Despite being discovered in the mid-1960's, clinical and scientific research on the multi-uses and efficacy of CBD did not begin until the mid-1980's.
Fast forward to today: CBD is the most pharmacologically studied cannabinoid, and it also contains the highest range of potential psychological and physiological therapies in the cannabinoid family.
Many of these new therapies have only recently been introduced. There is so much possibility for the use and application of CBD that is yet to be discovered.
With the persistent growth and evolution of the COVID-19 virus, the need for cumulative prevention research is at an all-time high. Studies that can help identify new ways of preventing and treating the virus are absolutely vital if we are to ever conquer it and have some return to normalcy.
When the hard work of scientists, doctors and researchers results in effective progress, we all have a reason to celebrate. When that research further indicates that naturopathic solutions to preventing and treating COVID-19, we all win!
While we have yet to receive any conclusive solutions (other than wearing a mask and getting vaccinated), recently, there has been extensive research (and tremendous progress) analyzing CBD's prevention of and efficacy against the COVID-19 virus.
On January 20th, 2022, Science Advances, a peer-review journal comprised of 33 researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Louisville, published a paper whose findings suggest over 1200 oral CBD patients based in the United States who are currently taking prescribed CBD at 100 milligrams per milliliter have had significantly lower positive COVID-19 test results than other individuals (who share similar medical histories) not currently taking prescribed oral CBD.
This new research also shows that "Cannabidiol", also known as CBD, has effectively blocked SARS-CoV-2 replication in human tests. According to the survey results, a controlled group of real patients experienced "significant" decreases in COVID infections while taking CBD.
The patients involved in the study were prescribed CBD to treat their previously-diagnosed epilepsy and seizures. Of those patients, only 6.2% who were taking oral CBD had positive COVID results compared to 8.9% of the patients who also tested positive, but were not taking CBD.
How? "CBD acts after viral entry to block viral replication as demonstrated by loss of the viral spike protein and loss of viral RNA. Additionally, CBD could be acting by blocking viral entry to host cells or at later steps following infection", the research study states.
But wait...It gets better!
Additionally, a smaller, but significant group who were taking oral CBD on the same day as their COVID-19 test had further promising results: "Analysis of a cohort of patients taking FDA-approved CBD showed up to a 10-fold decreased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to a matched set of control patients", the Rosner Lab says.
In addition to conducting surveys and analysis with real-life patients, thorough, scientific lab tests were also conducted. One of the lead researchers and authors of the case study is professor Dr. Marsha Rosner of the University of Chicago. Her team at the Ben May Department for Cancer Research initiated this critical research back in 2021, and have since been able to conduct tests using human lung tissue.
The scientists infected the tissue with SARS-CoV-2 after treating it with CBD for two hours. Patients were then closely observed for the following two days to determine if the COVID spike protein would eventually develop. Their findings suggest that "high purity CBD inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in human lung epithelial cells."
The same tests were further conducted on three additional strains of COVID-19 and had the exact same results. In a recent interview, Dr. Rosner told VICE magazine, "As a bottom line, what this says is that CBD has the potential to prevent infections, such as breakthrough infections, which might be one of the most useful applications."
Another goal of the study was to discover the ways in which Cannabidiol could potentially prevent infection. "Our results suggest that CBD and its metabolite 7-OH-CBD can block SARS-CoV-2 infection at early and even later stages of infection", Nguyen states. Through both the survey and the laboratory analysis, the scientists determined that CBD was not only effective at preventing the COVID-19 virus a couple hours after exposure, but also continued to be mildly effective as long as 15 hours after being infected with COVID-19. The research further concluded that CBD was not harmful or damaging to cells. Overall, this recent study provides a solid case for the prevention and transmission reduction of the COVID-19 virus.
This follows another recent exciting and promising study from the Oregon Health and Sciences Division at Oregon State University. Their lab analysis suggests that when the particular acidic compounds found in cannabis can disrupt and diminish SARS-CoV-2 in the body when converted into CBD: "Orally bioavailable and with a long history of safe human use, these cannabinoids, isolated or in hemp extracts, have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2."
Both research teams also note that given the wide and rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, and the limited (but increasing) amount of vaccines available and accessible to the general population, naturopathic treatments are not only needed, but greatly desired. Determining the efficacy and potency of Cannabinoids in relation to treating and preventing the virus is more important than ever.
Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants
Richard B. van Breemen, Ruth N. Muchiri, Timothy A. Bates, Jules B. Weinstein, Hans C. Leier, Scotland Farley, and Fikadu G. Tafesse, Journal of Natural Products Article ASAP DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00946
As the Journal of Natural Products (which published the research study conducted by Oregon State) states, "Natural products are the most successful source of drugs and drug leads in the history of pharmacology. Although combinatorial chemistry currently receives more emphasis for lead discovery by the pharmaceutical industry, nature continues to be a source of unique chemical structural diversity for new drug discovery."
And yet another recent study out of Ontario, Canada has also made relevant and important discovery in the efficacy of naturopathic treatments - such as CBD - and the virility of COVID-19. They found that there is an "antiviral response to SARS-CoV-2 genes in the presence of CBD", and "results indicate that CBD may prime components of the innate immune system, increasing readiness to respond to viral infection without activating apoptosis, and therefore could be studied for potential in prophylaxis." Which essentially means that CBD could potentially results in the death of COVID-19 infected cells, potentially preventing the virus.
It is important to note that none of the studies suggest or recommend ingesting CBD (in any form) as an alternative to wearing a mask or getting a vaccine. While all of these studies are promising, and rapidly evolving, it should be made clear that none of the scientists and researchers conclude that CBD is a conclusive substitute for vaccination or for wearing masks to prevent the spread of the virus at this time. More studies will be needed, and scientifically- sound clinical trials would also be required in order to claim significant efficacy against the COVID-19 virus. However, this is exciting progress for CBD and naturopathic treatments overall.
It is also important to note that these scientists and researchers in these studies do not recommend going to your local dispensary to purchase CBD en masse or in response to the results. Dr. Rosner and her team explicitly state, "This study highlights CBD as a potential preventative agent for early-stage SARS-CoV-2 infect ion and merits future clinical trials. We caution against use of non-medical formulations including edibles, inhalants or topicals as a preventative or treatment therapy at the present time."
So while advancements are being made, and new research suggests that progress and discovery are well underway, it is important to continue to increase research, to continue to conduct testing and analysis in human clinical trials and further evaluate strength, strains and doses before any definitive recommendations can be made.
Undoubtedly, this research supports and further legitimizes what is already known and accepted among those who use and are highly knowledgeable of the efficacy of CBD, and other naturopathic remedies can have on the human body. These critical studies can now be added to the ongoing depth and breadth of vital naturopathic research identifying the seemingly endless benefits nature can have on the body, mind and spirit.
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