Sunday, January 31, 2021

CBD AND COVID-19: NEW POSSIBLE TREATMENT OF SYMPTOMS

CBD and Covid 19: while the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage everywhere, the search for effective methods of treatment and prevention continues unabated. Data from a recent study show that Cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychoactive component of Cannabis Sativa, could improve inflammation and respiratory damage associated with Covid-19.

This effect of CBD would appear to be the result of interaction with a molecule present in our body, apeline, an endogenous peptide implicated, among other things, in the regulation of central and peripheral immunity and in the regulation of blood pressure.


1. Countering Covid-19 with cannabis and derivatives

The normal seasonal flu and Sars-Cov-2 infection (the virus responsible for the pandemic from Covid-19) have both aspects in common and differences, as recently highlighted by a document drafted by the World Health Organization. Among the differences, the main one is perhaps the lack of effective therapies and vaccines in the case of Covid-19. In fact, the situation of greatest danger seems to be the result of the increase in hospital admissions, with a consequent decrease in available beds, especially in intensive care.


For this reason, the entire scientific community is engaged in the effort to find effective anti-Covid remedies. Even the "community" of Cannabis has moved from the beginning in this sense and the results obtained so far seem promising.


A new study, published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, showed that CBD, which unlike THC does not have psychotropic effects, would also appear to be effective in countering Sars-induced symptomsCov-2, especially the abnormal immune response and respiratory problems from ARDS, through interaction with an endogenous molecule called apeline.


2. CBD and apeline

The research team led by Professor Babak Baban of the University of Georgia (USA), as early as July 2020, had published a study in which the CBD had been effective in combating ARDS and the strong inflammation triggered by viral infections.


In the wake of promising results, scientists continued their research in an attempt to further verify and understand the mechanism of action of the CBD.


In this new study, researchers found that the anti-inflammatory effect of CBD could be due to interaction with apeline, a molecule normally present in our body.


The apeline is an endogenous peptide expressed mainly in the lungs, heart, liver, intestine, kidneys and in the Central Nervous System, which are also the districts of the organism where the Endocannabinoid System is most localized.


This molecule acts mainly by activating the APJ receptor, which causes a decrease in the transcription factor Nf-kB, resulting in a decrease in the release of the mediators of inflammation and the recruitment of immune cells.


The apeline also induces a hypotensive effect and this action seems also due to the interaction with the enzyme ACE-2, expressed on the surface of many cells, in particular the pulmonary ones. In fact, apeline and ACE2 normally work together to control blood pressure. When the pressure rises beyond certain levels, an increase in expression of both can be helpful in reducing blood pressure and caridac activity.


However, the ACE-2 is also the gateway to the Sars-Cov-2 in our body. The virus, in fact, has a glycosylated protein that binds to ACE-2 and allows entry into cells.


3. CBD reduces inflammation and increases apeline levels

To understand the role of CBD in ARDS, the researchers used an animal model of viral infection induced by small fragments of double-stranded RNA, called POLY (I:C).


In the study, laboratory animals were divided into 3 groups:


a control group to which the viral fragments have not been injected;

a group treated with POLY (I:C) for 3 days;

a third group that in addition to POLY (I:C) also received CBD, always for 3 days.

Animals treated only with viral RNA produced a response similar to that induced by Sars-Cov-2 -also a double-stranded RNA virus- characterized by damage to lung morphology, decreased respiratory capacity and excessive increase of inflammation mediators, resulting in the triggering of the so-called cytokine storm.


In this group researchers also observed a drastic reduction in plasma levels of apeline, almost to zero. This appeared quite strange because normally, in case of respiratory crisis and lung inflammation, its level should increase so as to normalize the lung pressure and respiratory difficulty caused by ARDS.


However, when researchers added CBD to treatment with POLY (I:C), the results obtained were very different: the signs of the viral infection had completely or almost entirely disappeared, as well as the apeline had increased by about 20 times, returning to physiological values.lung damage and in addition plasma levels of


By analysing these data, it would appear that the viral infection induces a reduction of the apeline, resulting in the development of a strong inflammation and serious lung damage; CBD treatment returns apeline to normal levels and is effective in countering infection symptoms.


4. CBD and Covid-19: the role of cannabidiol and apeline in the Covid pandemic

The link between viral infection, apeline and CBD is, for now, only associative, not causative: it is not known whether the virus or CBD act directly on the apeline, or whether this is the consequence of other mechanisms, as pointed out by the authors of the research.


In any case, the data show that during a viral infection the plasma levels of apeline drop dramatically. CBD counteracts this action, bringing the apeline back to normal levels and exerting a strong anti-inflammatory effect such as to reduce lung damage caused by the viral infection, as in the case of Covid-19. The apeline could therefore represent a molecular target of the CBD never considered before.


In addition, monitoring the plasma levels of apeline could be useful to understand the progression of viral infection and the effectiveness of a possible pharmacological intervention: apeline levels drop as a result of a viral infection and if a drug is effective in countering the infection, as in the case of CBD, apeline levels increase accordingly.


Since apeline also interacts with ACE-2, these results could also help in the management of Covid-19, as well as it could be important to have an effective anti-inflammatory as CBD has proven to be. Further pre-clinical and clinical studies will be needed to confirm these eventualities.

5. CBD and Covid-19: references


√Čvila Lopes Salles Hesam Khodadadi Abbas Jarrahi Meenakshi Ahluwalia Valdemar Antonio Paffaro Jr Vincenzo Costigliola Jack C. Yu David C. Hess Krishnan M. Dhandapani Babak Baban. Cannabidiol (CBD) modulation of apelin in acute respiratory distress syndrome. J Cell Mol Med. 2020 Oct 15.


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