Corona Virus

Cannabinoids and Viral Infections

Can CBD oil help with viral infections?

Cannabinoids and viral infections? Is there a role CBD could play worthy of a review here? I am not in the medical field but my age group is at risk with this Corona Virus event and so I am curious. I needed to dig into the issue and report what I found. So join me, let’s look at this and see if we can say for sure that CBD has a role in this fight…

Exogenous cannabinoids (meaning external) or receptor antagonists may influence many cellular and systemic host responses. Considering that the anti-inflammatory activity of cannabinoids may compromise host inflammatory responses to acute viral infections, it may be beneficial in persistent infections.

The Cannabinoids and Viral Infections, Carol Shoshkes Reiss

Properties of the Cannabinoids

Among my findings, I am already aware that some of the properties of both endogenous (internal to the body) and exogenous (external) cannabinoids may act either through the CB1 or the CB2 receptor, which are found on distinct cell types in mammals. We know this from many postings on the internet of the endocannabinoid system in humans. The CB1 receptor is found on neurons as well as some astrocytes and skeletal muscle cells. Just for giggles, astrocytes are the support cells that act as guides to direct new cells, promote chemical signaling, and clean up byproducts of brain cell metabolism. Let’s keep digging…

Cannabinoids can influence the course of infections!

How you may ask? Engagement of the CB1 receptor by its endogenous or exogenous agonists may inhibit the release of Ion transporters from intracellular or extracellular stores. Since many important intracellular proteins are ion transporter dependent for a ride to activation, signal transduction through the CB1 receptor may impair these secondary pathways and have a profound influence on the ability of the cell to prevent viruses to replicate in neurons. Therefore the cell invasion worsens.

Cell Response Inhibited…

In contrast, the response of cells expressing the CB2 receptor may influence not only the responses in that cell but may alter the course of the host innate and adaptive immune response to the pathogen, suppressing inflammation and the development of virus-specific cellular and humoral responses. We are quick to note though that the outcome on the viral infection will depend on whether inflammation is beneficial or pathogenic in the specific case.

A Race Against the Clock

When a host cell is infected with a virus, there is a dynamic competition between the ability of the host to first marshal innate immunity (hours to days) and then adaptive immunity (>7 days post-infection) vs. the replication and spread of the virus first within the host and then to additional susceptible individuals (cells). This race against the clock is vital to the life cycle of the infection and if containment is possible..

Once Infected, The Host May Succumb

When a virus is able to out-pace the containment efforts of the innate immune system, the host may succumb. Damage may come from several scenarios. Pathology may result from damage to tissues by viral-induced cellular apoptosis ( programmed cell death) or necrosis (premature death). Alternatively, host immune responses may result in immunopathology or the perceived symptoms of the infection.

The Role of Cannabinoids

If, however, innate and adaptive immunity successfully suppresses viral replication, specific life-long immunity may result. In order to understand the influences on the host response which may be the result of cannabinoids, it is important to examine some of the cellular pathways which are Ion transporter dependent enzymes. For the sake of brevity, I will forego the review of these pathways. However, I can report that many of these critical pathways necessary to fight viral infections may be impaired or compromised when endogenous or exogenous cannabinoids like TCH are present during an infection because of their anti-inflammatory properties.

In Conclusion

Research has shown that cannabinoids are excellent immune system enhancers since they are profoundly anti-inflammatory. However, once you know you have tested positive with a viral infection, it is best to discontinue the use of THC. Where, cannabinoids are still one of the best choices for your wellness program know that when it comes to fighting viral infections, a robust immune system is the best medicine.

Authors Biography
Luis R Claudio Biography

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