Opportunities, Challenges and Pitfalls of Using Cannabidiol as an Adjuvant Drug in COVID-19
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection may lead to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) which, in turn, may be associated with multiple organ dysfunction. In this review, we present advantages and disadvantages of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid from the cannabis plant, as a potential agent for the treatment of COVID-19. CBD has been shown to downregulate proteins responsible for viral entry and to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication. Preclinical studies have demonstrated its effectiveness against diseases of the respiratory system as well as its cardioprotective, nephroprotective, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective and anti-convulsant properties, that is, effects that may be beneficial for COVID-19. Only the latter two properties have been demonstrated in clinical studies, which also revealed anxiolytic and antinociceptive effects of CBD (given alone or together with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which may be important for an adjuvant treatment to improve the quality of life in patients with COVID-19 and to limit post-traumatic stress symptoms. However, one should be aware of side effects of CBD (which are rarely serious), drug interactions (also extending to drugs acting against COVID-19) and the proper route of its administration (vaping may be dangerous). Clearly, further clinical studies are necessary to prove the suitability of CBD for the treatment of COVID-19.
Keywords: ACE2; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; cannabidiol; respiratory disease.