Can CBD Help Fight COVID & Flu Viruses?

Can CBD Help Fight COVID & Flu Viruses?

As winter arrives and the COVID and flu season begins to take hold, keeping our immune systems strong is more important than ever--and Serenital’s CBD products are here to help. Though CBD is by no means a self-sufficient treatment for COVID-19 or the flu, studies show that cannabinoids may bolster more effective immune responses, while CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may aid in symptom management for those already infected.

Since 2020, various studies have emerged exploring CBD’s therapeutic properties in relation to COVID and the flu. And though and following other, precautionary measures recommended by the CDC and your doctor, the results of these clinical trials have been promising. One recent study suggested that COVID patients who reported using cannabinoids exhibited milder symptoms and better immune responses after diagnosis. In another study published in 2022, researchers found that compounds such as CBD and CBG may bolster immunity by blocking COVID (or Sars COV-2) viruses from entering human cells. 

These COVID-specific studies are merely recent additions to decades of research suggesting that CBD may benefit the immune system while offering therapeutic properties that may be useful for managing symptoms associated with viruses such as COVID and the flu. 

But how can CBD help you stay healthy during COVID and flu season, and which Serenital products should you use to strengthen immunity or relieve symptoms? Read on to learn more about the effectiveness of CBD for immune system support and symptom management.

Does CBD Enhance Immunity? 

For years, researchers have suggested that CBD may strengthen the immune system through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS is a network of cannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters that spread throughout the body, and many of these receptors--specifically, CB2 receptors--are heavily concentrated on immune cells. Researchers have long suspected that “the presence of cannabinoid receptors on the cells of the immune system” suggests that CBD “has potent immuno-modulatory effects.”  When ingested, cannabinoids bind with CB2 receptors, and for this reason, scientists have suggested that compounds such as CBD may support or strengthen the immune system. 

CBD as an Immunomodulator

Through its interaction with receptors on immune system cells, CBD is suggested to function as an immunomodulator. Immunomodulators are substances that adjust your immune system to respond more effectively to certain illnesses and pathogens. Studies suggest that cannabinoids such as CBD function as “local modulators of immune reactions” and are “believed to control immune functions and play a role in immune homeostasis.” (Pandey 2009) Immune homeostasis refers to a state of internal balance in which the immune system remains stable despite changing external factors--including pathogenic exposure. 

CBD is suggested to perform various functions as an immunomodulator, including:

  • Modulating T-Cell Function. Studies suggest that CBD helps the immune system regulate T-cells, which are crucial in the immune system’s response to infectious agents. 
  • Regulating Immune System Pathways. CBD has also been shown to inhibit the activation of certain signaling pathways involved in immune system response, including NF-kB pathways, which are involved in both inflammation and immunity. 
  • Cytokine Regulation. Researchers suggest that CBD may regulate the immune system’s release of cytokines, which are signaling molecules that play an important role in the body’s immune response. 

  • Through these mechanisms, CBD is believed to have beneficial effects “within the context of immunological cellular function.” 

    Indirect Benefits for Immunity

    CBD may also benefit immunity indirectly, supporting other bodily processes whose proper function is crucial to staying healthy. Various lifestyle factors impact our body’s ability to defend itself against certain pathogens, and by establishing balance in body and mind, CBD may positively influence these factors to support our body’s overall health--which is, of course, fundamental to immune system health. These factors include: 

  • Sleep. Decades of research support CBD’s benefits for sleep, suggesting CBD helps establish balanced sleeping cycles while improving the quality and quantity of sleep we receive. Healthy sleep plays an important role in our immune defenses; during sleep, the body replenishes infection-fighting antibodies and important immune cells, which are crucial during COVID and flu season.
  • Stress. Stress can also have detrimental impacts on the immune system since it diverts the use of bodily resources typically used to fight against foreign pathogens. By reducing stress, CBD may indirectly support immunity in various contexts--including our body’s ability to fight off viruses such as COVID and the flu.

  • CBD for COVID, Flu Symptom Management

    Recent research has also suggested that CBD may aid in symptom management for those infected with COVID or the flu. Of course, when it comes to treating COVID, the flu, or any other illness, you should always follow the advice of your healthcare provider--especially if your case becomes severe.

    With that said, CBD offers various therapeutic properties that may be helpful for managing COVID and flu symptoms and for helping those infected stay comfortable. These include:

    • Anti-Inflammatory Benefits. For years, studies have suggested that CBD and CBG are potent anti-inflammatory agents, which is critical to immunity and the body’s responses to COVID, cold, and flu viruses. Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response to pathogenic agents, but occasionally, the immune system can overreact, causing excessive inflammation that can lead to more severe symptoms or complications in those infected with COVID or the flu. By suppressing inflammation, CBD may be useful for managing symptoms associated with these viruses, and in keeping mild cases from escalating further.
    • Immune System Regulation. Though we typically think of the immune system as our main defense against viruses, sometimes it can actually exacerbate the symptoms of the infection we’re experiencing. In certain cases, the immune system overreacts to the presence of viruses, flooding the body with pro-inflammatory cytokines that can create serious complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Recent studies suggest that CBD may reduce these “cytokine storms”, or, at the very least, reduce the severity of symptoms associated with an overactive immune system.

    In addition to managing complications, CBD can also help infected individuals stay more comfortable during infection by providing: 

  • Cough Suppression. Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, CBD may help suppress coughing and other mild respiratory symptoms associated with COVID and the flu. 
  • Digestive Support & Nausea. CBD may also provide digestive support during infection by binding with CB2 receptors found in the intestinal tract, which could make CBD useful for reducing digestive discomfort and other GI issues brought on by COVID or the flu--as well as for preventing nausea.
  • Aches & Pains. Given their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, CBD and CBG may also help reduce the aches and pains associated with the flu and other viruses.

  • Which Serenital Products Should I Use During COVID & Flu Season?

    Whether you’re looking to boost your immune system or relieve the symptoms of COVID or the flu, we recommend starting with one of Serenital’s CBD oil tinctures, which provide fast-acting, long-lasting support to maintain overall health on a day-to-day basis. For those looking to take immune system support one step further, try adding a CBG Tincture to your routine. Like CBD, CBG interacts with CB2 receptors on immune system cells and can enhance the support that CBD provides. And if you’ve already come down with COVID or the flu, CBG may be especially beneficial for symptoms such as digestive discomfort and GI issues. 

    If you’re already infected, you can reduce aches and pains with one of Serenital’s CBD topicals, which can be applied locally to ease discomfort. Finally, for coughs or itchy throats, we recommend our CBD Throat Spray, which incorporates peppermint and menthol to soothe irritation and moisturize dry throats.

    In addition to our tinctures and topicals, don't overlook the comforting relief our Sport Balm can provide during the colder months. Much like the well-known Vics Vapor Rub, our Sport Balm contains key ingredients that offer decongestant-like benefits, making it an excellent choice for easing chest congestion. Many of our friends and family members have found it to be a fantastic alternative, especially since it's free from petroleum and enriched with beneficial extras that enhance its effects. Plus, including a significant amount of CBD adds to its soothing capabilities. Simply rub it onto your chest, just as you would with traditional vapor rubs, to help clear the airways and enjoy a more comfortable, congestion-free season.