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What Research Says About CBD and Covid Related Symptoms

2020 was supposed to be THE year for cannabis. More states fully legalized cannabis (including my home state of Illinois). And progress was made in numerous others on some form of law allowing increased access. The CBD market was growing—it was being infused into cocktails, beauty treatments, food, and so much more. Then, the COVID pandemic suddenly hit and everything changed forcing everyone to adjust to a new normal. 

 

The history of cannabis has been a story of fear, misunderstanding, and regulation that prevents it from being properly studied. Things were finally starting to change. But then the COVID pandemic caused a lot of the momentum to stop in its tracks—the economy, socializing, and even educational conferences and research came to a halt. However, what could have been a huge negative—setting research on cannabinoids back even farther—turned out to be an advantage for CBD and cannabis. COVID is a novel virus, which basically means that in January 2020 no one knew anything about it. Doctors and scientists were trying and testing anything and everything until something stuck. A few things did show promise such as an antiviral drug, Vitamin D supplementation, anticoagulation meds to prevent blood clots and strokes, proning (think tummy time for adults)…and even CBD.

 

Now, if anyone tells you that CBD (or any other substance for that matter…okay, other than the vaccine) can cure,  prevent, or protect you from COVID, then they are either lying or drastically misinformed. However, there is some good evidence out there to suggest that CBD and cannabis may have a role in the treatment of COVID and the alleviation of associated symptoms.

 

What Research Says About CBD Alleviating Covid Related Symptoms

 

What do we know so far? There are multiple ongoing studies to see if CBD can be implemented as a way to help control COVID symptoms.

 

Well, in the early 2000s scientists did studies that showed cannabis to be a very potent anti-inflammatory that helps decrease inflammation, perhaps more than NSAIDs (e.g. Ibuprofen/Motrin, Naproxen/Aleve) or even steroids (e.g. Prednisone). More research is needed, but the following passage is very promising regarding utilizing CBD to control inflammatory processes: “several studies showed that cannabinoids downregulate cytokine and chemokine production and, in some models, upregulate T-regulatory cells (Tregs) as a mechanism to suppress inflammatory responses.” (Nagarrkatti et al 2009) 

 

To translate the above statement, it’s very possible that cannabis can play a role in decreasing inflammation. When does inflammation strike? Often. Inflammation happens in our body in little injuries like a pulled muscle to chronic autoimmune diseases to scary new novel viruses such as COVID. 

 

The anti-inflammatory effects of various cannabinoids have been shown time and time again in studies.

This means that CBD may prove to be useful for controlling symptoms or preventing worsening of the disease process in viral illnesses such as COVID, where the most severe cases are due to an uncontrolled inflammatory response in the body (you may have heard reference to the cytokine storm in very extreme cases of COVID). Some studies have shown that cannabinoids can affect the expression of proteins on the surface of cells (like ACE-2 receptors) that the virus binds to in order to get inside cells.

 

So the hypothesis is: Could CBD cause cells to have fewer proteins on the surface that the virus needs to get inside, making it more difficult for the virus to reproduce itself and spread?

 

One study looking at just this effect stated:

“The extracts of our most successful novel high-CBD C. Sativa lines, pending further investigation, may become a useful and safe addition to the prevention/treatment of COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy.” (Wang et al 2020)  

 

So again, while there is no cure for COVID, we finally have hope for effective prevention in the form of a vaccine. But until that vaccine makes its way to most, we are still going to be dealing with COVID in our lives. If you or a family member is diagnosed with COVID19, then continuing to use softgels or tinctures are likely safe. And possibly even helpful in controlling symptoms. As usual check with your doctor, pharmacist, or cannabis nurse regarding drug-drug interactions. 

 

CBD won’t protect you or stop you from catching COVID. But the studies are promising that it MAY prevent or decrease some of the worse symptoms such as a cytokine storm, ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), and help with symptoms of pain due to increased inflammation. As with everything in the cannabis world, more research is needed. However, the information is leaning positive for concurrent COVID treatment and for post-COVID survivors in the long haul as we learn more about after-effects.

 

Sources:

Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S. A., Hegde, V. L., & Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future medicinal chemistry, 1(7), 1333-1349.

Onaivi, E. S., & Sharma, V. (2020). Cannabis for COVID-19: can cannabinoids quell the cytokine storm?.

