Research shows that the chemical compound CBD interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Find out if CBD (cannabidiol) can help to fight colds or the flu. ConsumerLab.com's answer explains.
CBD Oil for Colds – August 2022
Research shows that the chemical compound CBD interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) (7) . The ECS helps regulate functions of the nervous, cardiovascular, and immune systems (8) .
Scientists suggest CBD can attach to cannabinoid receptors, including CB1 and CB2 receptors, to suppress the inflammatory response (9) .
The authors of a 2008 study suggested that the body’s ECS affects sleep modulation (10) . Poor sleep quality can lower one’s immunity, affecting one’s vulnerability to common cold viruses (11) .
The ECS may also be connected to other bodily functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and energy metabolism (12) .
Why Are People Turning to CBD for Colds?
Inflammation that affects a person’s nose and throat in the upper respiratory tract causes the common cold (13) . Rhinoviruses most frequently cause the common cold (14) .
No cure exists for the common cold. Numerous people recover from it within ten days (15) . Natural remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) products are often used to manage symptoms of the common cold , such as sinus infections.
Common natural remedies include homemade chicken soup, which may help ease symptoms of respiratory tract infections, according to a 2000 study implemented by the University of Nebraska Medical Center (16) .
Research and Studies on CBD for Colds
Studies show that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and analgesic propertie s (17) . It may benefit the common cold, which results from nose and throat inflammation and induces pain, such as headaches or sore throat.
A 2010 study administered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) produced mixed results based on the particular virus es involved, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)-1 and HSV-2 (18) .
The researchers noted that cannabinoids may help with persistent viral infections. Cannabinoids are a specific group of chemical compounds that contain active components of the cannabis plant.
However, the researchers also noted that the chemical compounds may weaken a person’s natural immune function.
Individuals with cold or flu-like symptoms that believe their illness is more severe than the common cold or flu should seek medical attention immediately.
For example, while COVID-19 shares some symptoms with influenza, coronavirus disease is a severe respiratory illness that may require hospitalization (19) .
Pros and Cons: Can CBD Help with Colds?
- Studies show that CBD may improve sleep quality among people with anxiety problems (20) . People with poor sleep quality are more susceptible to the common cold (21) .
- CBD is not psychoactive, meaning CBD users do not experience mind-altering effects with CBD (22) .
- The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) promotes research on the possible medicinal uses of various cannabis strains (23) .
- No scientific evidence exists that CBD can directly reduce cold symptoms, such as a cough or runny nose.
- Vomiting and diarrhea are commonly observed side effects of CBD intake in humans (25) . People who experience these side effects should immediately see their doctor.
- The seizure medication Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved CBD product (26) .
Comparing CBD Oil and Alternative Treatments for Colds
Possible interventions to prevent the common cold include vitamin C, zinc, and probiotics (27) . These remedies may be alternatives to CBD products .
Data regarding vitamin C intake shows that the organic compound may lower the duration and severity of colds in study subjects (28) .
Zinc intake within 24 hours of the start of cold symptoms may reduce the severity and duration of colds in healthy human subjects (29) .
Studies show that probiotics may be beneficial in preventing upper respiratory tract infection (30) . Probiotics are live microorganisms with purported health benefits.
Cannabidiol similarly contains properties that may alleviate the common cold’s symptoms. Edible or topical CBD products infused with vitamin c, zinc, and probiotics may benefit individuals with colds.
How to Select the Right CBD for Colds
CBD comes in different types: CBD isolates, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum.
Full-spectrum CBD contains all naturally occurring compounds found in cannabis plants. It has high levels of cannabidiol and trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), flavonoids (plant metabolites), terpenes (aromatic compounds), and other minerals.
Meanwhile, b road-spectrum CBD contains similar contents as full-spectrum without the psychoactive compound THC.
Finally, CBD isolates contain pure cannabidiol and are usually sold as powder or crystals.
Consumers should choose only CBD products with the best quality to maximize the compound’s health and wellness benefits.
When purchasing high-quality CBD, consider the following:
- Industrial hemp is high in fiber yet low in THC content (31) .
- CBD legality varies from state to state.
