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Cannabidiol reduces COVID-19 induced inflammation, researchers say

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The cytokine storm — considered one of the most deadly side effects of COVID-19 — may be alleviated by CBD oil by causing the release of one of the body’s natural proteins known to reduce inflammation, scientists say.

A cytokine is an immune cell and is designed to protect the body by fighting against viruses and bacteria. But when too many cytokines latch onto a foreign agent — in this case the coronavirus — the result is what scientists call a cytokine storm. Instead of defending the body, the cytokines start to attack it, resulting in systemic inflammation affecting organs such as the lungs, kidneys, heart and brain. 

However, according to researchers from the Medical College of Georgia, when COVID-19 infected patients were given CBD, the anti-inflammatory protein apelin was released. The result? Any level of existing inflammation returned to normal. 

Researchers also reported CBD is associated with improved patient oxygen levels and repaired lung damage. This, they say, is the first connection between CBD and its potential to treat COVID-19 induced inflammation.

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 5 years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets. You can follow her on Instagram @reportergillis and Facebook @DrMaryGillis.