As we begin nearing the “hopeful” end of the pandemic, people keep asking questions about how to not only boost your immune system QUICKLY but also, is there anything you can take that will kill viruses? Since this concerns everyone, it’s a legitimate question to wonder if CBD can kill viruses, boost the immune system, or help keep other potentially affected body functions operating at healthy levels. Let’s dive into the research and see if we can find any useful information.

According to New Frontier Data, Dr. Reggie Gaudino (Chief Science Adviser) reports that cannabinoids work well against bacteria, fungus, superbugs (MRSA), and also may have a role in helping certain viruses. Cannabinoids and the EndoCannabinoid System (ECS) are a type of master control system working through a secondary system of communication. The responsibility of the ECS is to use this messenger system to cause everything to come into balance. In order to figure out if CBD can kill viruses, we need to first understand the basics of both a virus and the human immune system. Let’s dive in.

Directly below is a video of the full life cycle of a virus. You’ll get to experience the first virus-cell, how it attaches to other cells, and then how it enters the cell. What’s remarkable about this extensive detailed video animation is the up-close look at the specific actions a virus takes in order to not only penetrate your cell but the entire process of entering the cell, traveling towards the nucleus (center), entering the nucleus and using the molecular materials to replicate. This video is nothing short of absolutely mind-blowing.

What’s the anatomy and lifecycle of a virus?

Some viruses are very simple, while other viruses are very complex. According to Molecular Cell Biology (Section 6.3) a virus is a tiny parasite that’s unable to reproduce on its own.

In order for a virus to replicate, it needs to infect a susceptible cell.

Once the virus infiltrates a cell, the virus is able to utilize the machinery in the cell to create more of the virus. 

Molecular Expressions provides interesting photos of various structures of certain viruses.

The above video shows a very technical process of what HIV looks like, its anatomy, and the entire lifecycle of the virus. 

Videos on the immune system.

These videos give you a quick understanding of what a virus looks like and how the body defends itself.

What are the different types of viruses?

types-of-viruses-and-anatomy

How does the immune system kill viruses?

According to the British Society For immunology, in order for a virus to survive and replicate, it needs to invade the host persons’ cells.

Once the virus gets inside of a cell, the immune system is not able to see the virus hiding.

Since the virus is able to quietly hide inside of healthy cells, the immune system initially doesn’t know it’s there.

In order for the human body to be able to detect the virus, the cells use a special system that lets the cells see what’s inside.

To allow other cells to see what’s inside, a certain molecule is used that displays various pieces of proteins — that are inside the cell — on the surface of the cell.

When the virus is inside of the cell, it has fragmented pieces of proteins, made by the virus, that is displayed.

One specific immune system cell is called the T cell and its job is to hunt for various infections.

There are several types of T cells, with one having the job of killing cells that have been infected with a virus.

One immune cell is called the cytotoxic T cells and it uses a special type of toxic mediator to kill virus-infected cells.

Of course, this is a super simple explanation of how the immune system kills viruses.

Viruses can be a lot more tricky due to their highly adaptable ability to continuously develop methods for avoiding detection from T cells.

Through various other complex processes and other types of immune cells, the cytotoxic immune cells work to find a way to enter the virus-infected cell.

One the cytotoxic cell is able to get certain enzymes into the virus-infected cell, this certain enzyme (granzyme) initiates a type of self-destruction mechanism.

This self-destruction mechanism is known as apoptosis and is a process that initiates a programmed death of the cell.

Another type of cytotoxin released goes to work by directly attacking the outside membrane of the virus-infected cell.

By attacking the external shell of the virus-infected cell, cytotoxin can eventually destroy the cell via a process called lysis.

Lysis is when the cell becomes disintegrated by the continual rupturing of the wall of the cell.

Throughout the process of attacking the virus-infected cell, the T cells performing direct action are simultaneously sending signals to neighboring cells to help enhance the total mechanism to kill.

A few more “easy” to understand ways the immune system kills viruses is by releasing a certain protein known as interferon.

Interferon performs several critical tasks involving the prevention of virus replication through direct interruption of the replication process.

Antibodies are another method the immune system removes viruses from the body.

These antibodies aim to remove the virus before its able to infect a cell. How antibodies work is through identifying the invading virus and then the antibodies stick to the virus.

Through antibodies binding (sticking) to these pathogens, they’re able to perform all sorts of technical functions to prevent and destroy the virus. 

How do cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system interact with viruses?

Cannabinoids, found in hemp and cannabis, are strong molecules that bind to various cellular receptors.

A primary cannabinoid receptor that cannabinoids bind to and trigger signaling is called G-Coupled Master Protein Receptors (GCPR).

This network of several hundreds of cannabinoid receptors is responsible for balance and cellular homeostasis through various interactions, modulations, and vast intracellular signaling networks. 

Through this complex network, cannabinoids and the hundreds of other plant-based chemicals go to work triggering responses that control numerous important cellular functions.

One important function of certain network pathways it tied into inflammation, of which, CBD provides substantial benefits. 

Currently, there’s only been in vitro and animal studies showing how some cannabinoids are effective against specific viruses.

Viruses that have been studied, in relation to cannabinoids, are hepatitis C (betacorona virus), HIV, SIV, herpes simplex virus (HSV), and the influenza virus.

What was found is was specific cannabinoids did in fact prevent the replication of a certain betacorona virus (MHV).

According to New Frontier Data, this finding warrants further investigation.

New Frontier Data continues explaining how, even though CBD can help some viruses, one primary role of CBD is to help reduce the inflammation some viruses need to use.

Some viruses use inflammation in order to not only take over the host body but also make it easier for the virus to transmit (replicate) itself to other cells to become infected. 

For the specific viruses requiring inflammation to be most effective, New Frontier Data suggests CBD can reduce the potential severity of the viral infection.

However, some viruses don’t use inflammation. Since some viruses don’t need to use inflammation to propagate, taking CBD can actually cause some suppression of the immune response, thus potentially making the virus more challenging to eliminate.

Due to the vast need for more specific research, there’s potential hope of finding a way to trigger the ECS, via specific cannabinoids, as a likely method of a potential potent antiviral.