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Will CBD and Terpenes Be Seen in a COVID-19 Treatment?



COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on our daily lives, and most of us have plenty of legitimate concerns and worries. Today, we’ll help to relieve a bit of this tension by exploring some groundbreaking research on the prevention and treatment of coronavirus. We’ll discover how CBD and terpenes have become a significant player in the race for COVID-19 management options and exactly what CBD for coronavirus can do. 

Discover how CBD and terpenes have become a significant player in the race for COVID-19 management options.

Contents

1. The Race for COVID-19 Treatments
2. The Impacts of CBD for Coronavirus
3. What Can Terpenes Do?
4. COVID-19 and the Cytokine Storm
5. Scientific Research on CBD for COVID-19
    5.1 Some Caveats for Clarity
    5.2 The Role of Terpenes in the Treatment of COVID-19
6. Final Thoughts on CBD and Terpenes for COVID-19 Treatment

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1. The Race for COVID-19 Treatments

 

Unless you’ve just emerged from a coma, you know all about COVID-19 by now. The coronavirus has been an unprecedented and seismic event across the globe. Whether you know it as coronavirus, COVID-19, or SARS-CoV2, these terms are similar enough for us to use them synonymously. We won’t bore you by repeating what you know. Instead, we’re going to discuss some promising cannabinoid research into CBD and terpenes for COVID-19—investigations are going on right now. 

Citizens are doing their part by practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Simultaneously, researchers have been working tirelessly to create medical solutions, including vaccines, symptom management, and cures. While the compounds found in hemp are unlikely to be a cure by themselves, research has demonstrated that they may have symptom management benefits. 

Specific effects of CBD can be relevant for coronavirus.

RELATED: The Coronavirus Outbreak, CBD, and How to Boost the Immune System

We’ll dive into the details of this ongoing research so that you can understand it all fully and thoroughly. The science jargon will be replaced by easy-to-understand explanations to help you get caught up with these groundbreaking scientific pursuits. You won’t need to remember any lessons from high school biology, though, as we’ll use terms we all understand and explain the ones we don’t. 

You’ll learn about how the specific effects of CBD can be relevant for coronavirus, mainly the anti-inflammatory and anti-viral characteristics of this compound. We’ll discover how coronavirus can cause an immune system flare-up, which can have dire consequences. Finally, we’ll compare these two points and explore research into how CBD can impede this dangerous overreaction of the immune system in response to COVID-19.

The specific effects of CBD can be relevant for coronavirus.

RELATED: How to Strengthen Your Immune System for Holistic Health

2. The Impacts of CBD for Coronavirus

 

CBD is one of the primary cannabinoids produced by the hemp plant. Along with THC and terpenes, CBD is primarily found in hemp flowers. CBD oils and other infused CBD products are made by extracting CBD from these buds. By itself, CBD causes no psychoactive effects (no impairment or “feeling high”) and has a good safety profile. [1]

CBD has well-known anti-inflammatory effects, among numerous others. We’ll be focusing mainly on these inflammation-reducing impacts in this article. You’ll discover how these CBD effects relate to COVID-19 soon. A few examples of other effects include: [1]

  • Neuroprotective
  • Anti-seizure
  • Anti-psychotic
  • Analgesic (pain-reducing)
  • Antitumor properties 

The Effects of CBD for Coronavirus

RELATED: CBD Oil’s Most Important Benefits: 2020 Update

These physiological effects result from CBD acting on several receptors in the human body. For example, CBD has a moderating influence on CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD impacts various other ion channels, receptors, and enzymes throughout the body. Examples include: [2]

  • TRPV1 channel (nociceptors—involved in pain sensation)
  • Adenosine receptors (same receptors that produce the stimulating effects of caffeine)
  • 5-HT1A receptors (serotonin receptors—impacts anxiety, appetite, mood, nausea, and more)
  • glycine receptors (receptors that play a critical role in neurotransmission)

So, as you can see, CBD has widespread impacts throughout the human body. When it comes to COVID-19, the anti-inflammatory effects appear to be the key to this new study. (Click to tweet) 

As mentioned, hemp plants also produce a bunch of terpenes. We said this specifically because terpenes will become important once we get to the study itself. With that in mind, we ask: what can terpenes do?

CBD has widespread effects throughout the human body.

