Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr Benjamin Viaris de Lesegno, explores the science behind the widely discussed claims.
As a researcher and NHS consultant with an interest in Medical Cannabis, I have been following the press and rumours regarding CBD and COVID-19. I wanted to dispel the myths behind this and discuss the current scientific status.
To this day, there is no vaccine or effective antiviral treatment against Covid-19. What we know so far is that SARS-CoV-2 enters the human body by hijacking small molecules called the ACE2 receptors (ACE2R) at the surface of human cells.
For background, a recent study showed that a high CBD extract of Cannabis sativa could diminish the number of ACE2R at the surface of human cells in the mouth and airway. The authors make the assumption that by diminishing the number of ACE2R, we may prevent the virus from penetrating the body. This study needs to be considered with a pinch of salt as it has not been published in a peer review journal yet.
CBD has also been shown to regulate the immune response, including through an effect on the cytokine IL-6, in order to decrease the inflammation. It has also been shown to reduce lung inflammation in mice with severe inflammatory lung disease. We have also learnt from the studies on SARS-CoV-1 (after the outbreak of 2003) that in vitro, certain terpenes present in certain strains of cannabis may have an antiviral effect on SARS-CoV-1.
These findings have led to numerous researchers around the world to start looking at using CBD as a complementary therapy to help in the treatment of patients with COVID-19. For example, Professor Dedi Meiri's team in Tel Aviv has started to look at the capacity of Medical Cannabis to regulate the immunity in 2 different research studies.
However, in conclusion, there is not enough information yet and CBD should not be considered a treatment for COVID-19. Numerous studies are in progress and may bring some light to this interesting topic. In the meantime, we encourage you to reach out to us at Cellen if you have any questions!