Cannabidiol (CBD) is known to have potent antibiotic properties but can it protect against viruses too? The answer is yes, but not in the way you think.
Viruses are tiny germs that can cause disease. Most Australians have experienced a viral infection in the form of a cold or flu and they can also cause more serious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS.
There isn’t much scientific evidence that CBD can fight viruses head-on. However, it can help indirectly by reducing inflammation and helping you maintain a strong immune system.
Read on for research-backed ways that CBD can help protect you against viruses.
Does CBD Have Antiviral Properties?
Antivirals are substances that can directly fight viruses by preventing them from attaching to cells, replicating, and through other effects. Research into CBD’s potential antiviral properties is still in its early stages.
Some studies have shown that CBD can counteract certain viruses. For example, a 2017 study found that CBD inhibited the replication of the hepatitis C virus by 86% but had no effect on hepatitis B.
Meanwhile, a 2012 study found that CBD reduced the growth and promoted the death of skin cells infected with the Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), which causes skin cancer.
These early findings are promising. However, CBD only seems to work against certain viruses and there isn’t enough evidence to recommend its use as an antiviral medication.
CBD and Viruses: The Benefits
Rather than fighting viruses directly, where CBD really shines is its secondary effects, such as reduction of inflammation and anxiety. Let’s take a closer look at how these benefits can help protect you against viral infection.
CBD and The Immune System
The immune system is the body’s main line of defence against viruses. CBD can help keep your immune system strong in multiple ways.
For starters, CBD can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep problems, with a growing number of clinical studies backing its effectiveness. Being chronically stressed, anxious, or sleep-deprived weakens your immune system and makes you more susceptible to infections. As such, improving these issues by using CBD oil and related products can indirectly strengthen your immunity.
CBD might also be able to directly benefit your immune system. Although more research in this area is needed, the current understanding is that CBD and other cannabinoids work to bring balance to your immune system by normalizing its function.
This means they can suppress parts of the immune system that are overactive while stimulating those that are too weak. This explains why CBD holds much potential in the treatment of autoimmune disorders.
For example, as we already touched on earlier, CBD can reduce inflammation — a process controlled by the immune system — by suppressing the release of proinflammatory molecules. It’s also possible that it might have other benefits such as affecting the number of white blood cells, but more research is needed.
CBD and Inflammation
Viruses are known to cause systemic inflammation and some even require it to continue spreading, which means CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can help.
For example, a 2013 study found that CBD protected mice against the effects of brain inflammation caused by Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV).
By lowering inflammation, CBD can reduce the severity of a viral infection and make it easier for your immune system to fight it off.
Using CBD Oil for Viruses
High-quality human studies are needed to confirm CBD’s antiviral properties. Nonetheless, there’s already evidence that CBD can protect us against viral infections indirectly by reducing inflammation and supporting a healthy, strong immune system.
When it comes to CBD, full-spectrum CBD oil is the best option for virus protection. Full-spectrum extracts contain all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, fatty acids, and other beneficial compounds found in hemp.
These components work together in synergy, resulting in greater benefits than isolated CBD. Better yet, there’s some research evidence that terpenes found in hemp have antiviral properties.
Australians interested in buying full-spectrum CBD oil can find many options online. It’s highly recommended that you choose CBD oils backed by independent third-party lab tests verifying their potency.
CBD tinctures are best used regularly because they support the healthy functioning of your endocannabinoid system, which regulates essential processes such as sleep, pain, brain function, immunity, inflammation, appetite, digestion, and mood.