3 Ways CBD May Help with COVID-19
As the world continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, scientists are working hard to understand the virus and how it can affect people differently. Recently, a few studies have shown cannabidiol (CBD) may offer benefits to some of the issues related to COVID-19.
CBD is extracted from hemp, the non-intoxicating form of cannabis. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties that are catching researchers’ eyes when it comes to potentially helping the body handle coronavirus defense and recovery. By interacting with several systems within the body, CBD may help reduce inflammation, something that can be caused by COVID-19, as well as help with other issues associated with COVID-19. Here’s what we know so far.
CBD and COVID-19: What We Know
Scientists are still digging into CBD and COVID-19, but a recent study from the Dental College of Georgia (DCG) and Medical College of Georgia (MCG) has narrowed down a few ways CBD may offer support.
1) CBD May Reduce Lung Inflammation Caused by COVID-19
You may have heard the term “cytokine storm” in reference to severe cases of COVID-19. Cytokines are pro-inflammatory molecules that signal to your immune system when it’s time to get to work. They’re helpful and necessary in moderation, but sometimes the body can overdo it and send out too many, creating a cytokine storm. This reaction can cause too much inflammation within the body and do serious damage. At this point, scientists don’t know what causes some people’s bodies to overdo it while others stay within the safety zone, but a cytokine storm can be a dangerous situation.
If a cytokine storm reaction to COVID-19 occurs, the inflammation that follows may potentially block air pathways, which can cause respiratory issues. Several drugs are being studied to see if they can help reduce this response to COVID-19, with a particular focus on reducing the IL-6 cytokine. Though some drugs have shown to be effective at reducing cytokine levels, they’ve come with harsh side effects like inflammation of the pancreas and hypertriglyceridemia.1
CBD, so far, has produced little to no negative side effects in recent studies, while also showing promise as a means to reduce several cytokines including IL-6, interleukin (IL)-2, IL-1α and β, interferon gamma, inducible protein-10, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α, and tumor necrosis factor-α. All of these cytokines have been associated with cytokine storms and, in some situations, serious cases of COVID-19.2
On top of that, one animal study found CBD may also reduce pulmonary fibrosis, which is when lung tissue thickens from damage and scarring, making it difficult to breathe. COVID-19 has left many patients with severe pulmonary fibrosis, so this is a promising discovery, though conclusive research still needs to be done.3
2) CBD May Help Boost Your Immune System
CBD interacts with several systems within the body, one being our endocannabinoid system (ECS). Our ECS, which maintains balance within the body, has two main receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB2, in particular, resides heavily in our immune system and is also the main ECS receptor CBD stimulates. Stimulating CB2 is one way CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory.4
Additionally, studies have shown CBD can promote apoptosis, or cellular death, which can eliminate pre-cancerous and virus-infected cells.5,6 Studies have also shown CBD can prevent cell proliferation, slowing the process of pre-cancerous and virus-infected cell growth.7 Plus, studies have found CBD to increase the production of interferons which activate immune cells and prevent viruses from replicating.8
While these studies aren’t totally conclusive and aren’t directly related to CBD and COVID-19, boosting your immune system can help better protect you against illness in general.
3) CBD May Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Feeling stress about COVID-19 is a natural and expected reaction, but unfortunately, stress can lower the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens, toxins, and other foreign substances.
Keeping stress to a minimum is important when it comes to keeping up your immunity, and CBD may help to do just that. In high concentrations, studies have shown that CBD can stimulate our serotonin receptors, in turn reducing feelings of anxiety and helping us to relax.
CBD can also inhibit the breakdown of some chemicals in the brain, including the naturally-occurring “bliss molecule” known as anandamide.4
CBD and COVID-19: Where to Start
Be sure to consult your doctor before getting started with CBD in any capacity. Your options to consume CBD are seemingly endless as new products pop up daily, but there are some consumption methods that might be better than others when it comes to CBD and COVID-19
Smoking and vaping CBD are common consumption methods that disperse CBD into your bloodstream almost immediately. However, inhaling anything into your lungs may not be the best idea when COVID-19 can manifest as a respiratory illness in some.
Instead, consider using a sublingual CBD oil. This consumption method also disperses CBD to your bloodstream almost immediately, but it spares your lungs and instead goes through capillaries under your tongue. Be careful to search out a CBD oil that comes with third-party lab results as counterfeit products are common.
An effective and easy option to avoid potentially harmful counterfeit CBD oil is to make your CBD oil at home. That might sound complicated, but it’s now a super simple process thanks to appliances like the LEVO II. With the LEVO II, you only need to buy CBD flower, which is usually cheaper than CBD oil. Simply activate and infuse it into the oil of your choice with the push of a button.
Plus, you can give your homemade CBD oil an extra immunity boost by including other herbs in your creation. The LEVO II can infuse any herb into any oil, so consider adding lavender or chamomile to your homemade CBD oil for extra relaxation, or something like elderberry which is an antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial and has shown promise in treating the flu.
CBD and COVID-19: Summary
Though scientists are still researching CBD and COVID-19, recent discoveries have narrowed down a few ways CBD may offer support.
- CBD may help lung inflammation in some by reducing the number of pro-inflammatory molecules, called cytokines, that are present. Lowering cytokine levels can reduce inflammation in air pathways.
- CBD may also reduce pulmonary fibrosis, which is when lung tissue thickens from damage and scarring, making it difficult to breathe. COVID-19 has left many patients with severe pulmonary fibrosis, so this is a promising discovery, though conclusive research still needs to be done.
- CBD can promote apoptosis, or cellular death, which can eliminate pre-cancerous and virus-infected cells. It can also slow the process of pre-cancerous and virus-infected cell growth. Plus, studies have found CBD to increase the production of interferons which activate immune cells and prevent viruses from replicating.
- Stress can lower the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens. CBD may reduce stress by stimulating serotonin receptors and increasing levels of the “bliss molecule” anandamide in the brain.
- Inhaling anything may not be the best idea when COVID-19 can manifest as a respiratory illness for some people, so consider opting for a sublingual CBD oil as opposed to smoking or vaping CBD.
- An easy way to save money and avoid potentially harmful counterfeit CBD oil is to make your CBD oil at home with the LEVO II. The LEVO II also gives you the option to infuse your CBD with other therapeutic herbs like lavender, chamomile, elderberry, or whatever herb you want.
While we don’t yet know everything about CBD and COVID-19, the research between the two is promising. As we continue to fight against this pandemic, it’s important to keep your immune system healthy, and herbal compounds like CBD may help. Combining CBD with the therapeutic compounds of other herbs in your LEVO II is a great way to start boosting your immune system today.