CBD and COVID: What We Know So Far

CBD and COVID: What We Know So Far | The Pain Clinic | Blog Articles

At the University of Chicago, a research team led by Marsha Rosner were testing compounds for a type of cancer treatment when they observed how CBD prompted cells to react to viruses.

This group of interdisciplinary researchers were studying what is called the ‘host stress response’ which is an immune response our bodies employ to fight viruses. They were screening compounds that could set off this response in our cells. When the cell senses the trigger, it goes into defensive mode and releases chemicals that prevent the invading virus from using the cell’s own system to replicate itself. They found that CBD was particularly good at setting off this protective response.

Lab Results Indicate CBD Could (Maybe) Treat COVID

These researchers were exploring options for cancer treatments when they stumbled on this observation. When they realised the implications of their results, they began redirecting their tests. In a lab, human lung cells were exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and then treated with CBD. It was found that when compared to cells that were not treated with doses of CBD, the former group was better at keeping the infection at bay. The same results were also found for kidney cells from monkeys (that are susceptible to the virus). While this has not been tested on the Delta and Omicron COVID variants yet, the results held true for the variants that had emerged at the time. According to Rosner, the study was able to show that CBD brings a stop to the replication of coronavirus cells at least up to fifteen hours post-infection. This suggests that CBD treatment may be useful during the early stages of being infected.

Testing the Effectiveness of CBD Against COVID in Live Organisms

Graduating from cells in a petri dish, researchers injected high-grade CBD into lab mice for a week and then exposed them to the coronavirus. This was followed by CBD treatment for a further four days.

A few days later, they assessed the viral load of COVID in the mice’s lungs as well as their nasal passages. The observations indicated that even with a low dose of CBD treatment, the corresponding viral load was 4.8 times lower in the mice’s lungs and 3.7 times lower in the nasal passages. This was in comparison to the mice that were not treated with CBD.

The group that received a higher dose of CBD had a viral load that was 40 times lower in the lungs and 4.8 times lower in the nasal passages. Ordinarily, mice in the laboratory that are infected lose weight and may even become ill. However, those that received CBD treatment seemed to find it easier to fight the virus off.

CBD Could Be One Form of Treatment, But Is Not a Complete Cure

Being able to use CBD to treat COVID would be useful for those without access to vaccinations and to treat newer variants. However, Rosner is careful to note its limitations. CBD used for this treatment is of a higher grade than is made available to the general public.

The regular cannabidiol that is available in the market today is unlikely to have the same effects. Rosner is also particular to note that these results do not alter the prescribed methods of COVID prevention such as wearing masks in crowded areas and getting vaccinated.

CBD and COVID Immunity

The medical records of 1212 patients from the National COVID Cohort collaborative showed that those who were prescribed an oral dose of CBD to treat seizure conditions reported lower rates of positive COVID infections. The comparison was made in relation to a group of patients with similar backgrounds and demographics but who were not being treated with CBD.


THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is that element of cannabis that produces its hallucinogenic properties. However, the CBD that was used in the lab tests mentioned above was devoid of THC and, in fact, it was noted that this compound could actually dilute the positive effects of CBD on COVID.

CBD should only be consumed or used under the advice of a certified physician as research into all its potential benefits has not yet been explored fully. CBD has not been well-tested in certain sections of society including pregnant women and the elderly. Besides understanding the effectiveness of CBD on patients, a human clinical trial can help get the dosing right.

Further Testing is Required, But CBD Could Help COVID Recovery

Researchers are optimistic about CBD being a preventive measure for COVID, as it has shown some evidence it may help your body fight off the virus. However, to really understand whether CBD could play an effective role in preventing or treating the COVID virus, Rosner stresses the need for a clinical trial. For now, researchers recommend being vaccinated as your best defence, but CBD treatments could be in the future.

If you want to chat about CBD for COVID or long COVID, contact us today. Due to some correlations between COVID and fibromyalgia, there can also be some benefits in CBD as part of a treatment plan for these chronic pain and exhaustion symptoms.

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