An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Chicago (USA) has found evidence that cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis product, can inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection in human cells and in mice.
In a study published on January 20, 2022 in the journal Science Advances (Source 1), the team found a significant negative association between CBD intake and Sars-CoV-2 infection. Clearly, people taking CBD (here in the form of a drug authorized in the United States, in the context of epilepsy) would be less likely to be infected and/or symptomatic.
“CBD has anti-inflammatory effects, so we thought it might stop the second phase of Covid-19 infection involving the immune system, the so-called ‘cytokine storm’. Surprisingly, it directly inhibited viral replication in lung cells”, commented Marsha Rosner, lead author of the study, in a press release (Source 2).
In the experiments conducted as part of this study, CBD did not affect the ability of Sars-CoV-2 to enter the cell. In contrast, it was effective in blocking replication early in the infection cycle and six hours after the virus had already infected the cell. In in vitro experiments with human lung cells, high concentrations of CBD have almost completely eradicated the expression of viral RNAs, thereby preventing virus replication. Complementary experiments showed that CBD had this same anti-replication effect in two other cell types, and for three variants of Sars-CoV-2 in addition to the original strain.
Far from advising everyone to rush on the internet or in a specialized store to buy CBD, the researchers point out that this molecule is not without risk, and that they have used here extremely controlled, purified and known composition.
On the other hand, they consider that clinical trials should be conducted in view of the early and preventive therapeutic potential of CBD in the fight against the current pandemic. It could thus prove to be very useful if you know that you have taken a risk (contact case) or that you have just tested positive, in order to prevent the appearance of symptoms. This is called prophylactic treatment.