New Canadian Research on CBD and ACE2 Receptors
We've been asked by many of our visitors to help decipher the newest research out of Canada on CBD and ACE2 receptors which are riding a sea of unusual popularity now.
A more general review of CBD and immune response to virus covers more general strokes but we actually have new research specific to the SARS class of viruses.
To be fair, the FDA has not cleared CBD to treat, mitigate, or in any way, address viral infections.
This study out of Canada does not do this either.
We do not have research specific to CBD and the current virus of import at this time.
So...what does the research say.
First, the study is here:
The PDF link has much more detail.
Essentially, they found that cannabis strains high in CBD had an impact on specific pathways that the SARS class of viruses is very effective in using to gain entry to our cells.
Specifically ACE2 receptors and TMPRSS2.
These were effects in a test tube (called in vitro), not in a living body (in vivo).
This study didn't specifically look at CBD's effects on the SARS family of viruses, only the means by which it gains access.
It's important to understand this is only a preliminary study with more follow up required.
Let's look at the study! First, we have to reduce some jargon.
Quick primer on ACE2 and TMPRSS2
The reason covid19 dominates headlines partially comes from a unique trick it has learned along the way.
This newest addition to the SARS class of coronaviruses is very adept at accessing our cells via the ACE2 receptor.
ACE2 is short for angiotensin-converting enzyme (the 2nd one).
It plays a major role in managing blood pressure.
Simply put, angiotensin is the chemical that constricts our vascular system when needed.
This consequently makes it a big target for blood pressure meds:
- ACE2 inhibitors
- ARB - Ace receptor blockers
To make matters worse, these receptors are very common in the lungs which is perfect if you're a virus and want to spread via coughs and sneezes.
Interestingly covid19 is more adept at entering human ACE2 receptors than those of other animals (hence, the questions on how it arose).
TMPRSS2 is more obscure but adds to covid19's success rate:
While ACE2 is the receptor for viral entry, TMPRSS2 primes viral spike proteins, and is therefore crucial for SARS-CoV2 entry into host cells.
Spikes are the little arms that protrude from a virus to help it attached and gain entry to our cell.
Some of the vaccines might actually have only the spikes when they come online.
Just enough to trigger a response by our immune system and this might do it.
So….let's look at their study.
High CBD strains of cannabis results on ACE2 and TMPRSS2
Here's the main effect:
Screening C. Sativa extracts using artificial human 3D models of oral, airway, and intestinal tissues, we identified 13 high CBD C. Sativa extracts that modulate ACE2 gene expression and ACE2 protein levels.
To simplify this, they found that CBD downregulated ACE2 receptor activity by up to 70%.
We're not surprised since one of the side effects for CBD is lowered blood pressure.
Remember angiotensin (the player in ACE2 receptors) increases blood pressure.
Interestingly, they saw the effect down to the genetic level.
So...what do they say in terms of the covid19 disease specifically?
Modulation of ACE2 levels in these gateway tissues may prove a plausible strategy for decreasing disease susceptibility.
This research didn't look at the effects on CBD or cannabis on the disease itself...only a pathway by which the virus gains access to our bodies.
Research is needed on CBD specifically in patients with covid19 (or before they acquire it - preventatively) to see if there is any benefit.
They also stated it might be looked at as an adjunct or layered-on option potentially.
This is still very preliminary and we await further research.
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.