CBD has been growing as a “wonder remedy” of the 21st century, preceded by coconut oil, avocados, and chia seeds. It’s no wonder – many people have turned to it for help with anxiety, sleep issues, and overall health. Its latest promise: CBD could protect against getting infected by COVID. Here’s what we know about CBD and COVID-19.
What we know about CBD and COVID
This process of studying COVID and CBD has long been underway and researchers at OSU recently revealed in the Spring 2022 issue of Stater (the OSU Alumni magazine) that Oregon State University scientist Richard van Breemen and his team have discovered a pair of hemp compounds that can block coronavirus from entering human cells.
Van Breeman, OSU colleague Ruch Muchiri and five collaborators from Oregon Health & Human Sciences University published a study that found that hemp compounds show the ability to prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19.
What did they find that is game-changing for CBD and COVID-19?
It’s not at all uncommon for us to seek out answers to medical questions from plants. We’ve been doing it for approximately 60,000 years, and evidently, natural products are used in or the inspiration for many of the life saving drugs we use today:
“Natural products are the source of about half of all prescription drugs used today. Natural products are about two-thirds of all cancer drugs used today–or are the inspiration for them.” – Van Breeman, in this video
So it makes sense that we would be studying CBD in the aftermath of this pandemic.
The researchers at OSU found that hemp blocks a critical process in the way the virus infects cells. Specifically, a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, disrupting the way the virus typically behaves.
Another study, co-authored by researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago and the University of Chicago, found that pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol slowed, or inhibited, the virus’s ability to replicate early in the infection cycle. Even more exciting, in our opinion, is that they found that pretreating the cells with CBD for one week prior to infection suppressed the infection in both human and animal cells.
So how does CBD work with my immune system?
To answer this question we need to back up a step. Humans (and all mammals, actually) have an endocannabinoid system, or ECS, with cannabinoid receptors. This system is a cell-signaling system, with receptors in your brain, bones, muscle tissues, organs, immune system, skin, heart, and GI tract. The ECS is a link between your body and your brain, always working to achieve homeostasis – or balance and stability – in your body. You can think of the ECS receptors and the cannabinoids that interact with them like a system of locks and keys. The key (cannabinoid) goes into the lock (receptor), turns, and creates a chemical reaction. We previously thought that these receptors were only in the brain and nerve tissue, but scientists have now found them all over the body. When it comes to signaling molecules in the human body, endocannabinoids are widespread, versatile, and seriously cool.
This system is just beginning to be studied and there’s much we don’t understand yet. So far, we know that it plays a role in regulating a wide range of reactions and functions within the body, like mood, sleep, memory, appetite and reproduction. Your ECS is present and active, even if you never use cannabis, because we produce our own cannabinoids: anandamide and 2-AG. When some part of the body is out of balance, our ECS will increase the number of these internal cannabinoids and direct them to specific receptors to try to right the ship again.
In the case of your immune system, there is evidence that the ECS can actually increase some immune functions, but there is also evidence that it can suppress some immune function. While the ECS does work with our natural cannabinoids as well as outside sources of cannabinoids to regulate systems, reduce inflammation, and to achieve homeostasis, we don’t know enough yet to say how it is working with our immune system for sure. Scientists are constantly studying and working on publishing findings that are centered on cannabis and its effects on the body. There have been positive findings on CBD and the effect that CBD might have on supporting gut health, easing stress, and supporting healthy inflammatory responses.
The Future of CBD and COVID-19 is still uncertain… but hopeful.
While the scientific community urges us to remember that these studies in the case of CBD and COVID were used with pharmaceutical-grade CBD, in closely monitored lab facilities, and with very specific strains of CBD only, we are still excited about the potential health benefits that CBD could have. Rooted Hemp CBD is high quality, lab-tested, and organic, and we stand by our products and the way they are made. If you want to do your own testing, try our Clear Solution or the Full-Spectrum CBD Oil if you want to experience that entourage effect.