Hemp is an understudied source of pharmacologically active compounds and many unique plant secondary metabolites including more than 100 cannabinoids. After years of legal restriction, research on hemp has recently demonstrated antiviral activities in silico, in vitro, and in vivo for cannabidiol (CBD), Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), and several other cannabinoids against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and γ-herpes viruses. Mechanisms of action include inhibition of viral cell entry, inhibition of viral proteases, and stimulation of cellular innate immune responses. The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids are also under investigation for mitigating the cytokine storm of COVID-19 and controlling chronic inflammation in people living with HIV. Retrospective clinical studies support antiviral activities of CBD, Δ9-THC, and cannabinoid mixtures as do some prospective clinical trials, but appropriately designed clinical trials of safety and efficacy of antiviral cannabinoids are urgently needed.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory distress syndrome coronavirus 2(SARS-Cov-2), was identified for the first time in late 2019 in China, resulting in a global pandemic of massiveimpact. Despite a fast development and implementation of vaccination strategies, and the scouting of severalpharmacological treatments, alternative effective treatments are still needed. In this regard, cannabinoids repre-sent a promising approach because they have been proven to exhibit several immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties in COVID-19 disease models and related pathological conditions. Thismini-review aims at providing a practical brief overview of the potential applications of cannabinoids so far iden-tified for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, finally considering key aspects related to their technologicaland clinical implementation.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus made it necessary to search for new options for both causal treatment and mitigation of its symptoms. Scientists and researchers around the world are constantly looking for the best therapeutic options. These difficult circumstances have also spurred the re-examination of the potential of natural substances contained in Cannabis sativa L. Cannabinoids, apart from CB1 and CB2 receptors, may act multifacetedly through a number of other receptors, such as the GPR55, TRPV1, PPARs, 5-HT1A, adenosine and glycine receptors.