Rizzo, M. D., Henriquez, J. E., Blevins, L. K., Bach, A., Crawford, R. B., & Kaminski, N. E. (2020). Targeting Cannabinoid Receptor 2 on Peripheral Leukocytes to Attenuate Inflammatory Mechanisms Implicated in HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 1-14.

Wang, B., Kovalchuk, A., Li, D., Rodriguez-Juarez, R., Ilnytskyy, Y., Kovalchuk, I., & Kovalchuk, O. (2020). In search of preventive strategies: novel high-CBD Cannabis sativa extracts modulate ACE2 expression in COVID-19 gateway tissues. Aging (Albany, NY Online).

 

About Rebecca Abraham:

Rebecca AbrahamEducating ourselves about CBD and the products we put in our bodies can feel overwhelming at times. That’s why Acute on Chronic and Equilibria are working hard to keep it simple and straightforward.

Acute on Chronic founder and President, Rebecca Abraham BSN, RN, is a certified cannabis nurse. From a single assessment to ongoing support, Acute on Chronic provides support for all your cannabis questions as you investigate and become comfortable with it as alternative care. Follow Rebecca onFacebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and reach out for an initial consultation.

How Nurturing Routine Can Help You Beat Stress & Boost Wellness

Feeling like the days are blurring and blending together or as though it’s tough to get a grasp on daily to-dos is a normal experience for many of us right now. Whether you’re missing that regular spin class or pushing a deadline in order to help your child with their schoolwork, the way you used to structure your days and weeks has likely gone out the window. 

 

“When normal routines have been disrupted, you can lose a sense of time and get a bit disoriented,” explains Jeanette Raymond, PhD, a Los Angeles-based psychotherapist who holds her doctorate in clinical psychology. “At first, it feels like a vacation, but then it becomes destabilizing,” she says. 

 

Thankfully, Raymond says that reprioritizing routine, structure, and commitment in simple, rewarding ways — from meditating to taking your daily CBD dose — can have you feeling more grounded, centered, and well. Here’s what you need to know.

 

The Case for Prioritizing Routine & Structure Right Now

 

Just a few ways establishing and adhering to your own routines can support your wellness and success, especially during an especially stressful time:

 

1. You won’t feel like you’re pouring from an empty cup.

 

Victoria Nungesser,  a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in Newtown, Connecticut, says many of her clients are adhering to structures related to their kids’ needs or professional responsibilities — at the expense of their own self-care. For instance, they’ll say they should help their kids with their schoolwork instead of taking time to exercise. Or they need to stay up late working to hit tomorrow’s deadline instead of packing it in to get valuable Zs. 

 

But when self-care routines get lost in the shuffle, you might find yourself pouring from an empty cup. “Many people can’t emotionally or physically give to others what they don’t have to give to themselves. Especially as our lives are feeling disconnected from our typical norm,” says Nungesser.

 

In order to give to others and feel centered yourself, it’s crucial to establish and stick to the routines you need for your own well-being, explains Nungesser. 

 

Taking a moment to relax and recharge makes me feel more available for others throughout the next day.

 

For instance, taking a bath every evening is a must for Kellie Burch Overton, Head of Content Marketing, Equilibria. “It’s therapeutic for me and helps me decompress from the day,” she notes. “It gives me the opportunity to think of and care for just myself. Even just a little bit each day. Taking a moment to relax and recharge makes me feel more available for others throughout the next day.” 

 

If you’re struggling to stick to those self-care rituals, consider scheduling them on your calendar or in an organizer app like Cozi, suggests Nungesser.

 

2. You’ll foster peace of mind.

 

One of the most difficult truths about our current reality is the lack of control we’re all feeling more than ever now. But structure and routine can offer a sense of control, says Irene Little, PsyD, a family therapist from Frisco, Texas. “It is not possible to control the unknown, other people or other situations,” she says. “We cannot control when the COVID crisis will end or how it will end. Or even all of the impact it will have on our family, friends and ourselves. But, we can control how we react to it and some of our outcomes. And when you remain focused on what you can control, it offers peace of mind.”

 

That peace of mind can help you better manage stressful thoughts, says Raymond. “Routines and structure can prevent any low-level anxiety that comes with current uncertainties from becoming full-blown,” she notes. 

