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Cannabinoids May Inhibit Replication of SARS-CoV-2 in Human Lung Cells

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A study conducted by researchers in Chicago shows that a specific cannabis compound effectively slowed the replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in human lung cells. 

Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19), the disease that has disrupted the entire globe for over a year, is caused by SARS-CoV-2. 

Marsha Rosner, University of Chicago in Illinois researcher, and her colleagues reported on their discoveries March 10 in a pre-print version of the research paper “Cannabidiol Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Replication and Promotes the Host Innate Immune Response.” 

Not to the surprise of modern wellness aficionados, cannabidiol (CBD) was the specific compound that inhibited the SARS-CoV-2 infection. “Here we report that cannabidiol (CBD), a compound produced by the cannabis plant, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection. CBD and its metabolite, 7-OH-CBD, but not congeneric cannabinoids, potently block SARS-CoV-2 replication in lung epithelial cells,” wrote the researchers in the abstract. 

“CBD acts after cellular infection, inhibiting viral gene expression and reversing many effects of SARS-CoV-2 on host gene transcription. CBD induces interferon expression and up-regulates its antiviral signaling pathway.”

The study also determined that patients who previously consumed CBD were infected with SARS-CoV-2 at a much lower rate compared to the general population or similarly matched pairs. Overall, this study brings a lot of promise to a world that loves CBD and is still determining the best treatment options for patients with COVID-19. “This study highlights CBD, and its active metabolite, 7-OH-CBD, as potential preventative agents and therapeutic treatments for SARS-CoV-2 at early stages of infection,” the abstract reads. 

Further, the university researchers investigated whether other cannabinoids, including those that are structurally similar to CBD, have the same potential to slow SARS-CoV-2 infection. So far, CBD is the only compound that had the potential to suppress the viral infection.  

The article for these findings is currently under peer review. 

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