Several Israeli companies have been exploring what role CBD cand cannabis terpenes could play in fighting the coronavirus.

Public health officials have lamented that the rush to identify a reliable COVID-19 treatment has led to “desperation science,” marked by maverick experimentation and faulty research. And while skeptics may lump cannabis in with that description, early trial results indicate otherwise.

Several Israeli companies have been exploring what role CBD and cannabis terpenes could play in fighting the coronavirus. Researchers have reported that CBD’s anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties might provide key resistance against the coronavirus.

It has to do with the cytokine storm caused by COVID-19, which results in an inflammation hurricane in the respiratory system. A person’s immune system can overreact and the lungs can shut down in severe cases. The few therapeutic treatments that have worked, according to researchers in this month’s issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, have caused adverse side effects, including pancreatitis and increased risk of heart disease.

The researchers did note that CBD’s anti-inflammatory capabilities documented in previous studies are worthy of further exploration.

But Israeli researchers have found that combining CBD with cannabis terpenes could lead to far better results than CBD alone. Terpenes are known to provide marijuana’s aromatic properties, but also have reportedly shown therapeutic benefits on their own.

According to Forbes, the Israeli study found a combination of CBD and terpenes was three times more effective in stopping inflammation from running amok compared to the corticosteroid dexamethasone.

A recent study announced by the World Health Organization just reported that dexamethasone, a cheap steroid, improved a coronavirus patient’s chance of survival. Dexamethasone reduced deaths by 36 per cent among patients that needed breathing machines. The risk of death for those who only needed supplemental oxygen dropped 18 per cent.

cannabis and coronavirus

The combined CBD and terpene formula inhibited about 90 per cent of cytokines. / Photo: Getty Images

Getty Images

Israeli researchers in laboratory settings, meanwhile, tested dexamethasone against CBD treatment and a combined CBD and terpene formula. Dexamethasone inhibited cytokine activity by about 30 per cent. On the other hand, the combined CBD and terpene formula inhibited about 90 per cent of cytokines. Using CBD or terpenes alone resulted in a 75 to 80 per cent reduction in cytokines.

“The preliminary results were highly positive,” Nadav Eyal, lead researcher and data scientist, told Forbes. Eyal added that researchers are “demonstrating significant anti-inflammatory activity of terpenes and breaking the perception that terpenes are just flavourings and fragrances compounds with a placebo effect.”

Of note: This is still a clinical trial and it’s important not to crown CBD and terpenes as the coronavirus saviour just yet.

The study still requires completion and publication in a peer-reviewed journal before it has a chance of becoming a therapeutic treatment. But these early results do showcase cannabis as a possible and useful tool against COVID-19.


The, a U.S. lifestyle site that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.

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