Expert answers: can cannabis and CBD affect coronavirus?

Expert answers: can cannabis and CBD affect coronavirus?
© iStock/Ivan-balvan

In this article, integrative medicine expert, Dr Dani Gordon, answers peoples’ question of whether cannabis and CBD can affect contracting or recovering from COVID-19, or coronavirus.

The biggest question I’m getting asked is around how CBD and medical cannabis may affect contracting or recovering from coronavirus, and about what else we can do to stay well.

People are asking  if cannabis and CBD can help buffer the immune system against getting COVID-19 in the first place, and if you do get it, can CBD and cannabis help treat it? What about the possibility that NSAID anti-inflammatory drugs may have a negative effect on the virus once you are infected and wait a —minute – CBD is an anti-inflammatory too, so what does that mean for CBD?

These are all valid questions and so far, even in terms of the anti-inflammatory drugs and the effect on corona, it is still unclear what the relationship is, if there is one. Many doctors are still recommending sticking to Acetaminophen for the fever for now and avoiding NSAID over the counter drugs until we know more.

CBD, cannabis and coronavirus

As for CBD and cannabis, we don’t have any studies showing it has any effect on the coronavirus, although there are some interesting studies on medical cannabis and smoked cannabis use and HIV progression.

On Facebook and social media, many CBD and cannabis advocates are claiming that they boosted their immunity successfully against all viruses using the plant, and recommending others do the same.

As both a cannabis specialist and doctor trained in natural medicine and western medicine, it is important to let people know the facts and be totally honest about what we don’t know. It’s also critical not to make false claims when we are all understandably a bit scared, and of course want to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

The ‘miracle cure’ claims that some members of the natural wellness community can sometimes make, even when well-intentioned, can have harmful effects on people’s behaviour and also tarnish the industry as promoting ‘snake oils.’

This effect can distance our more ‘conventional’ medicine and research colleagues who are not well versed in botanical medicine, and hurt the progress plant medicine has made in recent years in gaining support and credibility through academic research and inquiry, partnering with the research and those physicians open-minded enough to consider them.

Plant medicines like CBD and medical cannabis do so many amazing things that there is no need to stretch the truth or make claims that cannot be backed up, at least not currently.

So, how can we support our immune systems?

Probably the best way we can support our immunity is avoiding alcohol, staying active while we stay home (dance parties in the living room anyone?) and taking up a simple relaxation or meditation practice to decrease stress hormones.

If you are into supplementing, you could consider adding some adaptogen mushrooms, along with liposomal glutathione (not a direct immune boost but may help support the liver).

Eating a diet rich in micronutrients, zinc, vitamin C, flavonoids like quercetin (in both cannabis and apples) and getting good sleep are all good things to start now if you haven’t already.

Melatonin, our sleep hormone made while we sleep can help healthy immune function too. Deep breathing practices and laughter may also have a positive effect on our immune systems too. So, you can feel like you have done something by putting on a funny film and having a good deep belly laugh to get those lungs working while you self-isolate.

Even if you do everything ‘right’ you may still end up getting coronavirus, but the good news is that most people not in high risk groups will have a mild illness course and recoup at home. Some carriers may not even have any symptoms at all or even know they had it, which is why social distancing is so important, since asymptomatic transmission rates are thought to be quite high with coronavirus.

Dr Dani Gordon MD, CCFP, ABOIM, ABIHM
Guest Author
UK Cannabis Medicine Specialist
US Integrative Medicine
Consulting & Training for Physicians

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40 COMMENTS

  1. Why would you ignore the possible benefits of THC and the other cannabinoids? I understand the buzz around CBD these days, but THC has been proven to have significant benefits to our health, and we know it possesses anti metastatic and anti proliferative properties in regards to cancer cells. To ignore this is irresponsible, with all due respect.

    • Aside from the acknowledged beneficial aspects of THC/CBD, scientific research indicates that cannabis, whether smoked or consumed in edible form, can weaken the body’s immune system, thus making users potentially more susceptible to contracting virus- borne illnesses (such as Covid 19). One would think that it would be entirely irresponsible of the medical community to equivocate on this issue.

