CBD and cannabis-related products are currently some of the most popular choices for a lot of people facing different physiological problems as well as for those who want to maintain their health and good looks. This popularity is of course related to the fact that products such as CBD oils and tinctures are effective and help many people fight anxiety, discomfort of pain, and insomnia, as well as improving their appearance and wellness.
These effects are sometimes discovered as “anecdotal cases”, which was a typical approach to evaluating the efficacy of a certain product, especially in the past. Nowadays, most of the effects are very well studied in scientific pre-clinical and clinical studies that are well organised and follow strict protocols like GLP (good laboratory practice) and guidelines such as those of the ICH (International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use) and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Following the protocols and performing the studies in an appropriate manner provide results that are trustworthy and reliable.
Cannabis and various cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabidivarin (CBDV), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN) have been studied in terms of their effects and safety using a variety of studies. In other words, studies evaluating the effects of, e.g., cannabis or hemp extract with a variety of phytocannabinoids, were performed in a petri-dish using certain cell lines, on animal models such as mice and rats (pre-clinical studies) and on human volunteers who are either healthy or have a confirmed condition (clinical studies).
For example, pre-clinical and clinical studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of CBD isolated from cannabis plants were an essential part of the approval for the first medicine Epidiolex® that is used to treat certain refractory-type epilepsies in children.
Apart from medicines, CBD products are also being continuously tested for other purposes, such as skin health and improving the status of certain common skin conditions, like acne, eczema, insect bites and even psoriasis. A recent study by Casares and colleagues (2020) revealed that the topical use of CBD helps to improve appearance in skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and keratin disorders. Another study by Hammell and colleagues (2016) reported effective pain relief after the topical administration of CBD products, in particular gel infused with CBD.
And the most common question – do cannabis and cannabinoids prevent or treat Covid-19?
The answer to this question is not a simple one. Cannabis products might help to fight this disease, as studies are reporting positive outcomes.
Another study by Lopes Salles and colleagues (2020) reported that CBD ameliorates the symptoms of acute respiratory distress syndrome through the increased expression of apelin, a peptide with a significant role in the central and peripheral regulation of immunity, central nervous, metabolic and cardiovascular systems.
It is clear that scientists have some additional work to do in this field before they can make any firm conclusions. Regardless, the initial outcomes are promising and provide a good basis for all the future studies that will provide us with an answer to the question of whether cannabis and CBD can help in the prevention and/or treatment of Covid-19.