CBD And Coronavirus: Could CBD Prevent COVID-19 Infections?

There may be a correlation between CBD and preventing COVID-19 infections – pending further research.

The coronavirus pandemic has been one of the deadliest in history, causing more than five million people worldwide to lose their lives as of November 2021, according to the World Health Organisation.

Encouragingly, more than 7.3 billion vaccine doses have also been administered in just under 12 months, with 52% of the world’s population receiving at least one dose so far.

However no one treatment is fully effective, so there’ll always be a need to take wide-ranging preventative measures to reduce the risk of infection while the pandemic is ongoing.

Several medical research studies since the pandemic began have explored whether cannabinoids – of which there are at least 113 in the Cannabis sativa plant – could treat COVID-19.

One of the most interesting is a recent study by Nguyen LC, Yang D, Nicolaescu V, et al. focused on CBD, also known as cannabidiol.

Entitled Cannabidiol Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Replication and Promotes the Host Innate Immune Response, it’s a 2021 preprint aiming to answer an intriguing question…

Could CBD prevent COVID-19 infections?

In this article we’ve provided a summary of the results and what this means for CBD and coronavirus in the future.

What happened in the study?

The research took place at the University of Chicago Medical Center and involved 93,000 patients.

They were first tested for COVID-19, with 10% testing positive.

Approximately 400 of the 93,000 patients had some form of cannabinoid in their medical record. This could include CBD, another cannabinoid, or a combination of cannabinoids.

Only 5.7% of these 400 or so patients tested positive for COVID-19, compared to 10% of the overall 93,000 sample.

Interestingly, only 1.2% tested positive of the 85 patients taking CBD specifically, but no other cannabinoid – compared to 7.1% of the 113 patients taking other cannabinoids.

However, to check whether factors such as age, sex, race and so on could have contributed towards the results, the researchers went one step further.

The study involved matching 82 patients who had been prescribed medically approved CBD called Epidiolex before COVID-19 testing, to patients who showed no history of taking any cannabinoids but had similar characteristics such as age, gender and records of other medications in the two years before COVID-19 testing.

Epidiolex contains no THC, the cannabis chemical which causes highs. It was approved to treat rare forms of epilepsy by the US Food and Drug Administration, as well as by the UK government, in 2018.

Again, only 1.2% of the 82 patients taking CBD tested positive for COVID-19 (the same as in the previous phase), compared to 12.2% amongst the other non-CBD taking 82 patients.

Could CBD prevent COVID-19 infections?

These results suggest there is a correlation between using CBD and a decreased risk of COVID-19 positivity, at the early stages of infection. 

Explanations for this include:

  • Interferon pathway induction – interferons are potential COVID-19 treatments
  • Cytokine activation suppression – to prevent cytokine storms in the lungs
  • CBD demonstrating antiviral properties and protecting against overactive immune systems

Furthermore, the researchers believe CBD would also be effective against virus variants.

They also note how, if CBD is considered as a potential means of preventing COVID-19 in the future, it has several advantages.

It is widely available through legal means, can be taken in different ways and does not require an injection from a medical professional.

However, something which would need to be addressed is the disparity in quality across the CBD market. 

Some brands are, whether intentionally or not, mislabelling their products in the UK.

When buying CBD products we always recommend only buying from providers with a good reputation and checking their third-party lab certificates.

Regarding CBD and coronavirus, potential issues caused by mislabelling could include products: 

  • Containing less cannabidiol than advertised and not enough to be effective
  • Not containing any cannabidiol at all in some cases
  • Containing THC

CBD products in the UK must not contain more than 1 mg of THC per pack, because it is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

In terms of CBD and coronavirus, the researchers also point out that THC may weaken cannabidiol’s antiviral effectiveness against COVID-19. 

As mentioned earlier, patients taking other cannabinoids, which may have included the cannabinoid THC, were more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those taking CBD only.

cbd and coronavirus

Could CBD protect against other viruses?

The study also raises the possibility of CBD being used to treat other new viruses which may come into existence in the future.

According to the report:

“The ability of CBD to inhibit replication of MHV raises the possibility that CBD may have efficacy against new pathogenic viruses arising in the future.”

MHV refers to mouse hepatitis virus. In an earlier phase of the study, the researchers found that CBD can also suppress MHV, which is a ‘betacoronavirus’.

CBD and coronavirus – more research required

To truly determine whether CBD could treat COVID-19, or any other pathogenic viruses, the researchers recommend further studies.

Recommendations for further research include:

  • Testing the best method for patients to take CBD
  • Defining the required CBD concentrations and formulations
  • Placebo-controlled clinical trials instead of preclinical studies based on animals

They “strongly caution” against assuming that CBD, in its current formulations, is already an effective preventative or treatment for COVID-19, until results can be analysed from further, thorough, randomised clinical trials.

Cannabinoids other than CBD and coronavirus – new research

While research is still in early stages, other compounds in cannabis could potentially also help prevent coronavirus infections.

Recently, a promising study has suggested that other cannabinoids could also be effective in preventing COVID infections. 

Researchers affiliated with Oregon State university found that two cannabinoid acids found in hemp varietals of cannabis – CBDA and CBGA – could bind to the COVID spike protein. 

This protein is key to helping the virus fuse with human cells and cause infection. By binding to the spike these cannabinoids, it is said, can block the virus’s entry to cells and prevent illness.

Researchers admitted that the concentration of cannabinoids needed to stop infection was high. However, the required doses do seem possible, as these compounds are bioavailable and have a long history of safe use in humans.

They were also equally effective against two different COVID variants – showing exciting possibilities for the use of cannabinoids in fighting COVID-19.

