Cannabidiol for Viral Diseases: Hype or Hope?

By Patrick Banks

Posted 4 years agoHEALTH

Cannabidiol is a valuable plant extract that comes from cannabis sativa plants. CBD falls in the category of cannabinoids that come from these plants. It is among the 113 known cannabinoids and makes up about 40% of the extract from cannabis.

You have probably heard about the effects of marijuana that cause what’s referred to as a “high.” This is due to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another common cannabinoid. But unlike THC, CBD is not intoxicating.

According to the World Health Organization, the existing evidence shows that CBD isn’t addictive. And even though research on CBD’s medicinal value is in its early stages, the existing evidence hints that it can be useful in the treatment of various ailments.

When it comes to CBD and health, a lot of confusing information is floating around on the internet. While part of it is credible, you may come across a lot of farfetched information. And if you believe it without examining it, your health might be at risk. In this article, we are going to explain the relationship between CBD and viral infections extensively. The question we will be trying to answer is whether it can be used to treat viral infections, and if so, how effective is it?

Ways of consuming cannabidiol

There are several ways of getting CBD into the body. These include inhalation of the substance in the form of vapor or smoke. Users can also consume CBD orally in the form of oil that predominantly consists of CBD as the only active ingredient. Other types of CBD for oral consumption include capsules, liquid solutions, and dried cannabis.

CBD may also be consumed as a topical cream that is applied to the areas that need treatment.

Benefits of CBD

The benefits of using CBD are undeniable. While some people use it for recreational purposes, it is also used for medicinal purposes. Medical research institutes are investing more resources in studying CBD. Studies have shown that CBD is effective in treating diseases such as epilepsy in children.

Epileptic children who don’t respond well to anti-seizure medicine have responded well to CBD. Besides reducing seizures in children, it has completely stopped them in other cases. In the US, Epidiolex, which is a CBD-based drug, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2018 as a treatment for two types of epilepsy.

There are claims that CBD can be used to treat viral diseases, and this has brought about hope for the medical fraternity as well as patients. Research on whether CBD can treat viral diseases is still ongoing, but as scientists work to substantiate these claims, derivatives of CBD continue to treat a host of other conditions. These include spasticity emanating from multiple sclerosis, chronic pain among adults, and nausea caused by chemotherapy. CBD is mostly used in anti-inflammatory treatments.

CBD and viral infections

To understand the use of CBD for treating viral infections, let us start with looking at viral infections.

Overview of viral infections

Viral infections aren’t easily treatable. They are microscopic and tend to replicate faster in the right conditions. They need a living host to thrive. This could be humans, plants, or animals. They also don’t respond to antibiotics. When a virus gets into your body, it takes over your cells, forcing them to make similar viruses. Some of the diseases caused by a virus include chickenpox, flu, common colds, and AIDS. Viral infections can be life-threatening in people with a compromised immune system or mild in healthy individuals.

In viral infections, the medical application of CBD is somewhat a double-edged sword. D9 tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the major component in CBD, carries some anti-inflammatory properties. When it comes to acute viral infections, this compound may compromise the immune system, and this might make the viral infection worse. In some viral infections, the host’s response to the infection may be inflammatory.

While still looking at the use of CBD for viral infections, you need to know where to buy quality and uncontaminated CBD products. It is crucial you buy only from reliable and reputable vendors. According to Berkshire CBD advice, you can count on them for quality hemp flowers products that are grown and processed following the best standards.

Relationship between cannabinoids and viral infections

Our bodies have an endocannabinoid system, which is commonly referred to as the ECS. This system is designed to deal with inflammatory responses and pain processes. It also regulates the physiological processes in various organs. Scientists have associated this system by linking all organs. The ECS system is partly responsible for the body’s harmonious balance, which is biologically referred to as homeostasis.

The ECS has two important receptors: cannabinoid receptor 1 and cannabinoid receptor 2. These receptors react differently to cannabidiol. For example, when CBD gets into the body, it is indirectly attached to the receptors. On the other hand, THC is directly attached to both receptors. A study conducted in 2010 suggests that viral diseases and cannabinoids are somewhat related.

