The Truth About CBD And COVID-19

Brendan Bures April 28, 2020

A roundup of the latest reports examining the relationship between CBD and the novel coronavirus.

Coronavirus-related scams and fraudulent advertising have surged over the past month, as snake oil salesmen have promised cures to a concerned public. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a guide on how consumers can best avoid being scammed, and sent warnings, co-written by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to companies falsely promising coronavirus cure packages.

Claims around cannabidiol (CBD) and the coronavirus have also drawn scrutiny in the past month. As new reports and messages fly across your social media channel, it can be tough to keep track of it all. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of what you should know about CBD and the coronavirus.

Will CBD Prevent the Coronavirus?

Former NFL player Kyle Turley promised his nearly 50,000 followers that using his company CBD products would prevent them from obtaining the coronavirus. No medical research backs up his statement. However, his story represents a common misconception CBD companies have sent consumers: That CBD will boost your immune system, which will help your body fight COVID-19.

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Scientific evidence remains mixed about how CBD affects the immune system. One study showed CBD to boost immune systems in HIV/AIDS patients. But other research found CBD to be an immunomodulator, which is why CBD can be such an effective anti-inflammatory.

“If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “During these difficult times, we encourage people to be skeptical of any unsubstantiated claims, particularly those circulating online, surrounding the use of cannabis or any other uncorroborated treatment for COVID-19.”

Photo by zhangshuang/Getty Images

Is CBD Being Used to Fight the Coronavirus?

The short answer is yes. Israeli researchers have launched multiple clinical trials that use CBD in conjunction with more traditional treatment. One study, backed by Stero Biotechs, will combine CBD with steroids, with the belief that CBD could increase the therapeutic potential of the steroids. However, the results from this research isn’t expected for several more weeks, if not longer.

RELATED: FDA Crackdown On Coronavirus Medical Claims: CBD Companies, Take Note!

“We estimate that our CBD-based treatment can enhance the current treatment of those patients who are in life-threatening conditions,” Stero Biotechs founder and CEO David Bassa said in a statement. “Hospitalized COVID-19 patients are mostly being treated with steroids and our study is planned to demonstrate the benefit of a combined solution with Steroid treatments. We are hopeful that this study will lead to faster benefit for the growing number of COVID-19 patients in Israel and around the world.”

Will Smoking or Vaping CBD Increase My Chances of Catching the Coronavirus?

No one can say for certain. Because COVID-19 infects the body’s respiratory system, doctors and medical experts have asked individuals to refrain from smoking or vaping until we know more. But the FDA recently walked back claims the smoking or vaping makes someone more susceptible to catching the coronavirus.

“E-cigarette use can expose the lungs to toxic chemicals, but whether those exposures increase the risk of COVID-19 is not known,” an FDA spokesperson said.

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