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Everybody has been impacted in one way or the other over the last couple of years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease brought the whole world down to its knees, resulting in mass hysteria and lockdowns. Frontline workers and doctors were under unprecedented pressure as medical facilities failed to keep up with the enormous number of cases every day. Although we eventually caught up to the virus with the help of vaccines and medications, there are still fears regarding flare-ups and the efficacy of the vaccine, especially in light of successive mutations. Many people still have misgivings about the possible side effects of the vaccines because of limited trials. Others believe that it will be hard to keep up with regular vaccine booster requirements if the disease lingers some more.
People are looking for alternate ways to build immunity against COVID-19 and alleviate its symptoms to enable speedy recovery. Thankfully, Cannabidiol (CBD), a byproduct of hemp, has come to the rescue. Many people are quite familiar with various CBD delivery products, including CBD-infused gummies, oil, roll-on, and topical ointments that have found their way onto the market after the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018. The bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) list of controlled substances, authorizing proprietors to produce and sell hemp and its by-products. While CBD has many advantages, such as pain and anxiety relief, the true potential of this herb is still unknown. The Farm Bill has opened doors to many types of research, some of which is around the benefits of CBD when it comes to deadly diseases like COVID-19 and cancer. According to a recent research by Chicago Medical Center, products such as high potency CBD-infused gummies, which contain substantial amounts of CBD, can decrease the risk of COVID-19 infection. The research covered 93,000 patients who were tested for COVID-19, resulting in 10% positive cases, as opposed to the positivity rate in patients who were consuming CBD, which was only 1.2%. This study was conducted keeping multiple factors in mind like age, race, sex, and clinical morbidities, further making a strong case for CBD’s efficacy in the potential reduction of the risk of COVID-19 infection. One of the potential reasons behind this result is the antiviral inflammatory qualities of CBD.Cannabidiol fights COVID-19 by activating a process called apoptosis. Apoptosis acts as the first line of defense when the lungs or stomach are infected with a virus. It involves controlled death of infected cells to help get rid of the infection early on. This process stops the infection from spreading to other parts of the body. CBD increases the readiness of the immune system to respond to viral infections by assisting the process of apoptosis when consumed in therapeutic amounts. The study also showed that cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), precursors to CBG and CBD, block viral replication after entering the cells by binding with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and disrupting the drug target similarly to COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy. Scientists identified and ranked multiple cannabinoid ligands by their affinity to the spike protein. Their findings led them to conclude that CBDA and CBGA have the highest affinities to the spike protein, enabling them to block the infection, making them effective against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as alpha and beta variants. Even though scientists speculated about the rise of resistant variants because of the widespread use of cannabinoids, the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment will certainly curtail SARS-CoV-2 to a great extent. CBD has an advantage over medications like remdesivir that require injections in hospital settings. Another advantage that CBD has over traditional medicine is that it has little to no side effects. The composition of CBD products is equally important, as some CBD products contain miniscule amounts of THC, a psychoactive agent that may counteract the antiviral efficacy of CBD. This study has given credence to pronouncements in some quarters that CBD might be the answer to the world’s COVID problem.