Will CBD cure COVID-19? The evidence is light

 Will CBD cure COVID-19? The evidence is light

CBD products are now available in grocery stores and health emporiums even in U.S. states without medical cannabis laws. So, as the novel coronavirus upends the country, it’s no real surprise that there are hucksters peddling cannabidiol as a “cure” for COVID-19.

“CBD is Way Better Than Shooting Up Lysol,” a meme on former NFL player Kyle Turley’s Twitter feed states. Turley, who was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and early onset Alzheimer’s from injuries before founding NEuro SPF, a CBD health company, told Dr. Phil that CBD can prevent and cure the virus. This proclamation came a few days after the Federal Drug Administration warned Turley and NEuro XP to stop making claims like that. Turley asserts, despite any real proof, that CBD boosts your immune system, which in turn helps your body fight COVID-19.

The FDA, under a White House directive to investigate coronavirus-related fraud, sent letters this month to Turley and other CBD companies it says were “misleadingly representing them as safe and/or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.” It also warned against text messages from CBD companies touting false claims. “If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri acknowledged in a statement last week. “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.”

So, will CBD cure you of COVID-19? As of right now, the answer is, “no.” That doesn’t mean that things won’t change as new research becomes available. Researchers in Israel recently launched clinical trials into whether cannabis can play a role in stopping the virus by combining CBD with steroids. And studies that map the cannabis genome are looking into any other connections.

There is no doubt that people continue to use CBD as medicine, just as we have for centuries, and there are far too many anecdotal stories and fresh research to discount its use to treat symptoms of sleeplessness, anxiety, pain and inflammation. CBD medicines are still in the early stages — only one has been approved for use in the U.S. so far — but that doesn’t mean additional research won’t advance the issue. All we’re saying is that it’s far too early to be declaring “mission accomplished” around COVID as it pertains to CBD treatments.  

One of the companies the FDA warned earlier in April has already agreed to end its CBD-COVID-19 claims. California-based Whole Leaf Organics will stop marketing its CBD supplements as cancer treatments or to prevent COVID-19. 

Still, prospective CBD patients today are mostly left to their own devices. Like with many medicines, it’s best to work with a medical professional to help determine which products work and proper dosages. 

This might be the best way to approach it: I took a jar of CBD cream to my dermatologist’s office. At the end of our appointment, I pulled it out proudly and asked him if he’d ever looked into CBD. It seems to work on cuts and scratches as well as warding off eczema, I told him, as well or better than any over-the-counter medicines I’ve used all my life.

He was obviously amused, “Do you know how many ‘miracle drugs’ people have brought to me,” he asked and laughed. I felt pretty stupid realizing that he’s probably run into all kinds of quackery that isn’t part of the currently accepted medical canon.

But then he smiled, “If it works, keep using it.”

Could it be any simpler than that?

Leland Rucker

Leland Rucker

Leland Rucker is a journalist who has been covering the cannabis industry culture since Amendment 64 legalized adult-use in Colorado, for Boulder Weekly, Sensi and now TheNewsStation.com. He covered the popular music industry for years, worked extensively in internet and cable news, and co-authored The Toy Book, a history of OK Boomer playthiings. Sweet Lunacy, his documentary film co-written and produced with Don Chapman, is a history of the Boulder music scene from the 1950s through the 1980s. He is author and editor of Dimensional Cannabis, the first pop-up book of marijuana.

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