CBD and Ebola
By David Allen, MD, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon (retired)
Medical Director, Cannabis Sativa, Inc.
There is good scientific evidence that cannabinoids, and in particular Cannabidiol (CBD), may offer control of the immune system and in turn provide protection from viral infections (4). Cannabis has already been recognized to inhibit fungus and bacteria and can be considered a new class of antimicrobials because of the different mechanism of action from other antimicrobials. (1)
Ebola is a complex RNA viral organism that causes the cell to engulf it by pinocytosis, and then the virus hijacks the cell to replicate itself. This replication can involve many mutations in the RNA code that make it difficult to impossible to create an effective vaccine. There are U.S. Patents showing evidence that Cannabinoids have significant anti-viral activity. (3) (4)
Normally any virus infected cells will produce surface proteins that are identified as foreign. The Immune system attacks these cells when the surface protein is identified as foreign. The Ebola virus infection causes the cell to produce proteins that hide the virus from the immune system. The viral proteins are sterically shielded, i.e. “hidden” from view, thereby hindering cellular (and thus viral) destruction by the immune system. This mechanism allows the RNA virus to hide the infected cell by shielding it from view from the immune system.
The cause of death by this virus is the body’s own immune response to the viral infection. This is what causes the mortality and morbidity of this infection.
Subsequently, the virus triggers the immune killer cells to release the enzymes (cytokines) they hold. This release of enzymes causes other lymphocyte to release even more Cytokines in a Storm of release. This is properly termed a Cytokine Storm.
- Causes small blood clots to form in all arterioles, called; DIC or Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation.
- Causes a massive Coagulopathy where the blood will not to clot properly simultaneously with the DIC (Bleeding and clotting occur at the same time.)
- Toxic Shock Syndrome occurs when the cytokines release causes the blood vessels to dilate to such an extent that a shock state exists.
Cannabinoids are proven to reduce and prevent Toxic Shock and DIC (2)
The Ebola virus also attacks the adhesions between cells caused by the immune Killer cells to release of VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) which result in the destruction of the Tight Junction between cells and causes a fluid leakage between cells until bleeding occurs. The inhibition of VEGF by cannabinoids prevent the cellular junctions from hemorrhage.
Cannabinoids Inhibit VEGF and inhibit Glioma brain tumors growth by this mechanism. (6)
It is reasonable to predict that inhibition of VEGF and other Cytokines by Cannabinoids during an Ebola infection will help the survival of this deadly disease. (6 and 7)
Stopping the release of Cytokines will be a key feature of treatment of this deadly disease.
The discovery and application of the Endocannabinoid Signaling System is proving to be the control of virtually all diseases of mankind. Cannabinoids are emerging as a new class of drugs that treat infections of bacteria, fungi and virus by different mechanisms of action not found in any other class of drug. (1)
Cannabinoids are proving to have significant cidal (killer) activity to many viruses, including hepatitis C and the HIV virus. Cannabinoids down-regulate (inhibit) the immune response to the infection (2) (3). The cited U.S. Patents (3 and 4) are proof that cannabinoids inhibit many different virus strains from replicating. These patents also prove cannabinoids decreases the body’s immune over stimulated response to the viral infection. Claims that are made in these U.S. Patents include the following: (refer to patent for exact quote.)
- A method of treating HIV disease by the direct inhibition of viral replication using a cannabinol derivative of claim 2. (see patent)
- The cannabinol derivatives of claim 10 wherein the cannabinol derivative of claim is used to treat HIV disease by the direct inhibition of viral replication.(see patent)
- A method of treating diseases of immune dysfunction which are the result of infectious origin such as Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Herpes Simplex virus, Epstein-Barr virus, Cytomegalovirus, hepatitis B and C, influenza virus, rhinovirus and mycobacterial infections using the cannabinol derivatives of claim 2.(see patent)
This United States Patent, proves cannabinoids treats this immune dysfunction that becomes what is known as a Cytokine Storm caused by different viral infections.(4)
In Summation; The US Patents prove down regulation of the immune system by cannabinoids may be a key in survival of HIV and may indeed translate into survival for Ebola patients. The direct Killing or Cidal effect of Cannabinoids is proven in HIV infections,(4) but not yet in Ebola. Inhibition of VEGF is crucial to prevent endothelial leakage and hemorrhage.
Because cannabis is so very safe especially under doctor supervision, I believe it is crucial for the medical community to start human trials on survivability of Ebola infected patients regardless of the political restrains.
1) Antibacterial Cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: A Structure−Activity Study Antibacterial Cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: A Structure−Activity Study; Giovanni Appendino et al. The School of Pharmacy, University of London
2) Protection Against Septic Shock and Suppression of Tumor Necrosis Factor α and Nitric Oxide Production by Dexanabinol (HU-211), a Nonpsychotropic Cannabinoid Ruth Gallily1, Aviva Yamin1, Departments of Immunology The Hebrew University, Faculty of Medicine, Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel.
3) Cannabinoid derivatives US patent 20070179135 A1
4) Treatment of HIV and diseases of immune dysregulation US 20080108647 A1
5) Curr Pharm Des. 2006;12(24):3135-46. Cannabinoids, immune system and cytokine network. Massi PVaccani AParolaro D, University of Insubria, Via A. da Giussano 10, 21052 Busto Arsizio (VA), Italy
Jun 10, 2014 David Allen M.D.