Early research suggesting that a popular non-psychoactive compound derived from Marijuana could help prevent or treat Covid-19 warrant further investigation in rigorous clinical trials, say the researchers.
Several recent laboratory studies on cannabidiol, or CBD, have shown promising results, attracting media attention.
However, many other potential Covid-19 treatments that showed promise in test tubes, from hydroxychloroquine to various drugs used to treat cancer and other diseases, ultimately showed no benefit for Covid-19 patients once studied. in clinical trials.
Marsha Rosner of the University of Chicago, led a team that found that CBD seemed to help curb the SARS-CoV-2 in infected cells in laboratory experiments. “Our findings don’t say this is going to work in patients. Our findings make a strong case for doing a clinical trial,” he said.
Using small doses of highly purified CBD that approximate those patients receive in an oral medication already approved for severe epilepsy, Rosner and colleagues found that CBD did not prevent the coronavirus from infecting cells in test tubes.
Rather, it acted soon after the virus entered cells, preventing it from making copies of itself, in part through effects on the inflammatory protein interferon. They found similar effects in infected mice, according to a report published in Science Advances.
When they looked at a group of adults with severe epilepsy, the researchers found that those taking the approved drug containing CBD had lower rates of Covid-19. But a retrospective look at a small number of patients does not provide conclusive information. Only randomized clinical trials can do that, Rosner said.
“I know my message is not something that people want to hear,” he said.
His team found that small doses of tetrahidrocannabinol (THC) -the ingredient in marijuana causing psychoactive effects cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabicromina (CBC) y cannabigerol (CBG) did not keep the virus out of cells or prevent its replication.
“Not only did the THC not work, but the combination with the CBD prevented the CBD from working,” Rosner said.