Exploring the Potential of CBD in Inhibiting COVID-19: A Closer Look at the University of Chicago Study


As the world continues to adapt and live with COVID-19, researchers have been investigating various treatments and preventive measures. In a fascinating development, a team of researchers at the University of Chicago has discovered that high-purity cannabidiol (CBD) might help inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus responsible for COVID-19. In this blog post, we delve into the details of this study and discuss the implications of these findings for the future of CBD and COVID-19 research.

The Study:

The study, published in Science Advances on January 20, 2022, involved an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Chicago. They found that CBD showed a significant negative association with SARS-CoV-2 positive tests in a national sample of medical records of patients taking the FDA-approved drug for treating epilepsy.

Initially, the researchers were exploring CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties and their potential impact on the cytokine storm, a dangerous immune system reaction often seen in severe COVID-19 cases. However, they were surprised to discover that CBD directly inhibited viral replication in lung cells.

The researchers treated human lung cells with a non-toxic dose of CBD for two hours before exposing them to SARS-CoV-2. They discovered that, above a certain threshold concentration, CBD inhibited the virus’s ability to replicate. This effect was consistent across different cell types and various SARS-CoV-2 strains.

The Mechanism:

CBD does not affect the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to enter the cell. Instead, it blocks replication early in the infection cycle and six hours after the virus has already infected the cell. The mechanism by which CBD inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication involves CBD activation of one of the host cell’s stress responses, generating interferons, an antiviral cell protein.

Real-World Data:

The research team analyzed data from 1,212 patients in the National COVID Cohort Collaborative. They found that patients taking a medically prescribed oral solution of CBD for epilepsy treatment tested positive for COVID-19 at significantly lower rates than a sample of matched patients from similar demographic backgrounds who were not taking CBD.

Implications and Future Directions:

Although COVID-19 is no longer a pandemic, it remains essential to investigate potential treatments and preventive measures. The researchers are calling for clinical trials to determine whether CBD could be used as a preventative or early treatment for COVID-19. The study’s findings do not suggest that consuming commercially available CBD products can prevent COVID-19. High purity, specially formulated doses of CBD are necessary for achieving the COVID-blocking effects observed in the study.

The study’s results are intriguing but require further investigation to determine the precise dosing of CBD effective at preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans, as well as its safety profile and potential side effects.


With COVID-19 still present, any potential new therapeutics are worth investigating. While CBD is not a substitute for vaccinations and public health measures, the University of Chicago study presents a fascinating avenue for further research. It remains to be seen whether future clinical trials will confirm the potential of CBD as a preventative or early treatment for COVID-19. Until then, it is essential to stay informed, adhere to public health guidelines, and consult with healthcare professionals when considering any form of treatment or prevention.

Share this post: