WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Scientists are looking to prove if CBD, a chemical compound found in cannabis plants, may reduce inflammation in patients with severe COVID-19 infections.
- Researchers discovered that CBD reduced inflammation and even protected lung tissues in COVID-19 patients.
- There is still more research to be done, however.
CBD, a chemical compound found in cannabis plants, may potentially reduce inflammation in patients with severe COVID-19 infections, according to recent research.
Dr. Olga Kovalchuk, a cannabis researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, told Newsy, “People who are also in cannabis field are trying to find the right strains for COVID.”
The deadliest COVID-19 cases featured a cytokine storm, a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks itself.
Kovalchuk’s team believe that they have identified some cannabis strains, particularly those high in CBD, that may help treat the inflammation brought about by the cytokine storm of some coronavirus infections.
Not every high-CBD strain was effective, though, said Kovalchuk.
Another team of researchers, based in Georgia, discovered that CBD reduced inflammation and even protected lung tissues in COVID-19 patients.
All CBD-related research on COVID-19 have only been tested in models, animals, or replicated human tissue, however.
The scientists also clarified that their research still doesn’t justify a trip to the dispensary.
There is still more research to be done, including clinical trials in humans. Scientists are also looking to test treatments that combine CBD with antiviral treatments like remdesivir.
“Any antiviral therapy probably does like 90% of the job, 80% of the job, even 70% of the job. They’re not doing 100%,” explained Dr. Siddappa Byrareddy, a researcher and pharmacology and experimental neuroscience professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. This is why they are working on whether CBD can take care of the rest.
Cannabis research also needs more funding, says Bryareddy.
This week, the FDA released guidelines on how companies may seek approval of drugs that contain cannabis or its derivatives. The agency stated that the traditional drug review and approval process involving clinical trials must be followed. Specific rules on CBD are still being drafted.