 

Bonnie Knobloch, Head of Business Development, Equilibria says her routine of having coffee alone in the morning when her three kids are asleep serves to do just this. “I feel so much better when I can wake up before everyone else and have a moment of calm,” says Knobloch. “It makes me ready to be more engaging when my kids wake up. And I do better when I feel like I’m going after my day opposed to the day coming after me.” 

 

3. You’ll feel like you have greater purpose.

 

Raymond adds that establishing and sticking to simple, rewarding routines — like doing a mindfulness practice or making a cooked breakfast — can keep you feeling like you have concrete reasons to get up and at ‘em. Then, once you’ve tackled your planned tasks, you’ll enjoy a sense of achievement. And all of this serves to improve self-worth and the ability to better keep blue or depressed feelings at bay.

 

Amanda Stilwell, Social Media and Digital Marketing Consultant, Equilibria enjoys a variety of benefits from her must-do morning routine: walking her dogs without her phone. “It’s an opportunity to care for myself and a rare moment when I’m not multitasking and distracted,” she explains. Stilwell also finds that taking the time to move mindfully for 20-30 minutes a day improves her mental health as well. 

 

The Case for Prioritizing Routine & Structure with CBD

 

 

How Your CBD Plan Is Bolstered by Routine

 

Just like a prescribed medication or multivitamin, CBD, like all cannabinoids, builds in the body over time. Regularly scheduling your daily dose will help you keep sustained levels in your system, which will offer more consistent support for your Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which has been shown to help regulate sleep, mood, inflammation and overall homeostasis (a body’s state of balance).

 

Every single dose that you take will work better if it is on the tail end of another dose.

 

When it comes to getting the most out of taking CBD, you’ll do best to make a plan and stick to it. Says Autumn Mehl, Dosage Specialist, Equilibria. “Not only does CBD compound best over time, but it compounds daily,” she notes. “Every single dose that you take will work better if it is on the tail end of another dose.” 

 

CBD can also support what might be considered your most important routine of all:

Sleeping and waking in a way that keeps you equally relaxed and energized. “When you take CBD, it amplifies your body’s melatonin, referred to as the sleep hormone,” explains Mehl. “That causes a sedative effect helping you fall asleep.” Similarly, in the daytime, your CBD dose can boost alertness. In fact, it activates some of the same pathways in the brain as caffeine, according to research published in the Journal of Internal Medicine. Research has shown it might also improve motivation

 

If only for those benefits, which can go far to keep you on top of other daily to-dos, Mehl encourages her clients to stick to their CBD routine. And if it turns out to be the one thing you’re doing regularly or the one form of self-care you prioritize, that’s OK, as it will have positive, reverberating effects. 

 

Prioritizing Routine & Structure: How a Subscription Can Help

 

Having your individualized CBD dose from Equilibria set to ship on a regular basis can keep you firing on all cylinders. To support your wellness-boosting routine, consider signing up for a subscription. 

 

Subscribers now always receive: 

  • 20% off on your monthly subscription to reward your commitment to CBD
  • 4-week delivery cycle with free shipping (always!) so you never miss your dose
  • Unlimited dosage support to always provide help when you need it

 

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How to Get the Most Out of Your CBD Routine Right Now

No matter how much we try to adapt to the current normal, it can still feel like your routine is shattered. Your once IRL human connections have gone increasingly digital. And boundaries between work and life are nonexistent. All of this while it seems questions about how long this will last and the toll this will take on public health and the economy are only met with uncertainty. Even if you’re currently using a meditation app, taking Zoom yoga, and sticking to your individualized CBD protocol to manage anxiety, you’re not alone in feeling more stressed than ever right now. A new national poll from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) found more than one-third of Americans (36%) say coronavirus is having a serious impact on their mental health. And most (59%) feel coronavirus is having a serious impact on their day-to-day lives.

 

That said, there’s never been a more apt moment to harness the power of your CBD routine. Here are our top tips on proactively tailoring your dosage and delivery to meet your current needs. 

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your CBD Routine Right Now

 

1. Stay Consistent With Your Routine

 

Whether you’ve been feeling like it’s challenging to adhere to a homeschool schedule for your kids or you’re struggling to find even a few minutes a day to devote to self-care, sticking to a routine might feel like an uphill battle right now. But when it comes to managing stress through your CBD regimen, you’ll do well to keep it consistent. 

