Potential CBD Benefits shown in studies to combat the symptoms of viral infections.
With constant media coverage of cases of coronavirus in the United States (WHO has confirmed 106 US cases as of March 4, 2020), our fears about the new coronavirus are spreading faster than the virus. A deeper understanding of the potential benefits of CBD to assist the body in coping with viruses like this offers some reassurance. Current in-depth research results reported in Pubmed.gov explain some of the basic functions of CBD that relate to the symptoms of common viruses. The majority of this research is lab-based in vitro testing but there are also in vivo animal and human study results available. This includes research on the common reasons people take CBD like reduction of pain, anxiety, nausea, and insomnia. These benefits all have potential to assist with symptoms of flu in general and the extra anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus with extensive media coverage.
More detailed research explains how CBD’s anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and homeostasis or balancing properties function throughout the body and more specifically upon the immune system’s reaction to viruses.
Understanding how a virus works in attacking our body is important. There are four main steps to a viral attack cycle: the virus entering our body, binding to and entering the cells, replication of the virus in the cells using our cell material, and releasing the replicated viruses into the body to begin the cycle over. We can all follow common sense measures such as washing our hands and limiting physical contact with others to lower our chances of the virus entering our body in step one. Our immune system mechanisms can potentially stop the virus by interfering with any step in the cycle. A major concern with the immune response to COVID 19 and similar viruses is damage from the overreaction of the immune system to the virus rather than the virus itself.
Complex Immune Systems
Our immune systems are very complex with innate responses and adaptive responses learned from our previous personal experiences with other viruses. Adaptive responses to the virus result in people responding differently to the COVID-19 virus. Everyone’s immune system processes are under the control of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a subset of receptors responsive to endocannabinoids produced by the body and phytocannabinoids, like CBDA, found in high concentrations in the hemp plant. The ECS focuses on homeostasis or balance of several key body systems including the endocrine system and hormones, the nervous system and neurotransmitters, and the immune system and T cells, cytokines, and macrophages. Cannabinoids like CBD are thus central to the body’s response to viruses not unlike COVID-19. This homeostasis provided by the ECS to the immune system is critical in viral immune response to keep it balanced and prevent over-reactions that can create so much collateral damage to the body.
CBD’s Balancing Effects
CBD’s unique balancing effects on the immune system response adjust to the current state of the body and individual cells, both calming over-reactions and increasing under-reactions. This bi-directional interaction is unique to CBD, with substances like pharmaceutical antivirals pushing in one direction of elevating immune responses that can be problematic. There is also research that THC pushes the ECS receptors in one direction towards immunosuppression, which is not helpful for viral infections. This push toward immune suppression is a reason that some recommend THC be limited during viral infections. Readers are referred to a review of studies listing CBD’s immune suppressing in states of inflammation or immune overreaction and immune boosting in states of infection can be found at the link below.
For example, studies on viral lung infections in mice showed CBD helped calm an immune overreaction including decreasing the inflammatory cytokines and other immune agents. A related study showed the addition of CBD had a selective effect on the immune system that increased the death of cells infected with a virus, but not the healthy cells, again limiting the damage from immune overreaction.
CBD also plays a unique role in combating these viruses as it can activate IL-2 cytokines in the absence of the T cells. The level of T cells in the lungs is critical in fighting a coronavirus like COVID-19. Like the coronavirus, SARS and HIV, the COVID-19 virus can create a significant drop in the virus-specific T cells during the acute phase. T cells are the immune system generals that secrete other immune fighters such as interferon and IL-2 cytokines that are responsible for identifying invading viruses and differentiating them from our own cells. CBD activation IL-2 cytokines in the absence of the T cells is potentially another powerful weapon against COVID-19.
While many people currently choose to use CBD products in general and our unique 101 CBD whole plant CBDA specifically for the reduction of pain, anxiety, nausea, and insomnia that may relate to viral flu infections, this blog focuses on the unique properties of CBD related to the inner workings of our immune system. CBD’s interaction with the Endocannabinoid System that controls the immune system allows it to provide critical balance in the immune system response to viral infections. This balance adjusts the state of the immune system, suppressing damaging over-reactions and increasing unproductive under reactions.
CBDA Benefits Surpass CBD’s
While the increased usefulness and power of unheated CBDA over CBD has been documented by cannabinoid research giants such as Raphael Mechoulam, research specifically on CBDA’s effects on viral infections is not yet available. But CBDA’s ability to interact with many receptors such as serotonin, dopamine, and COX-2 suggest it may have even more widespread and complex benefits for responding to viral infections.
At 101 CBD, we recommend our holistically created Boost-X sublingual oil with whole plant, true full spectrum CBD with a level of over 70% CBDA. The whole plant spectrum includes the wide range of cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, plus the terpenes, Omega 3’s and 6’s, and other plant compounds to provide a robust entourage or synergistic effect. For a holistic and superior approach to hand sanitizing, click here for our CBD Hand Sanitizer – Raw Relief CBD Roll-on – for only $7. For further questions or advice, set up a staff consultation at the stores in your local area or check our CBD products online. Use Promo Code IMMUNE for 25% off our Boost-X sublingual to help through this stressful time. Watch this space for ongoing updates the coronavirus (COVID-19) and best practices to stay healthy this heightened Cold season.