In a research paper published in the recent edition of the highly respected Pharmacognosy Research Journal, Dr. Lowe – an adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), concludes that CBD (extracted from marijuana and hemp) demonstrates significant antiviral properties against the Hepatitis C Virus in vitro, and Hepatitis B in vivo.
A cost effective treatment for the more than 3 million Americans who suffer from the hepatitis C virus (HCV) may now be on the horizon. Researchers have discovered that the phytochemical CBD inhibits HCV. HCV is the leading cause of liver cancer, an aggressive cancer with a high mortality rate that will kill more than 20,000 in the U.S. this year alone.
Most studies on CBD focus on the powerful anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and anti-oxidant properties of the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD). As a result, little has been researched regarding the anti-viral activity of CBD. That is, until now.
When Dr. Lowe combined CBD and HCV in the lab, he discovered that the CBD isolate inhibited replication of HCV by as much 86.4% with a single application.
These direct antiviral effects indicate that CBD could be effective against both viral and nonviral hepatitis – known as autoimmune hepatitis. Since CB2 receptors are present in immune and immune-derived cells, their activation is highly likely to influence viral infections by enhancing the way our body fights against the hepatitis virus. By modulating the body’s CB2 receptors, CBD helps bolster our own immune response – to better fight off a viral infection.
Dr. Lowe observed no antiviral effects of CBD on the hepatitis B virus (HBV) in vitro. However, a review of clinical research indicates that CBD may prove to be antiviral against HBV in vivo – through CB2 receptor modulation – thereby facilitating host immune processes to modulate immune responses to both HCV and HBV.
A cure for Hepatitis C already exists. The problem is that costs nearly $100,000 for a full 12 week course of medication. These new HCV drugs can reduce the viral load to zero with limited side-effects, but the costs are prohibitive for most.
Only more research will determine the efficacy of CBD in treating and preventing hepatitis. Stay tuned to the CBD Medical Journal for the latest on CBD antiviral research, and much, much more about the emerging therapeutic effects of CBD.
Dr. Lowe, in addition to his teaching position at UMSOM, is also the founder of three biotech companies and the Bio-Tech R&D Institute, also holds several postdoctoral studies from Harvard and M.I.T.