      • Hey JC, I didn’t see a MD. or a PHD. next to your name? So what and who are you? Are you Homeless, over 80 years old(or older)? Please, tell us where you got your information from? I know, what I know, from personal use over a long period of time.. So the only bit of info I can add is, everyone I know, including myself, either never or very seldomly, have any problems with either a cold or a flu! And that is “the Honest to God Truth”! So please tell us who you are and what your credentials are? Then and only then, “should ANYONE listen to you or someone who thinks( a closed mind)like you?? Before speaking next time, take some time and investigate what, Spain, Israel, Great Britain, Australia, etc… Has to say about this organic medicine.. OH! I think I figured out who you are, you’re a CEO of some Pharmaceutical Firm? Correct??? And “that is a guess”!!!!

  2. Does taking cbd make you tired after meals and have to have a sleep I take 1ml at night before bed each night then have breakfast within Maybe 1 hr plus I have to have a sleep and same at lunch time more so then is this normal

    • In my experience CBD is relaxing but doesn’t force me to sleep or even make me tired. as far as the rest of your question it doesn’t make any sense that you would take it just before bed and then eat breakfast an hour later, that means you’re only sleeping less than an hour?
      Then you’re sleeping at lunch time?
      Then “more” what.
      We would like to help but your translation software is confusing the conversation.
      please break your statements and questions down into individual complete sentence and statements and questions.
      Just can’t understand what you’re saying or what you are asking.

  3. Yes Keith
    The CBD May make you tired I would not take until late afternoon and bed time!! Always good too sleep and get well rested!!

  4. All that all of you people are talking about , Jack Herer has put a book together call The Emperor Wears No Clothes Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy. The truth is there! I would like to thank people like Jack and Steve Angleo their work has been torn to sheds by greed and bad capitalism. Cannabis is the wonder medicne

  5. Yes marijuana should be legal in India.
    Becaz the cbd can treat any diseases like virus , cancer,thyroid ,cholesterol ,blood pressure, diabetes asthma, allergies ,muscle recovery and allot..
    In Hindu ancient books and Vedas it says that marijuana is the backbone of medicinal herbs.

  6. I’m posting this comment because the article mentions what we can do about our immune systems. Many of us are unaware of the recent success with Vitamin C therapies.

    There is a website called Doctoryourself .com. Dr Saul has a man in Wuhan, China who has told him that the Chinese are successfully treating coronavirus victims with Vitamin C, both intravenously and by mouth.

    Here is the title paragraph of a video of Dr Saul explaining why we have not seen these vital updates on MSM and Google:

    NEW VIDEO: Coronavirus, Vitamin C, and Censorship: Why are you seeing nothing in the mass media about China already using high-dose vitamin C to prevent and treat COVID-19 coronavirus? Or being falsely told that intravernous vitamin C therapy for coronavirus is “fake news”?

    There are SEVERAL articles, many with video links, about how it works, why it works, how much to take, etc.

    Here are some of the titles:

    Three Intravenous Vitamin C Research Studies Approved for Treating COVID-19

    Shanghai Government Officially Recommends Vitamin C for COVID-19

    Vitamin C Protects Against Coronavirus

    Nutritional Treatment of Coronavirus

    Also, Youtube has a video entitled, “NCP(Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia) and Vitamin C,” by Richard Cheng

    I hope this information benefits someone. Thanks.

    • I typed in one of the titles that YOU suggested, into GOOGLE ….’Vitamin C Protects Against Coronavirus’

      FIRST thing I saw was Healthline.com and I clicked on it….

      FIRST thing i saw on the article

      “An important note
      No supplement will cure or prevent disease.

      With the 2019 coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to understand that no supplement, diet, or other lifestyle modification other than physical distancing, also known as social distancing, and proper hygiene practices can protect you from COVID-19”

      and then the LAST statement i read on the page…

      “SUMMARY
      Vitamin C is an important nutrient found in fruit and vegetables that may help shorten the duration and severity of COLDS. High doses are being studied for their potential to decrease lung inflammation, but more research is needed”

      Are you stupid or something?

      P.S. I wouldn’t trust the chinese if I were you

    • He did. He said there isn’t any scientific evidence at the moment (since no studies have been conducted).
      He also said that it is important to not make false claims and speak on what we don’t know.
      So if you take those two things, the logical outcome is that he can’t recommend nor discourage it’s use, doing so would be irresponsible, especially as someone trained in western medicine in which it’s axioms lie in the scientific method and scientific proof. This is more important than ever in times like these where people are looking for answers.
      In a way you could say why make the article then? But at least there is some response from a sensible person rather than nothing, since no one else is attempting to answer the question. Plus if someone did, citing misinformation, then at least we would have this article to fall back on. 🙂
      You could probably assume that you might be safe to eat edibles, or maybe, vaporise (though most be hesitant to recommend this) but that is going to have to be your choice given that no one has any absolutes on this.