Medical marijuana is legal in most states, while others have passed laws legalizing CBD based on stipulations, including the form, THC level, and usage (32) .
- Each CBD product should include a certificate of analysis (COA). The COA shows that a third-party laboratory tested the product.
CBD Dosage for the Flu and Colds
The FDA has not officially approved a CBD dosage guide. Human clinical trials on CBD, however, may provide insight for safe and reliable CBD doses.
One study used a daily dose of CBD to treat anxiety, which produced sufficient clinical response (33) . CBD produced few reported side effects and was well tolerated.
A 2021 review reported that high doses of CBD up to 1,500 mg per day are well tolerated in human subjects (34) .
How to Take CBD Hemp Oil for Colds
Taking CBD hemp through tinctures allows people to measure the amount of cannabidiol they use.
CBD oil drops are put under the tongue using a dropper. The oil is held there for 30 to 60 seconds before swallowing.
Consuming CBD gummies, tablets, and capsules is another straightforward way to consume CBD. They also come in predetermined CBD doses for consumers’ convenience.
Vaping gets CBD into the system quickly. However, vaping is not a recommended form of CBD administration for colds.
A 2008 study showed that cigarette smoke could worsen viral infections, including influenza (35) .
What Are Colds and the Flu?
Colds and the flu are both classified as contagious respiratory illnesses caused by viruses. The influenza virus causes the flu, while several viruses can cause the common cold (36) .
Common flu symptoms indicating the effects of an immune response include (37) :
- Sore throat
- Stuffy nose or runny nose
- Body aches
The flu sometimes leads to influenza deaths. Experts estimate that the flu causes approximately 23,600 deaths in the United States every year (38) .
The flu and cold can also have similar symptoms, which can make it difficult to distinguish them. The flu is generally more severe than colds (39) .
How Do People Get Colds and the Flu?
The colds and the flu viruses can spread from person to person, often through the air. Infected individuals are contagious for several days after they have fallen ill.
One can catch viruses like influenza when someone near them is coughing or sneezing (40) .
Viruses continuously mutate to breach the body’s immune system’s defenses. Antibiotics designed for bacteria produce n o effect on viruses (41) .
Viruses ca n stay alive on hard, non-porous surfaces for 24 to 48 hours (42) . People can become infected by touching something the virus is on, like a phone, pen, or doorknob, and then touch their nose or mouth.
How Do Colds Impact Infected Individuals?
Viruses are microscopic infectious agents coated with thin layers of protein (43) .
The cold or flu viruses cannot reproduce by themselves. They use human cells to replicate themselves.
Once the virus infiltrates a human cell, it utilizes the cell to clone itself. After the cell breaks, the virus seeks a new cell or combines with the cell’s DNA.
The virus moves through the process of genetic duplication (mitosis) and cellular division (cytokinesis).
Why Let a Cold Run Its Course?
Viruses that produce colds and the flu affect weak cells with many toxins (44) . The body would prefer to rid itself of these cells in some ways.
A cold or the flu, however, is a natural event. It identifies, destroys, and eliminates damaged cells. Thus, one remedy is to let the cold run its course.
Common Flu Treatments
Flu vaccines develop antibodies two weeks after an individual is vaccinated (45) . The antibodies protect an individual from influenza infections.
Meanwhile, antiviral medications target a range of viruses, including influenza viruses (46) .
It is critical to wash one’s hands frequently during the flu season, especially before eating or touching the eyes, mouth, or nose. Avoiding sick people can also help stop the flu from spreading.
CBD may have antibacterial properties and anti-inflammatory effects and properties that may benefit individuals with colds (47) .
The chemical compound may help reduce chronic pain and inflammation (48) .
CBD studies conducted by organizations such as the University of Colorado yielded promising results (49) .
Still, researchers have conducted no direct studies on CBD and colds. People interested in trying CBD products for colds should first seek medical advice from a doctor.
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Although CBD (cannabidiol) is sometimes promoted to help reduce the symptoms of colds and the flu, there are no published studies investigating these effects in people. Some preliminary research in animals suggests that CBD (and THC) may actually hinder the immune system’s response to certain infections. For details, see the What It Does section of the CBD and Hemp Extracts Supplements Review.
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