COVID's Latest Enemy: CBD and Its Fight Against Lung Damage
Favored for its wide array of health benefits, cannabidiol seems to be growing in popularity as each day passes. CBD is one of over one hundred chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that the cannabis plant produces. While evidence suggests that CBD has been around for thousands of years, it seems as though people have just recently begun to take advantage of its many positive characteristics.
Today, it seems like everywhere you look, you hear about CBD products. When you search for ways to ease painful symptoms or look up natural supplements to aid with specific physical or mental health problems, you are bound to see something about CBD pop up. Most recently, CBD has been studied for lungs as a recommendation for COVID patients. Luckily for us, the amount of research and information we have gathered on this cannabinoid is expanding each day. (Click to tweet)
Let’s take a look at how CBD works in the body, especially with respect to COVID lung damage.
Table of Contents
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1. CBD’s Numerous Beneficial Properties
CBD’s popularity has grown because of the scientific research that has provided evidence of the compound having multiple medicinal uses and very few adverse side effects. It is now known to be an effective natural relief option for many ailments. While it is not considered to be a “cure” for certain problems, it can ease negative symptoms associated with certain health issues, such as:
- Reducing nausea and vomiting
- Suppressing seizure activity
- Combating psychosis disorders
- Combating inflammatory disorders and general inflammation
- Combating neurodegenerative disorders
- Combating anxiety and depression
Since CBD is notably recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties, many consumers have been using it for everything from arthritis and inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis or eczema to inflammatory bowel disease and inflammation of the lungs. (Click to tweet)
Cannabinoids also have immunomodulatory properties, which are what helps them regulate our immune systems. CBD can reduce inflammation symptoms by suppressing the inflammatory response and suppressing cytokines and chemokines in inflammatory sites all over the body. This goes hand in hand with its potential to reduce lung damage and mitigate negative symptoms caused by COVID-19. (Click to tweet)
This leads us to the question:
Can CBD oil be beneficial for lung health, and to what extent?
2. CBD for Lungs and Lung Inflammation
Let’s take a look at the association between CBD oil and lungs. Several cannabidiol studies indicate that it is a potent anti-inflammatory and can be extremely beneficial for our lung tissue.
A trial in 2014 revealed that CBD was able to improve lung function and reduce inflammation in mice. 
Earlier on, in 2009, one study focused on the direct relationship between CBD and inflammation, and its findings suggested that the cannabinoid had significant potential.
The scientists from the study in 2014 concluded that all of the present and previous data gathered about CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties pointed toward it becoming a useful tool for the attenuation and effective treatment of various inflammatory lung diseases in the future. 
Now that we know CBD can effectively help reduce inflammation of the lungs and the rest of the body, let’s identify what lung inflammation feels like and what some of the triggers are.
Usually, there are some warning signs to look for when it comes to lung inflammation. Most people will experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sharp, persistent, and sometimes unbearable chest pain
- Breathing difficulty that results in increased depth of breathing or a faster pace of breathing
- Fever and nausea, sometimes accompanied by chills
- Excessive coughing that may or may not include blood
- Loss of appetite
A variety of different problems can cause lung inflammation. Some of the major triggers include:
- Tuberculosis: one of the leading causes of lung infections and inflammation. Caused by the bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis, it is a contagious and sometimes fatal infection.
- Pneumonia: another major cause of lung infections and painful inflammation. It is due to streptococcus pneumoniae and causes difficulty breathing, nausea, and vomiting.
- Viral, bacterial, and fungal infections: these infections are also prevalent issues. Asthma, bronchitis, COPD, lung fibrosis, etc., all cause severe lung inflammation.
- Other: environmental factors such as dust and pollution, and of course, smoking tobacco can cause lung inflammation.
- COVID-19: coronavirus can result in complications such as pneumonia, and more severe cases can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Let’s move on to how COVID-19 affects our lungs when we contract the virus.
3. How Does COVID-19 Affect the Lungs?
COVID-19 is an entirely new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans, and it has caused an outbreak of respiratory illness across the globe. This virus heavily affects the respiratory tract and lungs and can cause a range of mild to severe breathing issues. Elderly people who have preexisting health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes tend to have more critical—sometimes life-threatening—symptoms.
Since COVID-19 is so new, scientists and researchers learn more about it every day, including what it can do to your lungs. What we do know is that coronavirus can infect the upper or lower or both parts of your respiratory tract. It travels down your airways and results in the lining of your lungs becoming inflamed and irritated.
In some instances, the infection can reach down to your alveoli, which are clusters of tiny air sacs located near the end of the bronchial tree that play an important role in delivering oxygen to capillaries.
As the infection travels through your respiratory tract, your immune system does its job by fighting back. Your airways and lungs begin to swell and become inflamed, and it can potentially spread from one part of your lung to other areas.