RELATED: The Spices That Activate the Endocannabinoid System and How to Use Them

3. What Can Terpenes Do?

 

The aromatic (smell-producing) compounds found in plants throughout the planet are called terpenes. The hemp plant creates over 150 different terpenes. This is one of the features of Cannabis sativa L. that makes it such a unique plant—along with the 100 different cannabinoids like CBD that have already been discussed. [3]

You might be wondering:

Terpenes produce the fragrance of hemp, but they are also thought to do more than that. The “entourage effect” suggests that terpenes combine with cannabinoids to have effects greater than they would on their own. While the entourage effect is speculation at this time, certain terpenes are known to be biologically active. [3]

Research into terpenes is investigating antitumor, pain-reducing, and other potential impacts. Furthermore, there is evidence that β-caryophyllene even acts upon the CB2 cannabinoid receptor. [3]

Research into terpenes is investigating antitumor, pain-reducing, and other potential impacts.

RELATED: Cannabis is Not the Only Plant with Cannabinoids!

At this point, all you need to know is that terpenes are bioactive and do have therapeutic impacts. The exact details require further investigation, of course. That said, we’ll see how terpenes come into play when we get to the groundbreaking COVID-19 study. Before we dive into that research, let’s quickly discuss the coronavirus and something called a cytokine storm.

4. COVID-19 and the Cytokine Storm

 

A cytokine storm is a scientific term used to describe the overproduction of certain immune cells in response to a virus or other condition. Cytokines are the pro-inflammatory immune cells we are talking about here. So you can see where the name comes from now. [4]

The problem with a cytokine storm is that it is an overreaction, which leads to something called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is known to occur in about 15% of COVID-19 cases and is heavily associated with mortality. The reason ARDS is so dangerous is that it produces widespread tissue damage, and ultimately, multi-organ failure and death. [4]

Researchers have found that by targeting these cytokines during COVID-19 treatment, the rates of ARDS may be decreased. The impacts of this would mean improved survival rates for those suffering from SARS-CoV2. [4]

Researchers discovered that CBD helped to reduce the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

5. Scientific Research on CBD for COVID-19

 

All right, so you’ve been plenty patient enough. It is time to get to this brand-new study we keep talking about. We should mention that this study is not yet peer-reviewed, so keep checking for updates on that front. This study comes out of Israel, which has a long history with cannabinoid research. 

Israel is one of the leading global sources for groundbreaking cannabinoid research. Currently, several Israeli laboratories are exploring the role of CBD and hemp-derived terpenes. 

Researchers discovered that CBD helped to reduce the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines. By reducing the cytokine storm, CBD was able to protect pulmonary tissues and restore proper inflammatory functioning. This ultimately led them to conclude that CBD could serve a protective role during cases of ARDS. [5] (Click to tweet)

As discussed, COVID-19 leads to a cytokine storm that leads to a collective of destructive effects known by the name ARDS. This leads to an obvious connection between CBD and COVID-19. There is the potential for CBD to reduce the harmful effects of ARDS and help bodies return to normal inflammatory functioning. This means CBD could become part of the treatment management regimen for COVID-19. (Click to tweet)

There is the potential for CBD to reduce the harmful effects of ARDS and help bodies return to normal inflammatory functioning.

RELATED: CBD—A Natural Fighter Against Inflammation

The evidence gets even better when we turn to one other study. Researchers discovered that high-CBD strains of Cannabis sativa L. might become a practical and safe adjunct therapy in the treatment of COVID-19. [6] 

This claim came from the results of their investigations under a Health Canada research license. Researchers investigated the ability of CBD to modulate ACE2 levels in lung tissues. These immune markers are critical due to their role in decreasing COVID-19 disease susceptibility. [6]

The second important role of CBD that was studied was the ability to down-regulate serine protease TMPRSS2. TMPRSS2 is a critical protein required for SARS-CoV2 entry into host cells. The results of this study suggest that there is a potential for using CBD as a preventative measure to avoid contracting COVID-19 and having the disease progress. [6]

Wouldn’t it be amazing if CBD were to be found to improve survivability in the face of COVID-19, cytokine storms, and ARDS?

This is amazing!

Wouldn’t it be incredible if CBD became viewed as a preventative measure in the fight against coronavirus? And even better, wouldn’t it be amazing if CBD were to be found to improve survivability in the face of COVID-19, cytokine storms, and ARDS? (Click to tweet)

Both of these findings present immense opportunities that will be a topic of many research papers to come. Before we get too excited, however, there are a few caveats to discuss. 

