With a staggering number of recorded COVID-19 cases in the U.S., it’s only natural that the hunt for a vaccine or cure is reaching new heights of need. The reigning consensus among medical professionals is there is no current medication recommended or cure available to treat coronavirus. However, as reported by both Forbes and CBS (among others) back in July, there are exciting studies abound on whether or not the cannabis plant could have a role in the vaccine.
Where they’re mainly looking? CBD.
CBD stands for “cannabidiol” and is one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The nonpsychoactive cannabinoid is used to help people drift off to sleep as well as fight anxiety and depression.*
Most recently, the FDA approved the drug Epidiolex, a CBD solution, for the treatment of epilepsy.
We can safely assume that as funding for research projects grows, expect to see more and more of cannabis-based treatments.
So, why cannabis and coronavirus?
As researchers scramble to understand more about this novel virus, we are continually seeing science working in real-time. New reports and research find their way into the media at record speed. One of the more recent reports connects the infection with something called a “cytokine superstorm.” Cytokines are proteins that are released by some cells of the immune system in response to infection.
That superstorm is what causes all the nastiness that comes from COVID-19.
While there are certain treatments and strategies available, researchers found that one of them caused adverse effects.
It’s thought that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have the potential to result in clearing the lungs without any of the adverse side effects from traditional therapies on the market today.
What can CBD do for you?
As we continue to rip off the mysterious shroud that has so long hidden cannabis health benefits from the mainstream, some understandable and prevailing uncertainty still lingers surrounding CBD.
While many benefits of CBD haven’t been evaluated and substantiated by the FDA, we’ve seen promising studies and are ecstatic about the ongoing potential of this alternative substance.
Several studies from the past decade have found, in varying degrees, the benefits CBD oils have on stress and anxiety. In one study, researchers found that CBD has the potential to reduce social anxiety associated with public speaking. In another, researchers found the oil had antidepressant effects in animals.
Researchers think this has something to do with the way CBD interacts with serotonin receptors — the so-called “happy chemical.” CBD makes those receptors feel groovy and voila! You’re feeling less stress, less heart-racing panic, and a general sense of ease.
Pain management and inflammation
Like with stress and anxiety, the studies connecting CBD with pain management are not conclusive but are nonetheless promising.
In studies concerning arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and other forms of chronic pain, CBD showed positive results with a reduction in inflammation and pain. Researchers think this is due to the way CBD interacts with receptors in the spine, blocking out the pain sensation.
Keeping in the theme of the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, preliminary research found encouraging results for the treatment of psoriasis. The study supported the use of CBD salve in significantly improving the skin of psoriasis patients.
Keratinocytes are epidermal cells. Cell proliferation isn’t regulated correctly in psoriasis cases, resulting in an excessive growth rate. CBD salves, it’s thought, inhibits that overhaul mechanism, making it an exciting alternative for psoriasis treatment.
The future of Cannabis and CBD
As people become more aware of the benefits of cannabis, we can only hope more research, studies, and information will be readily available for mainstream consumption and evaluation. More studies, more action, and more access will help bring this ancient plant the attention it deserves.
*Not a substitute for medical advice. If you feel you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is a free, 24-hour hotline, at 1.800.273.TALK, (8255).