  7. To Bob Kat, You are absolutely correct!!! There are no EXPERTS , except NATURE!!! It is a Fact that there are numerous Patents that the U.S and Israel have that MMJ cures just about ALL Illnesses that is created by EVIL. Keep in Mind that all these so called Expert have iis Graduation ie Gradual Indoctrination, therefore can not go against the corrupt Med. System!. All I can say is do some good RSO and believe that Nature is always above Evil. When Evil concocted this Virus They did not consider Nature Like Always in History. I am a 72 Year old VN Vet that is keeping Cancer and other Issues at Bay.

  8. I survived corona with weed!
    weed protect against diseases!
    allover egypt it is written in stone. Seshat wrote it! it was so importent to tell next generations about this power plant against diseases!
    dont ignor that!
    and also in every sacred text of the world, it is used against diseases.
    so beginn to test in laboratory!
    dont tell about with no knowing.
    it is stupid to ignor what they wanted to tell the next generations.
    free hemp for everyone!

  9. The simple fact that cannabis enhances apetite,is enough to give body energy to heal from many diseases.
    Some time in the future,scientists will understand the importance of energy in healing.

  10. I find it very interesting when Doctors write articles and say we can’t say that the Cannabis/CBD actually helps because there are a lack of clinical studies on the subject. Then you read another article, Usually a Government Related article that talks about all these bad things that taking Cannabis does to oneself! So Which one is it? If there are not enough studies then how can you say that taking it raising blood pressure, causes heart problems….yadda yadda. The plant has been found in a Grave from 12,000 years ago. God Said, “I give you all plants and seed-bearing plants/bushes and seeds for your use. It’s Medicine for most people……I don’t need 152 “Studies” showing it works…..if it works for me…..it’s medicine…..if it worked for my Friend that took the concentrated oil and it cured her inoperable brain cancer 10 years ago….it’s Medicine.
    Really what we need to address is the fact of the matter……the Pharma Companies see this as a HUGE threat……unless of course they can patent it and make a lot of $$$$. The Doctors must answer to the RX companies…..after all, they are the ones that run the show when it comes down to it.

  11. ! i know only cannabinoid agonists that can pass the blood brain barrier can pass through the virus security ,once the first cb1 cb2 receptors are open then phytocannabinoids can also and only pass through . our brains uses endocannabinoids as a Neuroprotectant , but the virus does not ! , phagocytosis , apoptosis and all the other processes involving agonistic trigger, ie the trickle down effect will make survival harder for any anti body including virus that would other wise go totally undetected .the role of the endocannabinoid system is just that . research is hindered by patent and money and liars in power dont like to be made to look stupid , a ” google patent search” will make clear the situation . professor Robert melamede will give you a better explanation on all this , he can be found on and around the net .
    detergents cause more damage than all are been told , in fact i have much evidence to show most cancer is the cause of anti endocannabinoid solutions like detergents and alcohols used in and around the home . just to add on, the anti inflammatory processes of cannabinoids hold no resemblance to those in comparison, the processes are totally different . cbd and thc are only the tip of the ice burg using all cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids there would be infinite combinations that would no dout in my research allow tailored medications for all manner of medical problems . but until patents are removed to allow research we will never know unless we pay the price been asked . stay safe . positive paradigm

  12. So there is no concreted answer on tests shown to help Covid-19. okay it sure is still early to prove and can be proven as time comes and goes. Yes there are great pros and cons with MMJ. But so far there are more pros when it comes to curing illnesses. We all know this!

    We need to keep in mind that there are a lot of false claims in social media.As mentioned in this article, also everyone can have different side effects. we really need to make good research if this will benefit YOU. i my self use CBD products and always recommend friends and family. But ALWAYS get them to make research for them selves.

    I believe there is more positive outcome in trying it than not trying.( for those in serious need)

    • Have you heard about Neem tree (Azadirachta Indica), this is a healing plant known in India for thousands of years as a medicine source. In the 70’s a laboratory patented it, then India, and some more countries demanded to free that plant for the people, they won that judge and after that Neem was forbidden in the US, for more than 30 years. Well, this Neem tree is close related to Cannabis Indica, and both are healing trees, known to man for thousands of years.