5.1 Some Caveats for Clarity

We should be clear. There is no reliable COVID-19 treatment yet today. That said, CBD may just become part of the conversation moving forward. We are by no means saying that there is evidence to suggest that CBD can prevent or cure COVID-19, so don’t forget your mask, social distancing, and hand-washing behaviors. 

RELATED: Why DIY CBD Hand Sanitizer is the Best for Your Hands

What’s the bottom line? 

That said, combining these two studies, there is an indication that CBD might just become a potential preventative measure and treatment option for SARS-CoV2. Much more research is needed, but these results are fascinating nonetheless. 

It gets better!

We talked about terpenes for a good reason, and you’re about to see why!

We talked about CBD and terpenes for a good reason.

RELATED: How to Choose CBD Oil Products That Are Just Right for You

5.2 The Role of Terpenes in the Treatment of COVID-19

Researchers discovered that a formulation of CBD plus terpenes was more effective than CBD alone for reducing inflammation. Furthermore, they found that both CBD alone and CBD plus terpenes produced enhanced reductions of cytokines compared to dexamethasone. [7]

But here’s the kicker:

Dexamethasone was recently investigated by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to it having anti-inflammatory effects. Researchers discovered that dexamethasone was helpful for those with COVID-19. Specifically, it reduced mortality by about one-third for those on a ventilator. Patients who were requiring only oxygen assistance had a mortality reduction of about one-fifth. [8]

Researchers found that both CBD alone and CBD plus terpenes produced enhanced reductions of cytokines compared to dexamethasone.

WATCH: SOL*CBD Liposomal 

Jumping back to this final study, researchers found that either CBD alone or CBD with terpenes produced even better anti-inflammatory effects than dexamethasone. If these findings translate to clinical trials, then a formulation of CBD and terpenes may just become an even better treatment option for COVID-19 patients

These findings certainly support the claim that terpenes serve a role beyond just flavoring, fragrances, and a placebo effect. If so, these findings would add a bunch of credibility to the entourage effect. 

Here’s the deal:

All of these findings appear to be in line with an earlier prediction from Dr. Hill. Back in June, this researcher suggested that: [9]

“CBD is a reasonable candidate to be studied in preclinical coronavirus models.”

As we can see from the preclinical studies explored above, Dr. Hill was correct to suggest that cannabinoids should be viewed as an essential opportunity for clinicians. [9] 

Dr. Hill was correct to suggest that cannabinoids should be viewed as an essential opportunity for clinicians.

6. Final Thoughts on CBD and Terpenes for COVID-19 Treatment

 

You deserve a pat on the back for making it to the end! We hope you have found this novel research into the use of CBD and terpenes for COVID-19 as interesting as we did. By now, you understand that coronavirus leads to an immune system overreaction called the cytokine storm. This hurricane is part of a deadly situation described as ARDS. You’ve also learned that CBD has been found to potentially reduce ARDS and help protect our lung tissues and return them to normal more quickly. 

And that’s not all! We discussed how CBD may become a preventative option for COVID-19 as well due to its anti-viral characteristics.

Finally, we learned that combining terpenes with CBD produced anti-inflammatory and cytokine-reducing effects better than dexamethasone or CBD alone. (Click to tweet

Taking all these studies and combining them together, you now understand why CBD and terpenes are considered a massive opportunity for clinicians in the fight against COVID-19. 

Combining terpenes with CBD produced anti-inflammatory and cytokine-reducing effects better than dexamethasone or CBD alone.

Sources: 

  1. https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf
  2. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-medication/cannabis/information-medical-practitioners/information-health-care-professionals-cannabis-cannabinoids.html
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168945219301190
  4. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.01446/full
  5. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/can.2020.0043
  6. https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0315/v1
  7. https://www.healtheuropa.eu/cannabis-terpene-formulation-treat-covid-19/99586/
  8. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/q-a-dexamethasone-and-covid-19?gclid=Cj0KCQjwpNr4BRDYARIsAADIx9wzBAfZekPQrMCUp1dszJpQuk_s017_z5GKU5juXGC0ZFsFm4QsWSMaAqsuEALw_wcB
  9. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/CAN.2020.0035

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