A large body of research indicates that cannabidiol (CBD) is effective at treating symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions. Research has even suggested that it could be an effective treatment for cytokine storms, a potentially severe condition in which the immune system overreacts to an infection and begins harming healthy cells. The phenomenon of cytokine storm has become far more well known among the general public in 2020 because it frequently plays a causal role in one of the most potentially fatal complications associated with COVID-19: acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS occurs when fluid builds up in the lungs’ alveoli, which prevents sufficient oxygen from reaching the bloodstream.
Early reports of a research team led by Dr. Babak Baban of the Dental College of Georgia and Medical College of Georgia noted that CBD had the ability to improve oxygen levels in the blood, reduce lung inflammation, and even heal some of the damage to lungs following a case of ARDS, but the mechanism of action was unclear. Continued studies by the same team have led to the discovery that CBD appears to reduce inflammation by increasing levels of the peptide apelin. Their most recent findings appeared in in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
In normal conditions, apelin serves as a regulator to calm inflammation and reduce blood pressure. However, in their murine models, they observed that ARDS led to precipitous drops in the level of apelin in the blood, and that the peptide failed to perform either protective function. Following the administration of CBD, apelin levels increased twentyfold. More research is needed to determine if COVID or CBD have a direct impact on apelin levels or if the observed phenomena are downstream effects.
Read the study here.