Scientists from the University of Chicago found evidence that cannabidiol (CBD), a product of the cannabis plant, may help inhibit infection by SARS-CoV-2.
They also found that CBD showed a strong negative association with SARS-CoV-2 positive tests in a national sample of medical records of patients taking the FDA-approved drug for treating epilepsy.
The research is published in Science Advances and was conducted by Marsha Rosner et al.
In the study, the team first treated human lung cells with a non-toxic dose of CBD for two hours before exposing the cells to SARS-CoV-2 and monitoring them for the virus and the viral spike protein.
They found that above a certain threshold concentration, CBD inhibited the virus’s ability to replicate.
Further research found that CBD had the same effect in two other types of cells and for three variants of SARS-CoV-2 in addition to the original strain.
CBD did not affect the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to enter the cell. Instead, CBD was effective at blocking replication early in the infection cycle and six hours after the virus had already infected the cell.
High concentrations of CBD almost completely eradicated the expression of viral RNAs. It was a completely unexpected result.
The researchers then found that CBD prevents viral replication in live animals. These results provide major support for a clinical trial of CBD in humans.
And the success of CBD wasn’t limited to the laboratory: An analysis of 1,212 patients from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative revealed that patients taking a medically prescribed oral solution of CBD for the treatment of epilepsy tested positive for COVID-19 at much lower rates than a sample of matched patients from similar demographic backgrounds who were not taking CBD.
The team says the potential for CBD to treat patients recently exposed to or infected by SARS-CoV-2 does not precede the first lines of defense against COVID-19, which are to get vaccinated and follow existing public health guidelines for masking in indoor spaces and social distancing.
But the published results offer a potential new therapeutic, something still needed as the pandemic rages on.
The researchers say that clinical trials should be done to determine whether CBD could eventually be used as a preventative or early treatment for COVID-19.
They caution, however, that the COVID-blocking effects of CBD come only from high purity, specially formulated doses taken in specific situations.
If you care about cannabis, please read studies that heavy cannabis use may decrease incidence of diabetes, and this stuff in cannabis may protect aging brain, treat Alzheimer’s.
For more information about COVID, please see recent studies that health care workers change their minds on COVID vaccinations, and results showing you need three COVID-19 exposures to get a broad immunity for omicron.
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