3.1 COVID Symptoms
Approximately 80% of people diagnosed with COVID will experience mild or moderate symptoms. You may experience a sore throat and dry cough, and in some cases, you may develop pneumonia. Other symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Aches and pains
- Loss of taste or smell
- Chest pain or pressure
- Discoloration of fingers or toes
- Shortness of breath
Lung damage from severe COVID cases is caused by an overly vigorous immune response to the virus. This is characterized by the creation of inflammatory products called cytokines.
Cytokines can be powerful tools when it comes to immune response. They can stop viruses from reproducing and fight infection. However, some other cytokine responses can cause a lot of damage if they are unable to be managed.
Hypercytokinemia, or a “cytokine storm,” is a reaction caused by the immune system that leads to an excessive and uncontrolled release of pro-inflammatory signaling cytokine molecules. This is exactly what is happening during the so-called cytokine storm related to COVID-19. 
Symptoms of hypercytokinemia include:
- Respiratory distress
- Rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of extremities
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
- Poor coordination
- Organ failure
Keep this in mind:
Earlier, we mentioned that CBD suppresses the inflammatory response, including cytokines and chemokines. Now that we grasp how COVID-19 affects the lungs and realize that cytokine storms are an aggressive immune response, that leads us to ask the question: Can CBD products help reduce lung damage from coronavirus?
Let’s look at the other potential cannabidiol has when managing symptoms of inflammation caused by coronavirus.
4. CBD and COVID Lung Damage
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are well-known, and a more recent discovery leads us to understand even more of this compound’s protective effects.
Research has uncovered that apelin, a peptide with anti-inflammatory qualities that occurs naturally, has a lot in common with ACE2, which is the gene COVID targets in your body. Both are found in the lungs, and both work to control blood pressure. They also work together to regulate the cardiovascular system and protect your body against heart failure, hypertension, and obesity.
COVID-19 attempts to break up the partnership by attaching itself to ACE2 and hijacking its cells. Instead of performing its duties of helping blood vessels in your lungs relax, it is being used by the virus to get into the host. 
A drop in ACE2 leads to less apelin, which means your lungs are practically unprotected. This indication led scientists to look at how cannabidiol helps interfere in the takeover of cells by COVID.
Here’s what’s important:
A recent study on mice shows that cannabidiol has the potential to protect lungs that have been infected with COVID-19. The reason behind this is that CBD can boost or restore the concentration of this vital peptide known as apelin.  (Click to tweet)
Apelin is produced in your lungs, brain, heart, fat tissue, and blood. It is released when your body triggers a response to serious changes in inflammation and blood pressure. When you are battling a lung infection, it works by maintaining proper function and increasing its levels around surrounding cells to prevent a cytokine storm from occurring.
This peptide helps regulate inflammation, immunity, and blood pressure and has been shown to become depleted in the lungs of people suffering from COVID-19. Normally, apelin concentrations would soar in response to an infection, but the opposite seems to occur when it comes to coronavirus cases. It appears that coronavirus somehow hinders the production of apelin in your lungs.
So, we know that CBD can restore apelin, the important peptide that protects your lungs from infection, and it also offers other anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it makes sense to believe there is the potential of CBD being able to help reduce damage and relieve symptoms related to COVID-19 and acute respiratory distress syndrome associated with it.  (Click to tweet)
ARDS, or acute respiratory distress syndrome, is a serious lung condition that causes low amounts of blood oxygen. As mentioned, this issue can be caused by coronavirus. The reason it decreases your blood oxygen levels is that fluid will build up in the alveoli. The fluid accumulation will prevent your lungs from filling with an adequate amount of oxygen, which means less oxygen is getting to your bloodstream. This deprives your organs of the required oxygen needed to function.
If you’re considering trying CBD, there are many positive reviews online from customers who have successfully:
- Reduced symptoms of inflammation
- Resolved digestive problems
- Soothed symptoms of anxiety
- Improved sleep
- Alleviated nausea
- Generally improved their overall sense of well-being
Click here to view some of our customers’ video testimonials discussing the ways CBD has helped alleviate various symptoms.
Cannabidiol may be able to be used as a candidate in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, including COVID-19 and other causes of ARDS. Of course, many more research studies will have to be conducted that test this theory on human subjects.
While we have to wait for more testing, the information we do have is promising. It gives us a good reason to hope and believe that CBD oil, whether in the form of tinctures or capsules, can be used to fight against COVID lung damage.
- Cannabidiol improves lung function and inflammation in mice submitted to LPS-induced acute lung injury - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Cannabinoids, Endocannabinoids, and Related Analogs in Inflammation (nih.gov)
- COVID-19: consider cytokine storm syndromes and immunosuppression - The LancetCOVID-19: consider cytokine storm syndromes and immunosuppression - The Lancet
- ACE2 and COVID-19 and the resulting ARDS | Postgraduate Medical Journal (bmj.com)
- Cannabidiol (CBD) modulation of apelin in acute respiratory distress syndrome - Salles - 2020 - Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine - Wiley Online Library
- Cannabidiol Modulates Cytokine Storm in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Induced by Simulated Viral Infection Using Synthetic RNA | Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research (liebertpub.com)