Coronavirus and CBD – Does cannabidiol help with viruses?

Coronavirus CBD effect
Written by Stefan K.

As infectious organic structures, viruses are spread by various means of transmission. Although many viruses can survive outside cells, they can only reproduce within them. Virologists predominantly agree that viruses should not be counted among living organisms due to their inability to reproduce and the lack of their own metabolism. However, since they can certainly undergo evolutionary changes, viruses are often described as being close to life.

A strong immune system is helpful against the spread of viruses in the body. Cannabidiol, CBD for short, can assist in supporting the immune defence of the human body. In addition to this auxiliary function, as well as the other possibilities that CBD can have in the body, researchers are looking into the effects of CBD on viral diseases such as herpes and hepatitis.

An important finding in the context of CBD’s mode of action is that although it is related to THC, it is not psychoactive, does not produce intoxication and is not addictive.

CBD strengthens the human immune system

The human body’s defences are usually very active. Parasites, bacteria as well as viruses adhere to surfaces (toilet doors, shopping trolleys, touch screens, handrails in buses and many more) and try to penetrate the body, mostly via the mucous membranes or the respiratory organs. These invaders are usually as large as the cells in the body. The immune system has to deal with this. It must be able to distinguish healthy from sick, infected cells.


Every vertebrate, including humans, has both an innate and an adaptive immune system. A special neuroimmune system is responsible for protecting our brain. The innate system is inherited and can, so to speak, fend off traditional attacks on the body. However, it is the adaptive immune system that completes the defence. This is able to adapt to new viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites previously unknown to the body and to fight them.

An independent part of the human defence system discovered a few years ago is the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Here, messenger substances can dock to the so-called CB1 and CB2 receptors and sensibly modulate [1] and adapt the immune system. On the one hand, the body itself can produce cannabinoids and make them available to this defence system, on the other hand, it is possible to activate the ECS oneself by means of CBD products. The CB2 receptors in particular have so far been associated with the immune system.

According to a recent study [2], CBD can stimulate the production of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that, among other things, regulate the differentiation of cells. This can make it easier for the defence cells to distinguish the diseased cells from the healthy ones.

In addition, several other studies are currently being conducted to investigate the effectiveness of CBD in COVID-19.

CBD for herpes viruses

One of the most common viral infections is that with the herpes simplex virus. Most people know this disease by the shortened name herpes. The herpes virus is divided into herpes simplex labialis (labial herpes) and herpes simplex genitalis (genital herpes). Rarer than these two variants, but worth mentioning at this point, is generalised HSV sepsis, which occurs in patients with an immune deficiency.

The fact that CBD has antibacterial effects, i.e. it helps against bacteria (also antibiotic-resistant ones), has been proven by studies [3]. For a long time, however, it was considered uncertain among researchers whether CBD can also be helpful against viruses.

So-called cyclovir substances have so far mostly been used against herpes viruses. These are certainly effective but are themselves mutagenic. This means that these substances can have a mutagenic effect. Researchers are therefore looking for alternatives.

Since the beginning of the 1980s, there have been repeated investigations into whether the cannabis substance THC, which is related to CBD, can effectively support the treatment of herpes. The studies [4] showed quite provable, sometimes considerable successes. In laboratory experiments, the effects of THC were tested in connection with herpes simplex labialis and herpes simplex genitalis. The experiments revealed that THC prevents the virus from multiplying. Research on humans was not allowed at that time – not for ethical reasons, but because the consumption of THC was prohibited.

In the course of the next decades, the link between the growth inhibition of herpes viruses and THC was repeatedly investigated. Studies from 1991[5] and 2004 [6] came to similar results as those from 1980. Except for the psychoactive effect and the lack of a possible addiction, it can be assumed that CBD has a similar effect as THC on herpes viruses. Direct studies with CBD and herpes viruses are not yet available, but the preliminary studies with THC offer hope.

Today, CBD oils or CBD crystals are specifically used superficially against cold sores.

CBD for hepatitis viruses

According to WHO figures, 400 people die every day in the EU as a result of viral hepatitis. It is estimated that around 240 million people worldwide are affected by this viral infection. The course of hepatitis is usually very aggressive. The liver is attacked, and without treatment this can lead to very serious consequences. The consequences of this viral disease include cirrhosis or even liver cancer.

Hepatitis comes in the forms A, B, C, D and E. Hep-B and Hep-C are very aggressive and attack the liver particularly quickly.

A study [7] published in 2017 by the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland reported that CBD showed an antiviral effect in the treatment of hepatitis C. The CBD in the study also affected the CB2 receptors of the ECS. It activated the body’s defences. This slowed down the infection process. The results of the study suggest that CBD causes a reduction in the replication of Hep-C. However, the study results also suggest that CBD did not produce a significant change in Hep-B. 

Coronavirus & CBD

The Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has caused much anxiety, perhaps even panic. Panic buying has been taking place all over the world. Perhaps even CBD products will now be advertised as being able to help against the Coronavirus.

Apart from the fact that it would be against the Therapeutic Products Advertising Act to advertise CBD against Coronavirus, it would be questionable whether CBD does anything directly. We have explained this in detail in the upper sections of the article. CBD can, however, strengthen the immune system. Just like vitamins, a healthy diet and much more, cannabidiol can be a building block to increase strength. With this strengthening, viruses can do less damage to or attack the human body.

Let’s stay serious & factual: CBD does not cure patients with Coronavirus but it is definitely an option to strengthen the immune system.


  • CBD does not promise a cure for viral infections – not even for herpes, hepatitis or for SARS-CoV-2, better known today as Coronavirus.
  • Many of the viral infections have one thing in common – they overcome weakened or not yet fully developed immune systems. At this point, however, CBD can be beneficial.
  • To make it more difficult for viruses to overcome the walls of human defences, CBD can strengthen the immune system with the help of the ECS. While CBD has so far been known, among other things, as an alternative to antibiotics, results in the context of herpes and hepatitis research suggest that CBD may well also have the potential to be an important building block in the treatment or even prevention of viral diseases.


  1. Does CBD help against Coronavirus?

    Currently, covid patients are sometimes treated with CBD because it has anti-inflammatory properties.

  2. Are there studies on CBD against Covid-19?

    Yes, there are currently several studies on CBD against Covid-19. Read some of them on

  3. Does CBD help against viruses?

    CBD does not promise a cure for viral infections. However, CBD helps to provide relief from many accompanying symptoms and can thus strengthen the immune system.

[1] – 28.02.2020

[2] – 28.02.2020

[3] – 28.02.2020

[4] – 28.02.2020

[5] – 28.02.2020

[6] – 28.02.2020

[7] – 28.02.2020

In certain circumstances, the use of cannabinoid-containing products can lead to interactions with various medications. If you are taking medication yourself, the use of CBD and other cannabinoids should be discussed with your doctor beforehand.

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About the author

Stefan K.

Stefan K.

Stefan is not only a valuable part of the CannaTrust magazine but also convinces with his sound knowledge about the effects of cannabinoids. As an author in Austria he gathered valuable experiences when writing for 'Stadtblatt Salzburg'. He got in contact with cannabis through several positive media reports. Nowadays he writes about everything around the most popular cannabinoid these days: CBD.