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CBD, a cannabis compound, inhibits coronavirus in a test tube, but can it treat COVID?

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  • Tip Bones

Researchers believe that preliminary evidence indicating that a popular non-psychoactive chemical derived from marijuana may help prevent or treat COVID-19 justifies additional examination in rigorous clinical studies.


Several recent cannabidiol, or CBD, laboratory investigations have yielded encouraging outcomes, gaining media interest.


However, many other prospective COVID medicines that showed promise in test tubes, ranging from hydroxychloroquine to various cancer and other illness treatments, eventually failed to demonstrate a benefit for COVID-19 patients when evaluated in human trials.


In laboratory research, Marsha Rosner of the University of Chicago led a team that discovered CBD appeared to help reduce SARS-CoV-2 in infected cells. "Our findings do not indicate that this will be effective in patients. Our findings support the need for a clinical trial "She stated.


Rosner and colleagues discovered that CBD did not prevent the coronavirus from infecting cells in test tubes when used in small dosages similar to what patients get in an oral medicine currently licenced for severe epilepsy.


Rather, it responded shortly after the virus entered the cells, preventing it from replicating itself in part through effects on the inflammatory protein interferon. According to an article in Science Advances, they discovered similar results in infected mice.


When the researchers looked at a group of adults with severe epilepsy, they discovered that those who used the approved CBD medicine had reduced rates of COVID-19. However, a retrospective examination of a small number of patients yields inconclusive results. Only randomized clinical studies can accomplish this, according to Rosner.


"I know my message isn't what many want to hear," she admitted.


Small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabigerol (CBG) did not keep the virus out of cells or prevent it from multiplying, according to her research.


"Not only did THC not work but mixing it with CBD inhibited CBD's effectiveness," Rosner explained.


AT THE CBD DISPENSARY, THERE ARE NO COVID CURES.


A related study published in the Journal of Natural Products found that high doses of CBG and CBDA prevent the coronavirus from infiltrating cells.


According to Richard van Breemen of Oregon State University, the amounts his team tested were not harmful to cells. According to his research, it is not yet apparent if similarly high doses would be safe for humans.


"You want the lowest effective amount possible," Rosner added, citing the possibility of side effects as the medicine is filtered by the liver.


The CBD her team analyzed was more than 98 per cent pure, whereas commercial goods have much lower purity. "People should not rush out to their favorite dispensary to buy CBD," she said.


CBD products have been readily available in a variety of forms and have been promoted as pain and other ailment therapies, frequently without the support of clinical investigations.


Small-scale CBD trials in humans with COVID-19 are now underway.


In one completed study, 105 individuals with mild or moderate COVID-19 were randomly randomized to receive CBD or a placebo for 14 days in addition to usual therapy. According to a paper published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in October, CBD showed no discernible effect.


Researchers at Sheba Medical Center in Israel are randomly allocating individuals with mild COVID to receive CBD or a placebo in a proof-of-concept trial.


An early-stage experiment, also in Israel, attempts to assess the effect of CBD in seriously or critically ill patients. Dr Moshe Yeshurun, the study's head, told Reuters that recruiting volunteers has been tough because the current Omicron-driven coronavirus wave "consists primarily of individuals with mild to moderate disease."


Rosner's team is looking into the idea of conducting a clinical trial that would likely focus on asymptomatic or mild COVID cases. Meanwhile, she is concerned that media reports exaggerating cannabis' potential would induce individuals to self-medicate with CBD, stop wearing masks, and avoid immunizations.


"We would love to be able to say exactly" that a certain quantity of cannabis is beneficial, she said, but "vaccine-induced antibodies and antibody medicines are considerably more successful at stopping infection at this stage."

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