Covid-19. There work is published in April edition of the online journal Preprints.
After looking at the research done on cannabis and Covid-19 by other scientists, they were able to determine that a particular strain of cannabis could potentially block Covid-19 from entering a person’s body to begin with by decreasing the level of ACE2 gene expression, essentially temporarily closing the doors to the virus.
One of the reasons this approach may work is that ACE2 receptor gene expression, and susceptibility to infection with Covid-19, is increased in people with high levels of inflammation. This may be one of the reasons why individuals with cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes and obesity, all condition that have been linked to inflammation, experience higher mortality rates from Covid-19.
Great reporting on this subject has been done by Emily Earlenbaugh at Forbes magazine. She reports that, in a study from Augusta University in Georgia, researchers showed that if mice were given a synthetic virus to simulate the inflammatory effects of Covid-19, including a respiratory distress and a decrease in oxygen saturation by 10%, and then they were treated with CBD “the symptoms were either totally or partially reversed and returned to normal after treatment with high potency CBD”.
When fighting Covid-19, cytokine storms are one of the deadliest factors that doctors are battling. Cytokines are signaling molecules released by the immune system that can lead to excessive inflammation, swelling, pain, and organ damage. In serious cases, cytokine storm can lead to death in Covid-19.
Early results from an ongoing Israeli study are showing that a combination of terpenes, another type of phytochemical in cannabis, and CBD may lead to even better results than CBD alone. Reports from this study indicate that a combination of CBD and terpenes was up to 90% effective at inhibiting cytokine storm activity, while the steroid dexamethasone, a corticosteroid medication currently approved for the treatment for Covid-19 cytokine storm, was only 30% effective at inhibiting it.
This new CBD-terpene study is being performed by two Israeli companies, Eybna which specializes in terpene-based medicines, and CannaSoul Analytics which specializes in cannabis-based medicines.
These results still need to be peer-reviewed, but if they prove to be accurate, they could move this medicine into human trials to see if this combination of CBD and terpenes works for patients with Covid-19-related cytokine storm syndrome.
Inflammation plays a big role in many diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, auto-immune diseases and neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The ability to safely suppress chronic inflammation could eventually be used to help treat these diseases. It’s my opinion that COVID-19 is driving cannabinoid research toward the eventual approval of CBD-based medicines.