Cannabidiol as a potential COVID-19 treatment

The Rosner Lab is pleased to announce our latest finding on bioRxiv (currently in peer-review): Cannabidiol Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Replication and Promotes the Host Innate Immune Response. We demonstrate that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive product of the cannabis plant, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 viral replication. CBD is a FDA-approved drug for an epilepsy disorder and is also used by millions of Americans as an alternative treatment for anxiety and other health conditions.

Key findings:

  • CBD acts after viral entry to block viral replication as demonstrated by loss of the viral spike protein and loss of viral RNA.
  • CBD induces expression of interferon genes involved in the host innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2 but inhibits viral-induced cytokine expression that could lead to a deleterious cytokine storm.
  • CBD inhibits replication of at least one other coronavirus, MHV, raising the possibility that it may inhibit other pathogenic human coronaviruses that could arise in the future.
  • A metabolite of CBD, 7-OH-CBD, is an effective inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 at a concentration comparable to that in human plasma after patients took an FDA-approved CBD oral solution.
  • Analysis of a cohort of patients taking FDA-approved CBD showed up to a 10-fold decreased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to a matched set of control patients.


We do not recommend self-administration of CBD. We also cannot recommend any particular products. We advocate a clinical trial(s) to determine CBD’s effect in human patients. We also advocate a COVID-19 vaccine when one is eligible/doses are available.


9 thoughts on “Cannabidiol as a potential COVID-19 treatment

  1. […] The scientists looked at real-world data and did lab tests. They treated human lung cells with CBD for 2 hours before infecting them with SARS-CoV-2. Then, they left the cells for 48 hours while watching to see if the virus grew. The scientists found that CBD stops COVID spike protein genes from growing and spreading through your body, which helps to prevent the virus from spreading. They tried it again on three different types of COVIDs and got the same result. “The bottom line is that CBD can prevent infections, such as breakthrough infections. This might be the most useful application,” stated lead author Dr. Marsha Rosner, a professor at the University of Chicago in the Ben May Department for Cancer Researc… […]


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