Headaches, sore throat or body aches, cough or heaving, runny or stuffy nose, overall terror in the arms of health these days it can seem. With the novel coronavirus, people are obviously concerned about what we can actually do to offset certain flu and cold symptoms.
Of course, CBD isn’t on the radar for easing symptoms of COVID-19, but there are some interesting findings for what CBD molecules can do for the seemingly endless list of flu symptoms. Typically, we can recover from the flu after a long 7 days, but what can you do other than suffer through it?
Symptoms for the flu can feel endless, but we will pick the ones that associate with CBD the best, for now. The most common symptoms for the flu are:
- Chills, body aches, muscle fatigue
- Dehydration, fever, loss of appetite
- Runny nose, nasal congestion
- Headaches, chest congestion, sore throat, and the possible development of pneumonia.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that from October 1, 2019, through March 21, 2020, there have been at least 38-54 million flu cases. Of these, there have only been roughly 400-730 thousand hospitalizations, with 24-62 thousand deaths. The CDC acknowledges that there are missing numbers here because of how the flu is often self-diagnosed and followed with isolation. However, the burden brought by the flu is regularly monitored.
Surprisingly, there hasn’t been much observation of the economic impact the influenza virus has each year. One publication on the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI) viewed the strain on 3143 counties in 2010. The cost included spatial patterns, loss of life, medical care, and much more. They found that the annual economic costs of influenza varied from $13.9 thousand to $957.5 million across US counties, with a median of $2.47 million.
Economic downfalls brought on by infamous outbreaks such as the 1918 pandemic, or of course the Spanish Flu outbreak, are nothing new. Researchers are finding ways to best fight against outbreaks in the most cost-efficient way as well.
CBD for the Flu?
First off, it should go without saying that inhalation of smoke while you have a sore throat or congested lungs will only make it worse. In fact, smoke causes the membranes in your lungs to produce more mucus, so avoiding this will help your symptoms over time. This is where CBD really shows off one of its appealing aspects. CBD, unlike THC, is non-psychoactive, so you won’t get “high” by using it. Most of the time, CBD comes in oil form, so you can still enjoy the medical benefits from cannabis.
CBD, known as cannabidiol, works through what is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is part of our central nervous system and works to metabolize the many kinds of cannabinoids by latching onto receptors called CB1 and CB2. Receptors are primarily found in the brain, but a plethora of cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, including the liver, pancreas, bone marrow, and digestive tract. This is why researchers believe CBD is so multifunctional, unlike many other drugs.
CBD has some very interesting medicinal properties related to the flu. First off, it’s an anti-inflammatory, and this is critical in cutting down excess fluids in the lungs or nasal passages. One such publication by the NCBI suggests the family of cannabinoids can cut down on viral infections this way.
Additionally, CBG (cannabigerol), another cannabinoid in Full Spectrum products, is known to kill certain bacteria. This is particularly appealing to researchers for secondary infections brought on by the flu.
There is also the quality of life improvements brought on by CBD, which is beneficial almost everywhere, but particularly for those suffering from the flu. CBD is strongly studied for its antiemetic properties. Nausea and vomiting are not uncommon at all for people with the flu. Luckily, the CBD receptors mentioned earlier are also found extensively in the digestive tract, which is a reason researchers are understanding how CBD is an antiemetic.
As far as appetite goes, well, it goes out the door with the flu. Dehydration and malnutrition are fatal for the most vulnerable people with the flu. With all of the nausea and vomiting that can occur, eating is often the last thing you’d want to do. Luckily, both CBD and CBG are actually appetite stimulants. This is data found in many studies as well, as the addition of CBD can increase appetite up to 2x in patients with HIV or even eating disorders.
Sleep is critical for our well-being. Sleep lets our bodies’ immune system recover and continue fighting the flu virus. Obviously it’s easier said than done, though. With all of these symptoms we just covered, sleep can be a real chore in these times. The second leading cause for people using CBD today is for insomnia and improved sleep quality (the first being anxiety/mood). And this is backed up by our data as well, as CBD is a strong contender in defeating chronic insomnia. Through our ECS, cannabinoids actively work to monitor the neurological imbalances, of which insomnia is a prime example.
There are some credible studies suggesting CBD can help headaches as well, but this is largely conducted on mice and non-clinical trials. The remainder of research for CBD as a migraine treatment is an assessment of anecdotal data from surveys.
There have been multiple publications pleading for the increase in research for CBD. Clinical trials for CBD are far too few, and a lot of them are for finding out its anticonvulsant properties for seizures. However, there are many researchers that believe in some of the properties that cannabinoids (such as CBD and CBG) can help ease some of the symptoms brought on by the influenza virus.
CBD has been approved by the FDA, but only in certain anticonvulsant medications for strongly impacted epileptic patients. If you are someone dreading the flu season each year, which seems to be getting longer and longer, consider CBD as a safety net! Perhaps the 7 day average of being sick can feel a bit shorter from the improvement of sleep/nausea.
If you are considering CBD, consult your physician first, as studies have shown how CBD interacts with other medications. The scope of this article is to inform, but also provide a safe and legal place to purchase CBD/CBG products.
*Disclaimer* We are in no way saying CBD is a cure for any other ailments listed. This article aimed to provide current research, not to give medical advice.*