With new daily coronavirus infections continuing to break records in the U.S., researchers are considering whether the cannabis plant has the potential to be used in the treatment of COVID-19.
Experts from the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute are recommending that scientists study the anti-inflammatory properties in CBD (cannabidiol) as a potential treatment for lung inflammation caused by the coronavirus.
There is no scientific evidence that cannabis or its compounds can help with COVID-19 specifically, but in a peer-reviewed article in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, the authors said further research is needed to understand if CBD can help patients infected by the virus.
Researchers then turned to cannabis, specifically CBD, which is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in the cannabis plants and accounts for up to 40% of the plant's extract. The authors said that several cannabinoids in the cannabis plant have anti-inflammatory properties. They said CBD "has shown beneficial anti-inflammatory effects in pre-clinical models of various chronic inflammatory diseases" and noted that the FDA approved one CBD product to treat certain forms of epilepsy.
CBD has minimal side effects, and is seriously being looked at for its so that's being looked at as a much more mild treatment for it’s significant anti-inflammatory benefits.
The authors of the study said that CBD can help reduce anxiety in patients and increase the production of interferons, a protein that helps the body fight infections.
However, given the early stages of this research, it is not recommended that patients use cannabis as a treatment for COVID-19 until more definitive results have been published.