  13. I believe in the Cannabis , i believe in cannabadoils , i even believe in THC , I believe in the mirecal plant , I believe in Soma ..
    I hope Covd-19 is eradicated by this holy plant …
    Yogeshwaray 🙏

  14. if anyone is interested , just look into the history of western governments who sack and lay off the true scientists who tell the truth when asked to find a link ! probably the most famous and in relation to this subject is professor Donald Tashkin (USA) , a real hero , he stood and told the truth and is said to be the first scientist that happened upon evidence to indicate the existence of an endocannabinoid system and that cannabinoid receptor agonist not only have a preventative effect on cancer ,but also had a small reduction on the harm caused from smoking tobacco . he also warned of the harm caused by tobacco !
    professor David Nutt (UK) all he warned of politically happened . the knee jerk fearing leaders at the time sacked him for telling the truth and not finding a link to what they wanted to say , he also warned that science research was been hindered by vested coercion . belief comes from faith and knowing comes from real science , coercion comes from those who set out to deceive .
    glands in our bodies are producing a constant balanced flow of agonistic and messenger lipids that TRICKLE DOWN and shut off bad cells and protect against oxidative stress ,we know this to be true thanks to modern science , 2000 year old Chinese medical scripts talk of a trickle down effect that keeps the body in check , no coincidence the hemp plant is also mentioned as been good for keeping it in check , they went on observation more than modern science back then , im just saying . smoking is more the recreational side , but im sure an inhaler type device was used in the study that combatted SARS and as far as i know it is now a future contender for combating COVID 19 , pending (cha ching) patent again, no doubt ! all about cost !
    . stay safe ,positive paradigm

  15. Again cannabis has been overlooked, I had coronavirus for 2 months most of the symptoms anyway, cannabis cough cleared my lungs every morning, cannabis hunger (munchies), kept my appetite up, being high helped with isolation

    • Well there has been nothing confirmed yet which means that it can help or it cant help. But from the comments that i have read it seems like it has helped. cbd is and anti-inflammatory it also makes people hungry which is good because the body needs energy. Overall i don’t see why it would hurt to try, but i would not recommend smoking it because the corona-virus fills the lungs with fluid and the smoke might not be the best thing to help it. (this is just my opinion. i have never tried weed and im not a doctor but i have done some research) but at the end of the day its each persons own choice.

  16. There is an unproven claim by some researcher that anti inflamatory drugs growth the number of receptors on a cell that viruses use to advantage entry into a cell and start their attack. That being said, if CBD is considered an effective tool in lowering inflamation; then would it now not be prudent to stop taking CBD all through the covid 19 pandemic. The anti viral residences is simply if in direct contact with the virus. This is the same with all antiviral houses medicine

  17. This looks like a good group to get some insight. I have MS an autoimmune disease and suffer from severe pain – although the THC doesn’t help all that much with the pain, it does help me sleep (personally the munchies is the downside for me) Any way, i have been getting mixed messages as to whether THC is suppressing my immune system (which might be helpful with this disease before Covid) but if THC delps increase an immunity response it would possibly cause the ‘hyperactive immune response’ -if I get Covid. Has anyone gone through Covid with an autoimmune disease while on THC?

    Katie in Florida

  18. No studies exist that examine CBD as an antiviral in humans. And, no anecdotal evidence exists that indicates that CBD is probably an antiviral. In short, do no longer use CBD as an antiviral towards the virus. here is truly no connection to make. CBD in no manner prevents the covid-19, nor will CBD assist you recover from the coronavirus if infected.

  19. Wtf is cbd edibles and there ridiculous comments..I have 2 autoimmune disorders sjogrens syndrome and diabetes and firmly believe smoking indica marijuana not only kept me from losing sight in my glaucomic right eye and lowers by blood pressure an average of 30 points over 10 points keeping me from having a heart attack, it helped me defeat the horrible virus I had for over a month…like the earlier gentleman qouted “make every herb bearing seed your meat…marijuana is a Godsend

  20. We have countries in the world who welcome thc and cbd, it has been around for centuries, I am no professional but there must of been every test known to man on this. How long will they put this on the back burner, just so pharmaceutical company’s can control and monopolies the market. Seems like a bit of a smoke screen to me.

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