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CBD and its effects on COVID-19

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CBD helps reduce lung damage caused by COVID by increasing the level of protective peptide


One way CBD appears to reduce the “Cytokine storm” that damages the lungs and kills many patients with COVID-19 is by allowing the levels of a natural peptide called apelina to increase, which is known to reduce inflammation and whose levels are dramatically reduced this condition.


Researchers at Georgia Dental College and Georgia Medical College reported this summer that CBD’s ability to improve oxygen levels and reduce inflammation, as well as physical lung damage in their laboratory model of deadly respiratory distress syndrome for adults or ARDS.


Now they have shown that appellation levels drop with the viral infection, which has killed 1 million people worldwide, and that CBD is rapidly helping to normalize these levels, along with lung function.

“It was dramatic in both directions,” says Dr. Babak Baban, a DCG immunologist and associate dean for research, of changes in appelin levels in both circulating blood and lung tissue.



Blood levels of the peptide dropped close to zero in the ARDS model and increased 20- fold with CBD, reports The Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

“CBD has almost brought it back to normal,” says Dr. Jack Yu, a physician, scientist and head of pediatric plastic surgery at MCG, about the first apparent connection between CBD and apelin.



Apelin is a ubiquitous peptide made by cells in the heart, lungs, brain, adipose tissue and blood and is an important regulator in reducing both blood pressure and inflammation, says Baban, the study’s lead author

When our blood pressure rises, for example, appelin levels should rise to the right place, such as endothelial cells that cover blood vessels, to help lower it. Apelin should do the same to help normalize significant increases in inflammation in the lungs and respiratory difficulties associated with ARDS.


Ideally, ARDS would grow in areas of the lungs where it is needed to improve blood flow and oxygen to compensate and protect, Baban says. But when they looked at the ARDS model, the appellation did not succeed either, but decreased both in the lung tissue itself and in the general circulation. Until they tried CBD oil.


They reported this summer in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research that CBD treatment has reduced excessive lung inflammation, allowing improvements in lung function, healthier oxygen levels and repairing structural lung damage that is classic with ARDS. Investigators said more work was needed then, including finding how CBD produced significant changes, as well as human studies, before it was included as part of a treatment regimen for COVID-19.

Although they do not attribute all the benefits of CBD to apelin, they say that the peptide clearly plays an important role in this scenario. I also don’t know yet if the new coronavirus or CBD, by the way, have a direct effect on the appeal or if these are consequences, but I’m already looking for answers to these unknowns.

“It is an association; we don’t know yet about the causality, but it is a very good indicator of the disease “, says Baban about the impact of the viral infection on the level of appellation.

The virus enters human cells through the also ubiquitous receptor of the angiotensin 2 or ACE2 conversion enzyme. Spike proteins have the right docking mechanism, says coauthor Yu. And there are a lot of commonalities between ACE2 and appelin, including the fact that many cell types and tissues contain both, including the lungs.


Thus, Apelin and ACE2 also work together to control blood pressure, and upward regulation of both can be helpful in cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, by lowering blood pressure while increasing the heart’s ability to pump. In fact, apelina and ACE2 work together to regulate a healthy cardiovascular system and are factors in almost any condition, such as obesity or hypertension, that affect the cardiovascular system, says Baban.



Like other diseases, the new coronavirus seems to upset their positive partnership. Binding of the virus to the ACE2 receptor has been shown to lower ACE2 levels and increase the strength of the angiotensin II constrictor blood vessel, as angiotensin II degrades and fewer vasodilators are produced, which worsens the patient’s prognosis.

“Instead of helping ACE2 relax the blood vessels, it helps the virus be introduced, where it causes more harm instead of helping the lungs relax and do its job,” says Yu.

While researchers are still putting the pieces together, low levels of ACE2 seem to allow for less appeal and less protection.

Their discovery of dramatic reductions in apelin in the face of ARDS makes protective peptide levels a potential early biomarker for ARDS and the response to treatment efforts, they say.


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