COVID-19 & CBD: Fact vs. Fiction

Written by Loren Devito, PhD

In just a few weeks, life has changed dramatically for people around the world. Together we are facing a pandemic, the likes of which we haven’t experienced in modern times. While some countries are starting to get a handle on the havoc this virus has caused, others are just beginning to see its effects and scrambling to contain its spread. Many of you reading this right now may be under “shelter-in-place” or similar ordinances, with the lucky ones working remotely and others wondering how they’ll pay rent after losing their jobs.

Due to the fast pace of spread and uncertainty of severity among those infected, we all have questions. And the media is trying to keep us updated as quickly as possible, but–as we all know–misinformation spreads rapidly in the digital age. We hope you’ve come to view our publication as one that holds itself up to the highest standards of scientific integrity, as the cannabidiol (CBD) industry must combat misinformation daily.

And you may have seen some CBD myths popping up as the panic over of the virus spreads–anything from the ability of CBD to “cure” COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) to CBD-infused hand sanitizers. While over hyped CBD claims are always problematic, it can be very dangerous during times like these when fear takes hold and our instincts kick in, leaving us vulnerable.

So let’s review a few basics about COVID-19 and considerations for CBD/cannabis use right now:

COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus similar to SARs. This novel coronavirus was first detected in a city of China called Wuhan, where it quickly spread to infect thousands of people within a short period of time. The virus is highly contagious and can be contracted in the air. Therefore, many governments have instituted “social distancing” measures, which may include keeping a space of six feet from others to slow the spread.

Symptoms of infection include fever, shortness of breath, and coughing. While the majority of people recover after contracting the virus, some will experience a more severe condition, which can result in death. It is currently unknown why certain people react differently to the virus but it appears that older people and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of severe symptoms and acquiring secondary infections.

There are no approved treatments that can cure COVID-19. While several clinical trials have recently been initiated, these studies will take months to evaluate medications. Therefore, if you think you may have contacted the virus or experience symptoms, it’s important to follow the CDC’s guidelines. You should not try to “cure” yourself at home with any medications mentioned in the news–including CBD.

CBD holds multiple beneficial properties that make it suitable to treat many different conditions. Therefore, if you are a CBD or cannabis user, there is no reason to discontinue treatment at this time–but there’s also no evidence that using CBD will prevent you from getting infected or treat your condition alone.

However, if you are using CBD or cannabis for other reasons, it’s important to let your healthcare provider know.

CBD and cannabis are broken down in the liver through a metabolite called CYP450. Various other medications are also broken down in this manner, meaning that CBD or cannabis could increase or decrease the effectiveness of those medications–that’s why we always encourage people to be honest with their healthcare provider so they understand how your CBD or cannabis use may react with other treatments.

As COVID-19 causes significant respiratory symptoms, you may want to consider different methods of CBD or cannabis consumption if you are a regular smoker. Even if you are symptom-free, it’s important to keep your lungs as healthy as possible. So it might be a good time to explore use of alternatives like edibles or topicals.

As businesses began to shutter in the face of lockdown, stores where you buy CBD may have opted to close temporarily. The good news is that many cities/states have deemed cannabis as an “essential” business, meaning that dispensaries can stay open. If you are unable or prefer not to venture out, contact your local dispensary or store to see if they deliver. Many different CBD brands can be ordered online as well–just remember to follow the usual guidelines when buying CBD.

Under more normal life conditions, CBD can greatly help alleviate anxiety and sleep problems. So it will likely provide greater relief now during a period of extreme distress. Daily CBD use may also help boost your immune system, since it possesses anti-inflammatory properties, thus keeping your body in balance.

Right now things are tough. We’re all looking for answers and swimming in choppy waters of uncertainty. But remember to be a savvy consumer and ignore misinformation on CBD. It is not a “cure” for COVID-19–but it may help alleviate anxiety and sleep problems associated with processing this pandemic and could help keep your immune system healthy.

Be well and take one day at a time. And, as always, tell your healthcare provider if you have started or are taking CBD or cannabis so they can provide you with the best care possible.

If you are spending a lot of time at home and are interested in learning more about CBD, cannabinoids, and terpenes, stay tuned to the blog, subscribe to our magazine (digital or print), and visit our sister publications, Terpenes & Testing and Extraction Magazine.

Image Source:

About the author

Loren Devito, PhD

Loren DeVito, PhD is a neuroscientist and science writer with expertise in cannabis science and medicine. She is committed to communicating evidence-based information about cannabis and its healing properties. Learn more about her work at