Could a popular ingredient found in marijuana be the key to fighting lung damage caused by the coronavirus?
As medical professionals continue to understand how COVID-19 attacks the body, it’s been known that the virus can attack the lungs, causing devastating circumstances.
Scientists have discussed “cytokine storms” — immune system proteins — cause the body to attack its own cells and tissues rather than combatting the virus itself, which causes the body to fight itself rather than the virus, according to WebMD.
But researchers from Augusta University recently published a study claiming that cannabidiol (CBD) can treat lung damage and fight a cytokine storm, which might be a game-changer.
A new study published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine found that CBD can reduce a cytokine storm by increasing levels of apelin, a natural peptide that can reduce inflammation which occurs in the lungs.
“CBD almost brought it back to a normal level,” said Dr. Jack Yu, a researcher in the study, in a press release.
Per the study:
“CBD treatment was able to reverse the symptoms of ARDS towards a normal level. Importantly, CBD treatment increased the apelin expression significantly, suggesting a potential crosstalk between apelinergic system and CBD may be the therapeutic target in the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as COVID‐19 and many other pathologic conditions.”
The use of CBD to help lung function is a somewhat new discovery. Researchers said they that CBD can help improve oxygen levels and reduce inflammation in addition to physical lung damage, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Dental College of Georgia and Medical College of Georgia. But this is the first connection between CBD and apelin, which is made by cells in the heart, lung, brain, fat issues and blood, according to researchers.
Apelin is like a stabilizer. When blood pressure elevates, apelin can help stabilize the level and bring it down, which is similar to how it helps combat inflammation in the lungs and bring more ease to breathing.
Researchers found that deadly adult respiratory distress syndrome — or ARDS — can drop peptide’s level to nearly zero in blood samples, but when CBD is applied, the peptide’s level increased about 20 times.
In short: Researchers believe CBD can help combat COVID-19 cases.
“Apelin may have utility as a prognostic and predictive biomarker to categorize the risk of deterioration and disease progression,” researchers wrote in their conclusion. “Of similar importance, apelin may serve a powerful and sensitive role as a pharmacodynamic biomarker, providing a biological readout to monitor the efficacy of a therapeutic intervention.
“Given that apelin is also a substrate for ACE2, these findings may be particularly relevant to the management of COVID‐19.”