Did you know that the first documented use of cannabis as a natural therapy dates back to 2700 BC? Yes, even the people from those ancient times understood the benefits of using marijuana as a natural remedy. Cannabinoids, one of the substances in cannabis, come with a proven track record of soothing pains and reducing stress.
But can CBD help against a viral infection? Let’s take a closer look at the “CBD vs. Viruses” debate to find if marijuana can help us fight off the COVID-19 disease, for example.
What is CBD?
Before we dive deeper into the world of medical marijuana, we should first define the terminology we will use further down the line.
So what is CBD in the first place? Cannabinoids are a chemical compound derived from Cannabis Sativa. The Sativa breed is one of the most popular types of cannabis out there. Unlike its cousin, the THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not come with psychoactive properties. In simple terms, it will not get you “high” or euphoric. In most cases, CBD comes in the form of oil or edibles.
So, can these products fight off those nasty viruses that can be so dangerous to the human body? To find out, we will first have to see what viruses are.
What is a Virus?
According to the latest scientific studies, there are more than 100 million types of viruses on the planet. Thus, it can be tricky to define them with a universal statement. Even so, medical experts agree that a virus is an infectious agent that invades living cells because it needs a host. As a rule of thumb, viruses act as a genetic material that needs to enter an organic particle to replicate itself.
The term virus comes from Latin, and the literal translation would be poisonous liquids. Of course, our understanding of these molecules has expanded over the centuries. For instance, we now have plenty of information on Rotaviruses, Coronaviruses, DNA viruses, and so on.
Positive Health Effects of CBD
These days, people use medical marijuana to treat all sorts of health conditions. For that reason, the CBD market is growing at a rapid rate. To be precise, medical marijuana statistics show that retail sales could reach $7.3 billion by 2022.
In essence, pain relief is the primary reason why people use CBD. Also, stress relief is a significant factor. The therapeutic effects of plant-derived compounds can help soothe pains and aches, but they can also help with anxiety issues.
Likewise, medical marijuana can have positive effects on spasticity, glaucoma, and nausea. Cannabis is a potent appetite stimulant as well. On top of that, CBD offers impressive antimicrobial properties. Thus, you can use it to fight off fungal infections, such as Candida.
Nonetheless, CBD is not a “miracle cure” nor a “wonder drug.” With that said, let’s see how CBD acts against viruses.
CBD vs. Viruses
Once they enter your system, cannabinoids will flow through and try to bind with proteins in the GPCR network. Of course, this will promote a response from protein receptors. After that, the so-called cascade system will be triggered. The primary goal of this process is to restore cellular homeostasis, i.e., to bring back the balance in the cells.
The idea is to reduce the severity of the inflammation since CBD acts as an immune regulator.
When a virus enters the human body, a process called cellular apoptosis can result in dead cells and a damaged immune system. That is why anti-viral agents need to reduce the impact and assist the antibodies in fighting the infection.
CBD vs. SARS-COV-2
When it comes to influenza-like diseases, such as COVID-19, not enough studies have been conducted yet. In other words, there is no sufficient info to say that CBD could be a suitable anti-viral agent in this case.
After all, scientists have limited information on COVID-19 in the first place. The situation is not much better with other coronaviruses-related diseases, such as MERS or SARS. However, lots of experts in botanical medicine claim that CBD can buffer the immune system. As a result, the patients would have better odds of surviving the infection.
CBD vs. HIV
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is also one of the viruses that entered the spotlight in the recent decades. So, can CBD fight off HIV?
Technically, cannabis-based products do not have anti-viral properties. Thus, CBD oils or edibles will not kill HIV. Nevertheless, plenty of patients with AIDS report beneficial side-effects of CBD. In most cases, they use CBD supplements to treat nausea and fatigue.
CBD vs. Other Viruses and Diseases
When it comes to other prominent viruses, such as Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), the situation is similar to the one we described above. There is no evidence that CBD has a direct impact on the inflammation. Then again, a multitude of patients, as well as medical experts, claim that cannabis helps alleviate pains and aches.
For instance, certain studies show positive effects of CBD when it comes to multiple sclerosis and similar inflammations of the central nervous system.
Last but not least, we should also mention the fact that CBD seems to help with the treatment of canine coronavirus. Of course, much more research is necessary before we can have reliable results and certified products.
What Can We Expect in the Future?
Viruses are a constant threat, and they can quickly turn into pandemics. As is the case with the SARS-COV-2, the situation can go from bad to worse in a matter of days. So, any drug that can help fight these infections would be more than welcome.
With that said, it is necessary to understand that cannabinoids do not have anti-viral properties. Or, we simply did not manage to dig deep enough and extract the desired molecules.
In the upcoming period, we can expect an increase in CBD-related research. After all, it is clear that cannabis can leave a wide range of beneficial effects on human health. Plant-derived compounds are cost-effective, as well. Therefore, medical marijuana could soon make a switch from being a gateway drug to a wonder drug.