Summary: CBD and coronavirus

According to the study’s results, patients taking CBD are potentially much less likely to test positive for COVID-19.

The researchers have hypothesised therefore that CBD could perhaps help prevent infection from COVID-19.

Intriguingly, they also raise the possibility of CBD being effective to treat other pathogenic viruses.

Before any of this can be officially recognised though, more research is required.

For more information about CBD products, take a look at our Intelligence section or please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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CBD And Alcohol: What Happens If I Mix CBD Oil And Alcohol?

Mixing CBD oil and alcohol is something you may be doing without even realising it. 

It doesn’t necessarily mean physically combining the oil and liquid yourself. They both have certain effects on the human body, so by using CBD oil and alcohol within a similar timeframe, the two substances could be reacting to each other naturally.

When it comes to CBD, though, rest assured The World Health Organisation has confirmed there is no evidence of any public health-related problems associated with pure CBD.

However, while many people enjoy alcohol recreationally, its health risks are also well known. In addition, we recently explained why alcohol is not halal in Muslim culture – but most CBD is halal.

While research into the effects of mixing CBD and alcohol is still ongoing, this article gives a brief snapshot of what we know so far.

CBD oil: the basics

First, a little context. CBD oil is legal in the UK but there is often some confusion around the law. 

The main thing to note is that it must not contain more than 1 mg of THC per pack, otherwise it’s a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

To explore the reasons for mixing CBD oil and alcohol in the first place, it’s worth recapping some of the main benefits of cannabidiol.

One of the most common reasons for taking CBD oil is to potentially reduce anxiety. Other possible benefits include treatment for arthritis and chronic pain.

Potential side effects of mixing CBD and alcohol

There is not enough research available yet to definitively prove if there are side effects from mixing CBD oil and alcohol.

It is possible though that the CBD and alcohol will increase each other’s effects on the human body.

Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it lowers neurotransmission levels and reduces stimulation in the brain. 

While this does not necessarily mean that it makes people depressed, alcohol can affect concentration and coordination.

A study looked at the effects of giving participants small doses of CBD and alcohol proportional to their body weight.

The study noted that using alcohol and CBD caused greatly reduced motor performance and difficulty tracking time. These are symptoms not experienced when participants took only CBD.

Consumed only on occasion and in moderation, the negative effects of alcohol are more limited.

However, when consumed regularly, alcohol can cause brain damage and negatively affect the nervous system, heart, liver, pancreas and blood pressure. 

In larger quantities, alcohol can lead to drowsiness and other behavioural changes. 

In excessive quantities it can also cause vomiting, unconsciousness and, for a number of reasons, death.

Therefore, if there’s a risk of another substance – including CBD – increasing alcohol’s effects, it’s important to know your limits and if using both simultaneously, only do so in moderation.

Potential – but unproven – benefits

Again, not enough evidence has been collected yet to confirm whether there are advantages of taking CBD oil and alcohol together.

Just as CBD could potentially exacerbate the negative effects of alcohol though, it may also magnify its positive ones.

One of the most popular reasons for using CBD is to feel more relaxed and less anxious. 

Some people drink alcohol for the same reason, so it’s possible that taking both at the same time could create an even more relaxed state of mind.

There is also some potential for CBD to reduce the severity of a hangover from drinking too much alcohol.

The negative feelings associated with a hangover are partly due to the human body’s deficiency of serotonin, having had it increase while drinking the night before.

Studies show that CBD can positively affect the receptors in the brain’s response to serotonin.

Moreover, there are some signs from medical research that not only could taking CBD dissuade drinkers from having too much alcohol, it could also potentially be used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as depression.  

Finally, a range of animal studies suggest CBD could help prevent cell damage caused by drinking.

cbd oil and alcohol

Drinks for sale containing CBD and alcohol

While much of the above could apply to anyone drinking alcohol at a similar time to taking CBD – whether sublingually, in capsule form or via vaping – some retailers also sell drinks containing cannabidiol.

We recently wrote about how CBD-infused drinks including cocktails have grown in popularity at some of London’s restaurants.

We’d recommend doing your research before trying a drink containing CBD and alcohol though.

Only buy from trusted brands and look for the list of ingredients – CBD drinks on the market should not contain THC, otherwise they’re illegal in the UK.

CBD tinctures

When thinking about CBD oil and alcohol, it’s worth knowing what tinctures are.

A CBD tincture specifically is hemp plant matter which has been saturated in alcohol to steep. 

This infuses the CBD into the alcohol, before the plant material is strained out.

CBD tinctures usually have additional ingredients added, such as flavourings or sweeteners. 

Those who dislike the taste of CBD oil often choose a tincture instead.

However, using a CBD tincture product is not the same as recreationally drinking alcohol and using CBD at the same time – it won’t have the potential benefits, or risks, described earlier.

Read our blog for more information about the differences between CBD tincture and CBD oil.

Summary: what happens if I mix CBD oil and alcohol?

The key thing to note is that if you mix CBD oil and alcohol, they may increase other’s effects.

This could work both ways – for example it could magnify the sense of relaxation, but on the other hand it could exacerbate the side effects from drinking alcohol too.

Medical research into mixing CBD oil and alcohol is still at an early stage, therefore it’s too soon to specify exactly what happens.

If it’s something you’re interested in, then to stay safe, the best approach would be to seek advice from your GP, or a doctor familiar with your medical history and current medication.

Otherwise, you could try mixing CBD oil and alcohol in very small quantities to see how you feel afterwards. If there are no negative consequences, you could try increasing the quantity slightly next time.

To see all our recent articles, take a look at our blog. For more information about CBD products, or for any other queries, please contact us.

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