Photo by CDC on Unsplash
What? Viruses infect the body by entering healthy cells, and COVID-19 is no different. COVID latches red, spiked proteins onto healthy cell’s receptors, and is especially partial to those in the lungs.
Why? When the body is fighting COVID, the body releases a multitude of molecules linked to inflammation, specifically cytokines. Covid can even produce a cytokine storm, and having an excessive amount of cytokines means a hyper inflammatory response. This paired with lower amounts of particular immune cells, such as natural killer cells, is what many are pointing to as the source of COVID’s unique ability to damage the lungs, produce organ failure, and other ill health outcomes and long term damages.
How? To begin we must understand inflammation of the lungs. Inflamed lungs make it harder to breathe, lead to shortness of breath, and even pneumonia. Pneumonia occurs when tiny sacs of air, called alveoli, cause an infection inside the lungs due to more carbon dioxide and less oxygen being pumped into the blood.
And with COVID particularly? Those with long-term respiratory problems begin with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) days after developing COVID and it’s symptoms. ARDS damages the blood vessels and tissues in the alveoli, the tiny sacs of air in the lungs, causing debris to collect inside of them. This is what makes it so hard, and sometimes impossible to breathe. Many who develop ARDS require the ventilator to help them breathe. This lung infection can cause fluid to collect in the lungs, and causes more carbon dioxide and less oxygen to be pumped into the blood. Without properly oxygenated blood, the organs may not have the oxygen they require to survive. This can cause damage or even a shut down of the lungs, kidneys, or liver.
X-ray showing Pneumonia:
How can we help lungs?
Cannabinoids are known to help the immune system, reduce inflammation, and reduce cytokine production. Therefore, some researchers have proposed that CBD may be helpful in repairing damage caused by COVID. No one has proposed cannabinoids as a cure or something that will prevent the infection, but as a supportive tool in alleviating damage caused by excessive inflammation.
In rat studies CBD was able to reduce cytokine storms and the symptoms of ARDS in rats. (1) Additionally in another research publication, “Acute inflammation and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection: Cannabidiol as a potential anti-inflammatory treatment?” Scientists have proposed CBD may be useful in COVID-19. Researchers Cecilia T. Costiniuka and Mohammad-Ali Jenabianc wrote, “Therefore, as SARS-CoV2 induces significant damage through pro-inflammatory cytokine storm mediated by macrophages and other immune cells and based on the fact that CBD has broad anti-inflammatory properties, CBD might represent as a potential anti-inflammatory therapeutic approach against SARS-CoV2-induced inflammation.” These scientists are asking for more studies to see if CBD could help COVID patients.
CBD Promotes Healthy Inflammatory Responses in the Lungs
We have more animal studies. In one study researchers caused lung injuries to mice then dosed them with CBD 6 hours later. The CBD was able to improve the recovery time of the lungs and reduce the level of inflammatory cytokines. (2) Additionally, in multiple studies using mouse models of asthma, CBD was able to reduce both lung inflammation and lung fibrosis. (3&4)
“By supporting a healthy inflammatory response in the lungs, CBD may reduce coughing and help people breathe easier, if animal studies are confirmed in humans.”
– Dr. Meletis in his CBD Book :
The information in this blog was provided by Dr. Meletis at the website provided in the link above. Dr. Meletis is a physician and educator set on “Changing World’s Health, One Person at a Time.” He has authored 16 books and over 200 scientific articles, and is a world renowned expert on CBD.
Will CBD cure me?
No, CBD is not going to prevent COVID or cure you of COVID, but there is reason to believe that it may be very helpful in repairing damage caused by the virus. Outside of COVID, excessive inflammation leads to so much damage and disease in the body, we must show gratitude to nature for giving us the miracle of CBD with or without the existence of COVID-19.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
- Khodadadi, et al. (2020). Cannabidiol modulates cytokine storm in acute respiratory distress syndrome induced by simulated viral infection using synthetic rna. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 5(3), 197-201.
- Ribeiro A, Almeida VI, Costola-de-Souza C, et al. Cannabidiol improves lung function and inflammation in mice submitted to LPS-induced acute lung injury. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2015;37(1):35-41.
- Vuolo F, Abreu SC, Michels M, et al. Cannabidiol reduces airway inflammation and fibrosis in experimental allergic asthma. Eur J Pharmacol. 2019;843:251-259.
- Vuolo F, Petronilho F, Sonai B, et al. Evaluation of Serum Cytokines Levels and the Role of Cannabidiol Treatment in Animal Model of Asthma. Mediators Inflamm. 2015;2015:538670.
An Article By Evie Louise
Evie Louise is a recent psychology graduate from New York University. She is a certified in International Cannabinoid Clinical Therapy. Evie sees all forms of the cannabis sativa plant as the future of psychiatry, and hopes to use it in her therapy practice as a full spectrum approach to mental health and wellness.