It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since the first traces of the Covid-19 pandemic was discovered. A few months more and we’ll be reaching the anniversary of the date that the pandemic was announced. The battle is still far from over but the good news is that steps are being taken to ensure that things will go back to normal eventually.
Pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Moderna are leading the charge when it comes to the vaccination of the Covid-19 virus. Their respective vaccines have success rates of over 90% each, making them highly effective. Still, it will be long before things go back to the way they were. Although the vaccines are already well on their way, it’s still vital to look into possible treatments for the virus.
There are already many treatments that reduce the symptoms that people experience once they contract the Covid-19 virus. More treatment methods are being discovered but there’s one key player that could change the way we see things. We are referring to none other than the miracle compound, CBD.
Before we dive into how CBD can upend the way we treat the virus, let’s first understand what it is.
What is CBD?
Cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana are composed of hundreds of special compounds called cannabinoids. Each cannabinoid has its own responsibility in the plant. There are two primary cannabinoids out there, cannabidiol or CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC is the compound that gives cannabis plants the psychoactive properties they have.
On the other hand, CBD is responsible for giving the plant the many wonderful benefits that make it a darling of the medical community. Due to its medical properties, CBD is being extracted by manufacturers worldwide and they are turning the compound into a selection of amazing products such as crystal dabs, vape liquids, edibles, oils, and much more.
What’s even better is that the availability of these products is high. In Las Vegas, for instance, you can simply walk into any Las Vegas dispensary, and you are given a healthy dose of CBD. There’s a very little stigma regarding CBD so people are not really ashamed to be seen in public with these products. On the other hand, people are warier to be seen around with marijuana even if it’s more accepted now.
To make the product even more enticing is the fact that it has trace amounts of THC. The bare minimum which makes cannabis products legal in some states is a 0.3% concentration of THC. Almost all CBD products contain this amount which makes them legal and free from psychoactive properties.
There are various means as to how manufacturers extract the compound from cannabis. Each of their methods varies but the main purpose is to get an extract that’s as pure as possible. This means as less THC as possible. Aside from tried and tested extraction methods, more advanced techniques are also being looked into.
CBD has branched out of the cannabis industry to form a sector of its own. Due to its popularity with consumers, medical companies, producers, and political figures alike, the CBD industry is consistently growing. As per research, the CBD industry is expected to be worth hundreds of billions by 2025 with a compound annual growth rate of 22.2%.
There are a ton of medical benefits one can get from CBD. With research pouring in from left and right, more of these benefits are being uncovered. Now, many are looking into how the miracle compound is capable of treating the symptoms of Covid-19. Is this the alternative medicine the world needs right now?
CBD vs. Covid-19: What The Evidence Says
Researchers are still trying to grapple with the challenges that are brought about by the Covid-19 virus. The same researchers are now looking into how terpenes and CBD help improve the treatment of the virus. Currently, researchers are focusing on a few theories regarding cannabis-derived CBD and Covid-19.
First is that CBD could be capable of reducing the Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) expression and pro-inflammatory cytokine production. These two compounds help combat lung inflammation and could also be used as an antiviral against Covid-19. As most of the symptoms of Covid-19 target the respiratory system, this factor could be crucial.
Sadly, there aren’t enough tests and experiments to prove this theory just yet. However, people shouldn’t lose hope as other researchers are opening up other opportunities for CBD.
Researchers at August University in Georgia are some of those researchers. A team led by Babak Baban, Ph.D. from the Department of Oral Biology and Diagnostic Sciences, DCG, DCG Center for Excellence in Research is looking into how CBD can provide positive results for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS.
ARDS is one of the most severe symptoms that is shown by Covid-19 patients. It usually occurs when patients get an inflammatory response also known as a cytokine storm.
Baban and his team suggest that CBD could potentially reduce the pro-inflammatory cytokine production of the lungs by producing certain compounds. The study has already been conducted by the team and the results have been positive so far. To conduct the study, the team used mice with a control group being treated with CBD.
As per their results, the mice that got the CBD treatment had lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This basically means that CBD was able to reduce the inflammatory indices on the lungs. More surprisingly, mice who got the CBD treatment also had higher lymphocyte levels in their blood. This white blood cell component can help fight off infections as well.
Due to the great results, the researchers believe that CBD can be an excellent immunotherapeutic alternative when treating severe respiratory viral issues such as Covid-19. All things considered, all that’s left is to conduct the test on human experiments to see if the CBD treatment will yield the same results.
