For months, coronavirus has continued to ravish the world. What started out as a virus thought to be isolated to areas in China has now become a worldwide event that has impacted 188 countries and more than 14 million people. While the race to create a vaccine continues, there’s also a growing need for other treatment options that are more readily available.

The fact is that a vaccine is at least six months away, and having alternative options to minimize deaths and the impact of the virus for those infected is crucial. Existing prescription drugs, such as remdesivir, are currently being tested to see if they’re effective in treating COVID-19. 

Another option that has gained traction is the use of CBD. The cannabinoid is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Here’s what you need to know about CBD being a potential treatment option for those infected with coronavirus.

What is CBD?
Despite having been around for thousands of years, there’s still a lot of confusion and misconceptions surrounding CBD. CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring substance found in both the hemp and cannabis plants. Because CBD is found in the cannabis plant, many falsely assume that it is the same as marijuana. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

First, legal CBD products only contain CBD extracted from the hemp plant, which naturally has low levels of THC. THC, another cannabinoid, is not the same as CBD. THC has psychoactive effects while CBD does not. This means that CBD won’t make you feel high or altered.

Legal CBD products, such as Charlotte’s Web CBD, contain less than 0.3% THC, which is a trace amount. This low amount isn’t enough to make one feel “stoned.” CBD is available in a wide variety of forms, including:

Edibles (gummies, gum, candies, etc.)
Topical products
Vape pens

While therapeutic and medical uses of CBD are still being researched, studies have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties, which makes it a potential candidate for treating coronavirus, which causes severe inflammation in the lungs.

What Research Shows for Using CBD to Treat Coronavirus
Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia and Dental College of Georgia have early evidence that shows that CBD may be able to reduce excessive lung inflammation as well as reduce the cytokine storm that is killing so many patients infected with COVID-19. By using CBD in infected patients, those experiencing respiratory distress may be able to avoid being put on a ventilator. The cannabinoid may also help to reduce death from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Studies conducted by both colleges found that pure CBD is able to help the lungs recover from inflammation caused by cytokine storm. This restores healthier oxygen levels in the body, which reduces the risk of ARDS and other respiratory and cardiovascular issues.

These findings open the door for CBD to be a safe, inexpensive treatment option for those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. It could mean that one day, patients could be given CBD oil or a capsule in order to fight against respiratory inflammation and long-term lung damage.

The studies, which were conducted using mice, found promising results after undergoing CBD therapy. After being given CBD, the mice had:

Increased oxygen levels
Decreased temperatures
Decreased cytokine levels

CBD was even able to reverse the physical lung changes caused by ARDS. This research could change the way doctors treat COVID-19 patients. Scientists at both universities plan to conduct similar studies on other organs impacted by coronavirus, including the brain, heart, and gut.

How CBD Works in the Body
While many use CBD to minimize stress and anxiety, or as an alternative treatment for pain relief, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties go beyond daily use. In fact, its properties may truly be a huge scientific breakthrough, especially in today’s world. When CBD is introduced into the human body, it calms the immune response.

This is due to how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system according to CBDGrade. When ingested, CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are found throughout the body, including in the respiratory system and brain.

With that said, there’s still a lot to learn about the body’s natural endocannabinoid system and how CBD affects it. It’s thought that CBD is able to help with certain health issues, such as seizures, because of the large number of CB1 receptors in the brain.

Aside from better understanding the endocannabinoid system, there’s still much more research that needs to be conducted in order to better understand how CBD minimizes inflammation, especially in the lungs. Before CBD can be used as a treatment for coronavirus, human trials are needed in order to solidify the evidence.

Is CBD Used for Other Medical Purposes?
Depending on where you live, CBD is available without a prescription. People around the globe use CBD as a way to treat a wide variety of health issues, including stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and many others. Research would indicate that CBD could be used to treat any condition where pain or inflammation is a factor.
Currently, there is only one prescription drug that contains CBD as an active ingredient. Epidiolex is an FDA approved drug that offers an oral solution to treat seizures caused by two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. The drug is approved for patients two years of age and older. 

Epidiolex is the first prescription medication that contains a purified substance derived from marijuana. This drug is a huge breakthrough for the use of CBD in treating everyday conditions as well as rare diseases that currently have no treatment.

As COVID-19 research continues, there’s a growing need to find readily available treatments to minimize the number of deaths caused by the virus. The good news is that something as simple as CBD could be a promising treatment for those who are suffering from severe lung inflammation. When given CBD, patients may be able to avoid complications from ARDS, including lung damage.