Researchers Looking at CBD to Treat COVID-19 Lung Inflammation
Coronavirus cases are surging and the president and his advisors are reframing their response to it by urging Americans to get back to work and just live with the virus. Thankfully scientists are still hard at work.
Researchers from the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute are delving into cannabis-derived CBD as a possible option for treating the deadly lung inflammation that accompanies COVID-19.
In their study, researchers explained that the acute infection resulting from the coronavirus is associated with a “cytokine superstorm,” which is basically an immune reaction gone wild that seems to be linked with the most severe cases of COVID-19.
This breakdown in the immune system leads to symptoms such as fever, cough, muscle pain and, in some cases, severe lung inflammation which makes breathing difficult if not impossible. Hence the last ditch use of ventilators for COVID-19 sufferers.
Reducing inflammation as a way of treating the coronavirus is crucial, especially in view of Johns Hopkins University’s recent grim data noting that, as of July 8, 2020 coronavirus cases in the United States have surged to 3 million—one million occurring in just 28 days.
Cannabis’ Anti-Inflammatory Properties Hold Promise
“Here, we intend to highlight the potential effects of cannabinoids, in particular, the non-psychotropic cannabidiol (CBD), that has shown beneficial anti-inflammatory effects in pre-clinical models of various chronic inflammatory diseases and is FDA approved for seizure reduction in children with intractable epilepsy,” say the authors of the study, published in the July 2020 issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
A body of research already exists showing the CBD reduces lung inflammation.
For example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third most common cause of death by disease in the United States, with more than 15.3 million Americans suffering from it.
And, like the coronavirus, there is no cure.
However, studies have shown CBD to exhibit significant bronchodilator properties, which essentially open (dilate) and relax the airways, or bronchial tubes, enabling people to breathe more easily.
The same goes for asthma, about which studies indicate that CBD dilates the respiratory airways by reducing inflammation in the lungs.
“We know cannabis is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that functions differently from other drugs like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, steroids, or the biological options that work on the immune system and can present severe side-effects,” Dr. Benjamin Caplan, a primary care family physician in Boston, told High Times. Caplan was not involved in the recent study on CBD and COVID-19.
THC Also Has A Role To Play
THC has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, though the COVID-19 researchers caution that the psychotropic effect—as in getting too ripped—could produce certain unwanted reactions in some consumers.
“The many uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic such as status of the economy, employment, and loss of connection can fuel depression, fear, and anxiety,” noted the study’s authors in something of an understatement.
Gaslighting also causes anxiety and, at the moment, there is no shortage of either.
For example, the president of the United States spent the 4th of July weekend raging about protecting statues of American heroes with racist pasts while barely mentioning the rampant pandemic that has, to date, killed over 133,000 Americans.
In terms of the rising number of cases, some calculate that the United States could reach a half-million by the end of 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic now threatens to become endemic. So, yes, it would be wise to look at all options to treat it.