Researchers in the United States have conducted a study showing that a cannabis plant compound inhibited infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in human lung cells.
SARS-CoV-2 is the agent responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that continues to sweep the globe posing a threat to global public health and the worldwide economy.
Marsha Rosner from the University of Chicago in Illinois and colleagues found that cannabidiol (CBD) and its metabolite 7-OH-CBD potently blocked SARS-CoV-2 replication in lung epithelial cells.
The CBD inhibited viral gene expression and reversed many of the effects the virus has on host gene transcription.
The compound also induced the expression of interferons – cell signaling proteins that are produced by host cells as an early response to viral invasion.
Furthermore, the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was up to an order of magnitude lower in a cohort of patients who had been taking CBD, compared with matched patients who had not been taking CBD.