The receptors are likely to trigger responses from the cellular hosts. In simple terms, the host inflammatory system can easily be compromised by cannabinoids. Studies on cannabinoids related to the elimination of infectious agents are yet to be concluded.

Evidence of the effectiveness of CBD on viral infections

Numerous plant derivatives undoubtedly have some strong antiviral properties. Plant metabolites have evolved in different ways. Some now have antimicrobial compounds. These are the likes of terpenoid moieties. And although research on phytocannabinoids is limited, there is a lot of promising data on terpenoids. Nonetheless, CBD derivatives can trigger apoptosis in mammalian cells. Such effects play an integral role in combating viral infections in the host. For this reason, practitioners are warming up to the easily available CBD as an aid for treating viral infections.

If cannabinoids work, why are they not widely used in treating viral infections?

The used of cannabidiol to treat viral infections is not widespread. Researchers use mice and other animals to carry out various studies regarding these issues. Human testing is still limited, and this is one of the reasons as to why we don’t have an FDA-approved CBD drug for viral infections.

According to studies carried out on mice and monkeys, cannabinoids have demonstrated significant effectiveness against some types of viruses. The studies carried out are not only limited but the viruses are specific and small in number. These viruses include hepatitis C in mice, influenza viruses, and herpes simplex virus.

What we don’t know: CBD vs. Viruses

What we know is that CBD has shown notable potential in combating viral infection. But what’s not yet clear is its efficacy against the virus. A 2017 review suggested that the association between cannabinoids in healthy individuals and the reduction of distinct inflammatory cytokines can’t be denied. Again, more research is needed.

What we know: CBD vs. Viruses

When a virus invades our cells, the cells have to fight back. Inflammation is part of this fight and the body wages war on the virus to limit their spread, which is when inflammation sets in. Cannabis is endowed with anti-inflammatory properties which come in handy against fighting viral infections. Research has also strongly suggested that THC reduces the body’s immune response against viral infections such as the flu.

Verdict on CBD oil and viruses

The verdict on the effectiveness of cannabidiols and viruses aren’t clear cut, but CBD helps in the death of old cells, viruses, and invading cells. The use of CBD is also beneficial in the treatment of persistent infections that are primarily caused by cells that do not eliminate infected cells.

So, should you take CBD to treat viral infections?

Qualified medical practitioners should be the only ones to treat any kind of sickness. Self-diagnoses and self-medication are strongly discouraged. If you are diagnosed with any viral infection, strictly follow the directive given by the doctor. And when it comes to using CBD as a form of treatment, you need to consult a medical doctor. You can only use it if your physician gives you the green light. This can be attributed to the fact that the studies carried out on the efficacy of CBD on viral infections are insufficient. Fortunately, CBD inhibits the replication of viruses such as betacorona viruses and this is a motivation for researchers to do more.

CBD came to be widely known in 1940, but it has gained tremendous traction recently. In the world of wellness and health, it is becoming more accepted. The potential shown by CBD hints that in the future, a product derived from it will treat various viral infections successfully. But until we get there, CBD can only be used for supplementary and supportive treatment. And even so, a medical practitioner’s opinion is the only one that will count.

CBD and viral infection: Hype or hope?

After reading this piece, the most probable thing is that you now know that CBD is quite promising with regards to treating viral infections. Conclusive studies are insufficient, but the potential is undeniable. It effects on betacorona viruses deserve applause. Cannabis is an incredible plant. The more we learn about it, the more we appreciate it. It is also possible that its antiviral properties can be exploited safely. The data on this is quite encouraging and governments are showing the willingness to relax the restrictions on cannabis research. If science can keep pushing on the cannabis and viral infection issue, progress will be made. As of now, don’t substitute prescribed medication for cannabis in the name of treating a viral infection. You might be endangering your health.

About the author Patrick Banks

Patrick is a Berlin-based dating advisor, motivational speaker, a huge fitness and vegan diet enthusiast and the main editor at Wingman Magazine, specialised in men's health. His ultimate goal is to share with men around the world his passion for self-development and to help them to become the greatest version of themselves. He believes a healthy body and successful social interactions are two main keys to happiness.

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