As scientists race to find remedies for the devastating SARS-CoV-2 virus, also known as COVID-19, new research suggests that cannabidiol may help strengthen the immune system and mitigate the severe inflammatory effects of coronavirus within our respiratory tract.
Over the course of the past several months, researchers at Augusta University in Georgia conducted a study investigating the potential effects of CBD on acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS. ARDS occurs when fluid builds up in tiny air sacs, or the alveoli, in our lungs, and is the primary cause of death for most viral respiratory diseases, including but not limited to COVID-19. Common symptoms include severe shortness of breath, low blood pressure, fatigue, and a dry cough. As of August 2020, no cure for ARDS exists, which makes the treatment of ailing COVID-19 patients exceptionally challenging.
At the start of the study, rodents were treated with Poly(I:C), an immunostimulant that artificially simulates symptoms similar to those of ARDS. Shortly thereafter, the subjects experienced a “cytokine storm:” a life-threatening immune reaction in which the body releases an excessive level of cytokines, therefore leading to hyperinflammation. They also sustained significant damage to their lungs, which is also a common byproduct of COVID-19. In response to their increased respiratory distress, the mice began receiving CBD. As a result, researchers found that such symptoms “were totally or partially reversed and returned to the level and condition of normal after treatment with CBD.” Thanks to the cannabidiol, the mice experienced a reduction in proinflammatory cytokines, particularly that of IL-6. There was also an increase in lymphocyte levels, which are white blood cells critical for fighting off viral diseases. Additional findings highlight cannabidiol’s effectiveness at “reducing the cytokine storm, protecting pulmonary tissues, and re-establishing inflammatory homeostasis.”
While more research is needed to confirm CBD’s immunotherapeutic aid in the fight against COVID-19, it’s safe to say that the potential protective value of cannabidiol is undeniable. Hopefully, CBD will undergo further laboratory testing so that it may eventually be used as a source of natural relief against a variety of detrimental diseases.
Do you feel like CBD boosts your immune system, or have you ever taken it to fight off a cold? Comment below and let us know.