The Coronavirus pandemic, which surfaced just under a year ago, and turned the world upside down, is still present today. Despite the emergence of preventative measures including national lockdowns, masks and lifestyle restrictions, thousands of individuals continue to catch COVID-19 daily. People continue to be infected with COVID-19 and suffer symptoms ranging from flu-like symptoms, to severe lung damage and cytokine storm.

However, some individuals are beginning to report that the use of CBD has lessened and relieved their associated covid-19 symptoms. CBD shows promise as a medium to tackle COVID-19 in the future, however, further research needs to be done to decipher whether CBD has a direct effect on COVID-19.

Cytokines and cytokine storms

Cytokines are proteins, which are secreted by cells within the body. Cytokines play a fundamental role in the immune system, through attacking alien agents and stopping viral replication. In a normal functioning body, when the body identifies an infection it signals to the body to release cytokines. These cytokines crowd around the infected area and attack the foreign pathogen in order to destroy the virus. However, elevated levels of cytokines also referred to as a  “cytokine storm” can have negative repercussions on a person’s health.

A “cytokine storm” occurs when an abundance of cytokines are released following an immunise response. This is more likely to occur within an immune system that is somehow deranged, for example when an individual has an autoimmune disorder. In these instances, the body’s immune system becomes overwhelmed and denotes a hyperactive immune response, signalling too many cytokines to a specific area. This reaction can cause cytokines to begin to attack the bodies own healthy cells, which can cause a person to become very sick.  A cytokine storm can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from flu-like to life threatening including: fever and chills, headache, cough, seizures, confusion.

Cytokines and Covid-19

Individuals who become severely ill with COVID-19 often have an elevated level of cytokines within their body. As with other viruses, COVID-19 hijacks living and healthy cells and multiplies to produce other viruses.  As a respiratory virus COVID-19 mainly affects cells within the lungs; it is thought that when an individual has COVID-19, cytokines within the body mass to cells in the lungs. However, the area is often overcome by cytokines which in effect begin to self destroy tissue in an attempt to rid the area of the virus. This process triggers further issues such as pneumonia, which can often increase the risk of mortality in individuals.

CBD and COVID-19

CBD is a proven immunosuppressive band with known anti-inflammatory properties and is therefore, thought to supress cytokines. The overall mechanism of CBD is thought to have numerous health benefits including pain relief, inflammation reduction and lessened anxiety. Recently researcher has sort a link between the consumption of CBD and the regulation of cytokine storm. CBD is shown to directly supress target cells having a positive effect in regulating cytokine storm.

Early exploration has suggested that the consumption of CBD, by an individual with COVID-19 could decrease damage to the lungs in turn increasing chances of survival. It is thought that cytokine storm is a major contributing factor to the death of individuals with COVID-19. Therefore, this early understanding indicates that CBD could be an effective intervention in COVID-19 mortality. Whilst CBD shows promise, further research needs to be undertaken in order to understand the full effect of CBD consumption on covid-19.

CBD and COVID-19 induced lung damage

CBD is thought to help COVID-19 by increasing the levels of apelin within the body. Apelin is a peptide made by cells within the body and is an important regulator – controlling blood pressure levels and reducing tissue inflammation.

Individuals with COVID-19 have significantly lower levels of apelin, which contributes to the severe lung damage. However, CBD is thought to reduce cytokine storm and normalise these levels of apelin within the body, helping to reduce COVID-19 induced lung damage.

COVID-19 causes the lungs to become severely scarred, which contributes to the mortality, or at least extends recovery time. Through the reaction between CBD and receptors in the body, consumption could reduce inflammation on the lungs and limit long-term physical damage.

Currently research gives us good evidence to believe that CBD has some sort of effect on COVID-19 or at least its implications on the body. However, further research needs to be done in order to uncover whether a direct link between CBD and covid-19 exist.

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