If there’s one thing that’s been on everyone’s mind for most of 2020, it’s COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that originated in China and has spread exponentially throughout the world. For many of us, our lives remain on hold as leading scientists worldwide rush to develop a treatment that can counteract the severe and potentially deadly symptoms that this disease can cause. As many of us remain at home, practicing social distancing to slow down the spread of the virus, researchers are hard at work testing various potential treatments, hoping that they can finally find one that can make this virus far less threatening than it is at the present moment.
Right now, a study is underway in Canada that shows that CBD, the leading compound in the hemp plant, has the potential to be used as a treatment. Of course, testing is not complete, and for a disease so serious, one must be careful before assuming that anything can be used as an effective treatment. But, at the same time, knowing what we do about CBD’s properties, it’s not surprising that researchers are exploring it as a possible option for COVID-19 patients.
The Rush to Find an Effective Treatment for COVID-19
Currently, leading virologists, pharmaceutical companies and scientists are leading a unified effort that’s unprecedented. They’re working hard to find a treatment as well as a vaccine for COVID-19. This disease caught us off guard, affecting millions of people around the world within a period of just a couple of months. Hundreds of thousands of people have died since the disease first began spreading earlier this year, making it clear that we can’t return to our normal ways of life until an effective treatment becomes available.
Why are Many Traditional Approaches Not Working Effectively?
We’ve had respiratory diseases throughout history, with some being just as deadly as COVID-19. So, why can’t this disease be treated with methods that have proven to be effective for other diseases in the past? Well, there are a few factors that make things complicated. One is that the disease is still very new, and so scientists are still scrambling to understand how this virus operates compared to others that we’ve seen in the past. The other problem is that the symptoms that this disease causes are not confined to the respiratory tract, as it’s clear that it causes pulmonary symptoms as well as symptoms that affect the circulatory system.
Every virus behaves differently, which means that each one requires a specific form of treatment. Effective treatments combat infections by taking advantage of their weaknesses. And, we’re still trying to determine what the weaknesses of the novel coronavirus are.
CBD: What Makes This Hemp Compound So Unique
So, what is it about CBD that has led Canadian researchers to test it as a potential treatment for COVID-19? Well, CBD behaves very differently from other compounds that are derived from plants for therapeutic purposes. CBD is a cannabinoid, of which there are over a hundred that are native to cannabis. CBD also happens to be the leading compound in the hemp plant, meaning that it’s the most prominent one in the chemical composition of the plant material.
Cannabinoids are unique in that they directly support the endocannabinoid system that exists in all mammals. The endocannabinoid system is a relatively new discovery, having only been found in the 1990s, but since then, we’ve learned a lot about it. What it does is send cannabinoids to cannabinoid receptors everywhere throughout the body, which are each adjacent to mechanisms that control bodily processes like immunity, mood, pain and more. Therefore, when these cannabinoid receptors receive cannabinoids, they can regulate these bodily processes to promote improved well-being.
Now, let’s get into the specific ways in which CBD may help regulate the body via the endocannabinoid system. We’ve seen various studies that show that CBD can help the endocannabinoid system regulate the function of the immune system to make it more efficient and stronger. The immune system has cannabinoid receptors that help balance the immune response, ensuring that it sends cytokines where they are needed. We know that with COVID-19, a cytokine storm takes place due to an inappropriate immune response that results from trying to keep the infection under control.
We also know that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation is the cause of many of the symptoms that occur when a virus has infected the body. This means that CBD may help reduce the symptoms such as swollen airways and aching muscles. Further, CBD is known for its calming properties, and it’s important to point out that researchers have found that stress can weaken the immune system. CBD works with the body’s production of cortisol to ensure that levels of this hormone stay regulated within the system.
Can CBD Be Potentially Used as a COVID-19 Treatment?
So, what do researchers say? Well, one fascinating finding is that CBD may block the proteins that enable COVID-19 to enter the cells of the body. These proteins act as viral receptors, allowing the virus to quickly multiply once it infects its host. The researchers also believe that the uniquely high level of anti-inflammatory activity inherent to CBD may play a big role in not just reducing the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, but also preventing the virus from taking serious hold of its host.
It’s important to point out that CBD hasn’t yet been tested on actual COVID-19 patients. However, the team of researchers is currently seeking out funding so that they can take their testing to the next level in order to verify their findings.
Taking CBD Properly: What to Know
If you are concerned about being affected by COVID-19, you are likely interested in trying a CBD routine as a preventative measure. We cannot say that CBD will prevent the disease, nor can we say that it works as a treatment, as the studies have not yet confirmed this. What we can say is that many people take CBD daily for various reasons and have been pleased with the results.
The key to having success with CBD is choosing the right product and taking it properly. Lots of CBD products exist on the market and finding the right one can be a challenge. First, make sure that the CBD you purchase is high in quality, and comes from a trusted brand. Look for lab reports on a company’s website that indicate purity and potency.
Next, you want to choose a product that has a milligram strength that reflects your body’s needs. The higher the milligram strength, the more potent each dose will be. If you already have some sort of severe circumstance, a higher strength is probably the way to go.
Taking hemp daily provides the best results. This is because the endocannabinoid system works more efficiently when it receives a steady supply of cannabinoids each day. Think of it as supporting this bodily system. The more cannabinoids it gets, the more cannabinoids it can use. What it doesn’t use upon administration is simply stored in the body for later use, which is why CBD is not considered toxic. This means that you can take a fairly high milligram strength each day without worry.
What Could This All Mean in the Near Future?
COVID-19 has sent the world into a state of panic, as many commonly used treatments have shown themselves to be ineffective. But CBD is offering a glimmer of hope, as researchers are now testing it using proven methods, finding that its properties may be quite useful during this pandemic. It will be a while before there is a definitive answer regarding its effectiveness, but in the meantime, CBD users can continue using it daily, knowing that at the very least, it can’t hurt.