 

Just like pharmaceuticals, like birth control or thyroid medication, need to be taken daily, you’ll get the most out of taking CBD every day. When you do this, you’ll benefit from a cumulative effect. Cannabinoids build up in the body over time, maintaining sustained levels in your system, which then continuously support your Endocannabinoid System (ECS). And a bolstered ECS will constantly promote harmony across all of your body’s other systems—helping control sleep, mood, inflammation, and overall homeostasis (a body’s state of balance).

 

Just like pharmaceuticals need to be taken daily, you’ll get the most out of taking CBD every day.

 

By being on a consistent daily CBD routine, your ECS can better indirectly modulate your hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, a hormone system that helps the body respond quickly to stressful events. 

 

“If you have a healthier ECS and overarching balancing system, then your stress response on a day to day basis is going to be more resilient,” says Dr. Karen Hufnagl, DC, MS, the Clinical Science Director at Equilibria’s exclusive farm and bioscience partner CFH, Ltd, a functional medicine practitioner, and the founder of In Avanti Health. “CBD functions as an adaptogen. It is the same concept as ginseng, ashwagandha, cordyceps, or reishi, in that it works over time to not only help bring your system into balance, but also to develop that flexibility and resilience to be able to adapt to things that come across your path.” 

 

2. Add in Extra Doses as Needed

 

Establishing a baseline of greater balance is key. But, as we can easily see from the moment we’re now facing, higher levels of stress can crop up in peaks and valleys. That’s where episodic dosing comes in. “Once you’ve established a more balanced, healthier place of resilience, you can add in additional as needed dosing if you encounter more acute stressors, like this current situation,” explains Dr. Hufnagl. 

 

Taking additional doses when you need them, at your own pace, puts the power of extra support around stress management in your hands. “That might look like taking it in the morning. Because you know you have a stressful day ahead of you,” says Dr. Hufnagl. “For others, it might be taking that extra, as-needed dose at night, in order to get restful sleep.”

 

In short, experimenting with episodic doses—on top of your regular CBD routine—can be highly useful during a particularly challenging, acute period of time or just before an event that tends to heighten anxiety. Be that a grocery run or meeting with a higher-up on the job.

 

However, if you’re finding that you’re taking episodic doses on the regular, it might be time to transition to a higher strength formula within your regular protocol. “Say you’re someone who is feeling really stressed with the uncertainty of this current situation. And you’re being heavily affected by the idea of it dragging on for months. It might be better to increase your daily dosage,” notes Dr. Hufnagl. 

 

That said, working with an Equilibria Dosage Specialist is key to ensuring your protocol continues to be effective. That’s because when it comes to CBD, a higher dose doesn’t necessarily yield better results. You’ll do better to work on pinpointing the dose that’s ideal for you.

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your CBD Routine Right Now

 

3. Experiment with Extra Strength

 

If you find yourself taking more frequent episodic doses, it might be time to consider the Extra Strength formula, which provides 50mg CBD per full 1ml dropper (1500mg CBD per 30ml). Or five times more potency than our standard Daily Drops. 

 

You’re still getting plenty of the terpenes (like beta-caryophyllene) and cannabinoids in the regular strength. “But based on what we’ve seen, the levels in the Extra Strength are more concentrated,” says Dr. Hufnagl. “You’re taking more of the CBD. But you’re also taking more of the other cannabinoids and more of the other terpenes. And because all of them are working synergistically, you may see a more amplified benefit.”

 

This is what’s referred to as “the entourage effect” (or “the ensemble effect”). Which is when multiple cannabinoids (our products have 3-4x industry average) work together to bolster each other.

 

That said, everyone’s ECS is unique and will respond in an individual way to your dose.  “Given that the ECS varies from person to person, you [would need to experiment with] a higher dose in order to see how your system is going to respond,” says Dr. Hufnagl. 

 

To figure out what’s right for you, take advantage of Equilibria’s one-on-one dosage advice. If you’re already an EQ member, feel free to make an appointment with your personal dosage specialist for a custom consultation. If not, don’t worry! Just send us a note and we’ll try to answer all of your questions.

 

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