Sadly, the amount of any heavy research is still limited to this day. However, there are some studies that looked into how CBD can also prevent viral infections. One such study looked into incorporating CBD into oral solutions like mouthwashes and gargling liquids to see if it can moderate ACE2 levels in parts of the respiratory system.
As per the results, CBD is seen to modulate the ACE2 levels which can help prevent viruses from actually infecting people. So far, research has shown this to be an effective means in animal subjects who are infected with the SARS virus. Safe to say, things are looking great so far.
Another unique approach to CBD as a treatment is currently being studied by researchers in Israel. They are using a potential cell therapy treatment featuring CBD-treated exosomes to cure Covid-10 patients. On this treatment, the researchers are hoping that the compound and the treatment will target the central nervous system.
It’s already been proven by research that CBD is capable of treating muscle inflammation. Considering how some Covid-19 symptoms include lung inflammation, it makes it all the more viable that the compound can actually treat this virus.
Why It Could Be Just What We Need
There’s still a lot of debate as to whether or not CBD should be legalized federally. Currently, there aren’t any major laws that prohibit the use of CBD and you can easily walk into any dispensary to grab a product. One of the reasons why it could be just what we need is that CBD is readily available everywhere.
Since its boom a few years back, it’s easy to find products that are infused with a touch of CBD. From cafes to spas, there are various means you can consume CBD. Let’s say that you are a Covid-19 patient and you’re picky when it comes to how medicine is administered, there’s a wide selection of ways for you to intake CBD!
The most popular of which is via smoking and inhaling CBD vapor. However, it’s up for debate as to whether these can be a viable option for Covid-19 patients considering how the virus is already targeting their lungs. On the other hand, having the compound pass directly through the lungs via smoke or vapor could make it more effective. Hopefully, there are already some researchers looking into these.
What if you don’t smoke or vape? The good news is that there are other creative ways to consume CBD. There are also CBD capsules which you can take much like any other supplement or prescription drug given to you by your doctor. Alternatively, you can also take drops of CBD oil directly on your tongue.
Alternatively, you can consume CBD by eating edibles. These edibles come in the form of brownies, cake pops, gummies, and so much more. All of these products are already readily available online so if it really does treat Covid-19 well, it could be something that people can easily have delivered at home.
Beyond its support, popularity, and availability, however, there are other things to be thankful for CBD for. While research regarding its effects on Covid-19 patients is still barely minimal, a ton of studies have already been poured into the other potential benefits of CBD and these studies are the reason why the compound is experiencing such tremendous growth.
One of the most crucial studies which helped propel CBD into stardom is its ability to treat epileptic episodes in people. The results of the research were tremendous. Eventually, the US FDA approved Epidiolex – the first cannabis-based drug approved by the agency. Since its approval in 2018, the drug has been able to help countless patients worldwide.
Other than this, CBD is known to treat various pathological conditions such as depression and anxiety. Unlike cannabis, CBD isn’t capable of getting you high unless you intake copious amounts of it. Even then, the psychoactive effects will be very limited. Instead of making people high, it instead keeps people calm and relaxed.
The compound is also being used to treat chronic pain and muscle inflammation. Athletes are using CBD to help them perform better and train longer. Considering the fact that CBD is available in topical creams, makes the compound an ideal way to treat body pain for those that undergo rigorous training.
These are just some of the research-backed benefits that CBD has. Aside from its capacity to treat Covid-19, researchers are also looking into how the compound can help prevent cancer and various cardiovascular diseases. It really is a wonder for the medical industry the more we look at it.
The Next Step For CBD
Not surprisingly, there are still concerns behind CBD. Not just on its capacity to treat Covid-19, but also the entire industry in general. All these concerns are understandable, however. It’s a similar pattern as to how cannabis was seen and treated decades ago. It was treated solely like a drug for many years. After research has been poured into, it was slowly accepted in various communities.
Just in 2018, Canada became the first G7 country to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis nationwide. It was a huge step for the cannabis industry, as well as the CBD industry. Experts are seeing a similar type of approach with regards to the growth of CBD. Eventually, it will become more accepted than it is today.
What the CBD industry needs is more research from the experts and more support from the legislators. It will be exciting to see just how much the industry will grow in the next couple of years. For now, the focus should be on how it can treat Covid-19 patients as the positive results will definitely propel the industry to new heights.
CBD is not as popular as cannabis currently but a lot of support is already being given to the sector. As vaccines are still being readied for launch worldwide, it would be much better if researchers were to dive deeper into how CBD can treat Covid-19. We’re sure that a lot of people are looking for alternative methods which they can deem as being natural.