Long Chi Nguyen, Dongbo Yang, Vlad Nicolaescu, Thomas J. Best, Takashi Ohtsuki, Shao-Nong Chen, J. Brent Friesen, Nir Drayman, Adil Mohamed, Christopher Dann, Diane Silva, Haley Gula, Krysten A. Jones, J. Michael Millis, Bryan C. Dickinson, Savaş Tay, Scott A. Oakes, Guido F. Pauli, David O. Meltzer, Glenn Randall, Marsha Rich Rosner doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.03.10.432967
The rapid spread of COVID-19 underscores the need for new treatments. Here we report that cannabidiol (CBD), a compound produced by the cannabis plant, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection. CBD and its metabolite, 7-OH-CBD, but not congeneric cannabinoids, potently block SARS-CoV-2 replication in lung epithelial cells. CBD acts after cellular infection, inhibiting viral gene expression and reversing many effects of SARS-CoV-2 on host gene transcription. CBD induces interferon expression and up-regulates its antiviral signaling pathway. A cohort of human patients previously taking CBD had significantly lower SARS-CoV-2 infection incidence of up to an order of magnitude relative to matched pairs or the general population. This study highlights CBD, and its active metabolite, 7-OH-CBD, as potential preventative agents and therapeutic treatments for SARS-CoV-2 at early stages of infection.
Competing Interest Statement
Five of the authors (MRR, GR, LCN, DY and JMM) filed a provisional patent entitled Method of use of Cannabidiol as an antiviral agent. Receipt of the provisional patient was acknowledged by the USPTO on November 30, 2020. S.A.O. is a cofounder and consultant at OptiKira., L.L.C. (Cleveland, OH).