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14th August 2020

CBD: A treatment for lung inflammation in COVID-19?

Researchers at the Dental College of Georgia (DCG) and Medical College of Georgia report that cannabis-derived CBD could mitigate respiratory distress from COVID-19. 

The study by the DCG and Medical College of Georgia could prove vital in the search for treatment for lung inflammation in COVID-19. Importantly, CBD could be used to prevent the need for extreme interventions such as medical ventilators, and death from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

ARDS is a severe infection causing rapid widespread inflammation in the lungs. Symptoms experienced include rapid breathing and shortness of breath; often synonymous with COVID-19 symptoms. 
Overwhelming inflammation in the lungs, otherwise termed a ‘cytokine storm’, is present in COVID-19 patients. These storms also contribute to the symptoms of coughs, muscle pain and fever. 
In acute cases of ARDS in COVID-19, patients are often left dependent on medical ventilators and certain hospitals have a limited supply. However, CBD has proven the ability to replenish the oxygen levels in the body and hence could alleviate the increased pressure for medical ventilators. 
Dr Babak Baban, immunologist and interim associate dean for research at DCG, shares to Health Europa: “ARDS is a major killer in severe cases of some respiratory viral infections, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and we have an urgent need for better intervention and treatment strategies”.
Looking for a treatment, researchers turned to an unlikely place – the cannabis plant. Numerous studies have found anti-inflammatory properties in various cannabinoids within the cannabis plant. 
To read more about how CBD is anti-inflammatory, click here.

Researchers were able to conduct the findings on a model mimicking the lung complications associated with ARDS. Variables used to measure the efficiency of CBD in cytokine storms were temperature, pro-inflammatory cytokines and oxygen levels; comparing results before and after treatment. Findings indicated that CBD has the potential to be a solution for lung destruction in COVID-19. This was seen by a decrease in temperature and cytokine levels, and an increase in oxygen levels in the mice tested. 
The treatment is still in its infancy as researchers must execute trials to determine the ideal dosage and timing prior to using CBD as an official remedy for the novel coronavirus. 
The success of the research carried out by the DCG and Medical College of Georgia have opened the door for further investigation into the effect of COVID-19 in other organs such as the heart and brain Health Europa reports.