Review: Clinical Evidence Lacking in Support of CBD as an Anti-Viral Agent

Varese, Italy: There is an absence of clinical data supporting the efficacy of CBD as an antiviral agent, according to a systematic literature review published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

A team of researchers from Italy and the United Kingdom performed a systematic review of peer-reviewed papers specific to the application of CBD in viral diseases. They reported “circumstantial evidence” suggesting that CBD may possess antiviral activity in a limited number of conditions, specifically in the treatment of hepatitis C and Karposi sarcoma. However, this preliminary finding was based solely upon the interpretation of preclinical data. By contrast, authors reported that there exists “no evidence from properly designed clinical trials to support the use of CBD for the treatment” of these or other conditions, such as the flu, West Nile virus, Ebola, or common cold viruses.

Yet, despite this lack of clinical data, authors identified numerous commercial websites touting CBD as a clinically beneficial antiviral agent. They reported, “Claims about the benefits of using CBD on viral infections were largely supported by CBD online retailers and most often appear to be a biased interpretation of the scientific literature or a dishonest manipulation of the information for commercial purposes.”

They concluded: “CBD sellers should stop promoting claims that are not backed by scientific evidence. Misleading claims represent both a threat to public health and a violation of consumer access to accurate information.”

In recent days, NORML has issued multiple warnings cautioning people to beware of online misinformation surrounding the use of either whole-plant cannabis or CBD as a potential remedy for the COVID-19 virus. Specifically, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri has stated: “If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is. During these difficult times, we encourage people to be skeptical of any unsubstantiated claims, particularly those circulating online, surrounding the use of cannabis or any other uncorroborated treatment for COVID-19.”

Full text of the study, “Cannabidiol for viral diseases: Hype or hope?” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.