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Austrian Hospital Uses CBD to Treat Patients With COVID-19

In journalism and media industry for more than twenty years, worked for a number of media companies. Business editing, research and PR specialist. Covering industry and science news for Ilesol Pharmaceuticals.

Austrian Hospital Uses CBD to Treat Patients With COVID-19

An Austrian hospital started using CBD to treat patients with COVID-19, news portal Heute reported on 31st of January 2021.

The doctors in Klagenfurt hospital increased the CBD dosage for COVID-19 to up to 300mg in the treatment period of three weeks.

“We have seen that the inflammation parameters in the blood go down, and people leave the hospital faster than the comparison group. CBD supports the immune system,” said Rudolf Likar, Head of Intensive Care at Klagenfurt Clinic, for Radio Kärnten.

From now on, CBD will probably be used routinely in this hospital.

Heute reports that Israel is also working on officially approving CBD for COVID-19 therapy. In April last year, Israeli scientists announced several research projects involving CBD usage in COVID-19 patients.

We can expect more hospitals to use CBD to treat patients with COVID-19. Previously, animal model studies have shown CBD reduces cytokine storm , the leading cause of mortality in COVID-19 patients.

Cytokine storm is a reaction of the organism that leads to inflammatory processes in the lungs and blockage of blood vessels, and organ failure. The most dangerous thing is that this reaction takes place quickly, within 24 to 48 hours, so doctors in such a case are almost powerless to fight for the patient’s life.

The cytokine storm causes acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the reason why patients end up on a respirator. According to scientific data, as many as 30-50% of patients who end up on a respirator expect a fatal outcome.

Several scientific studies have shown that CBD can block interleukin-6 (IL-6), an inflammatory molecule that in some cases causes a whole cascade of destructive cytokine storms when infected with a new coronavirus.

According to the latest research published in January 2022, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) could be effective in preventing and treating COVID-19. Theoretically, the best way to consume these compounds would be an oral intake of a full-spectrum product.

In addition to promoting public knowledge about CBD and other cannabinoids, at Ilesol Pharmaceuticals, we strongly believe in the importance of providing scientific evidence prior to claiming any possible health benefits, and we, therefore, do not advise our customers or readers of our blog to use any product in the treatment of any illness before it has been approved by the international drug regulatory agencies.

Reviewed by Sasha Bajilo, founder of ILESOL Pharmaceuticals, an industrial scale producer of CBD products and formulations. Expert on Hemp/Cannabis policy, member of the Croatian Ministry of Health regulatory commission for medical cannabis.

Cannabinoid (cannabis) oil

This page from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) describes the approach we take to cannabinoid (cannabis) oil. It has been compiled by the Palliative Care Team, Safeguarding, Social Work and Complex Epilepsy teams at GOSH.Note: This information does not apply to Epidiolex® a prescribed cannabinoid medication for complex epilepsy.

Everyone at GOSH recognises that parents and carers only wish to do the best for their children. This sometimes involves using complementary and/or alternative medicines and therapies.

There has been significant media attention recently, focused on the use of ‘natural’ chemicals extracted from the cannabis plant. These chemicals are extracted into oil and are collectively known as cannabinoid oil (also known as cannabis oil).

As clinicians, we value the open and honest discussion with parents and carers about the use of cannabinoid oils and actively encourage all parents and carers discuss this difficult subject with us. Despite the extreme importance of informing of families informing staff of administration of cannabinoid oil, we are currently in the difficult position of not being able to support administration.

GOSH will continue to work closely with the government and national bodies to ensure that we are always up to date with research evidence, national policy and licensing regulation.

There are different types and concentrations of cannabinoid oils, some of which are currently illegal.

In circumstances where we become aware that a child is being given cannabinoid oils, we will evaluate the situation in our expert team, which includes also a member of the hospital social work team.

This will be in order to assess any potential risks and whether further steps are required including involvement of the local children’s services team to consider potential safeguarding issues with the relevant authorities.

We appreciate that parents / carers may feel being placed in a challenging position but assure you that we will handle this situation as sensitively as possible, ensuring that at all times the interests of your child are paramount (the child first and always’).

What is cannabidiol and what are cannabinoid oils?

The cannabis plant is very complex and is thought to contain over 100 different cannabinoids. Current focus falls on use of two specific cannabinoids found in cannabis:

  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – main psychoactive component
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) – non-psychoactive component

Cannabinoid oils available either in the UK or internationally over the internet or in health food stores, at present, may contain CBD alone in varying strengths, THC alone in varying strengths or may contain a combination of both and other cannabinoids in varying ratios. Legality of the cannabinoid oils available is outlined below but may vary across international borders. Formal testing has shown that what it says on the bottle is not always reliable as there may be no quality assurance testing.

What are the legal issues of buying and/or using cannabinoid oil?

In the UK, cannabis derived products containing more than 1mg of THC are considered illegal unless it holds authorisation from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA). MHRA authorisation for medicinal use of a chemical or drug requires the drug to demonstrate safety and benefit in well designed, randomised studies usually against placebo (dummy therapy) or current gold standard therapy, as well meeting stringent pharmaceutical quality standards.

Cannabinoid oils advertised as containing CBD but less than 1mg of THC are available in the UK from various outlets (online and on the high street). These products are legal, if sold for the purpose of being a ‘health food supplement’ for oral ingestion (taking by mouth) or as a ‘beauty product’ when sold in cream form, and NOT sold for any purported curative or medicinal effects.

Despite being sold as ‘health food supplements’, these CBD-containing oils still contain active substances with the potential to interfere with other prescribed medication. The nature of these interactions may be to EITHER make prescribed medication less active OR more toxic.

What is the risk of taking cannabinoid oil?

While widely circulated communications suggest cannabinoid oils are safe and do not interfere with other medication, in reality, investigations have shown real interference with any anti-epileptic drugs metabolised (broken down) by the liver. We have also had experience of cannabis oils interfering with strong pain killers. Most routinely used medications have not yet been tested in combination with cannabinoids. There is a potential risk for interaction with regularly prescribed medications for other conditions.

Known side-effects of cannabinoids determined from clinical trials include sedation, appetite suppression, diarrhoea, dizziness and abnormal liver function.

We have no real information on the side-effect profile of cannabinoid oils, especially in young children, who may be extremely sensitive to small doses. In addition, young children are often unable to accurately describe adverse effects meaning toxicity may be under reported.