Cannabis and Flu: What Science Can Teach Us About Coronavirus

Posted by Amma Healing on


  • The most serious health issues of cases of flu stem not from the flu itself, but your immune system’s overreaction to the flu.
  • Hemp extracts help modulate the body’s immune response.
  • This lessens the symptoms of the flu, and prevent the so-called “cytokine storm” that causes most serious flu complications like pneumonia, breathing issues, and even organ damage.
  • While not a panacea, when combined with other best practices like frequent hand washing, social distancing, and getting plenty of rest, high-quality hemp products can be a key part of your flu-fighting arsenal. 

March 11, 2020 - The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has declared a state of emergency after confirmed cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 in over 121 countries as of March 11th, 2020. [1] Everyone wants to know how realistic the threat is and how to prevent and lessen respiratory illness. Recent research makes a strong case for the flu-fighting power of cannabinoids like CBD, and in this article, you’ll learn how you can use them to help combat symptoms from cases of flu like Coronavirus.   

Scope of the Flu Problem

The actual prevalence of the flu is constantly underestimated. Every year, tens of millions of people will become infected with the flu, and over 500,000 worldwide will tragically die from it. [2, 3] While the majority of people at severe risk are those with underlying medical conditions, the elderly, and the very young, it can still put healthy people out of commission.

Why Does Flu Kill?

When you catch the flu, your body springs into action to fight off the invading virus. This immune response causes inflammation in the body and results in common flu symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, and body aches. While this response is necessary to fight off the flu, it is also the source of major flu complications. Your body’s response to flu can go into overdrive and cause excess inflammation from chemical messengers called cytokines, killing your own cells and even leading to organ failure or death.

“These cytokines are supposed to help the immune system clear the virus, but in the people that did poorly the response was overly exuberant, causing more damage than the virus itself,” says Stanley Perlman, a virologist and pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Iowa. [4] Most frequently, the cause of these serious flu complications comes from your body’s overproduction of cytokines. This so-called “cytokine storm” caused most serious flu complications like pneumonia, breathing issues, and even organ damage.

How CBD Works

To understand how CBD helps prevent major flu complications, we must first understand the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids that work with the ECS to regulate functions like our body temperature and blood sugar. [5] Cannabinoid receptors sit on the surface of cells and “listen” to conditions outside the cell. When these conditions become out of balance, the ECS kickstarts the body’s response and brings us back to homeostasis.

The ECS has a major role in fighting inflammation. When inflammation gets out of hand, the body releases endocannabinoids to bring inflammation back into balance. However, in the more severe cases of flu like coronavirus, swine flu, and SARS, your ECS simply can’t keep up, causing inflammation and your body’s cytokine response to overwhelm your immune system causing lung and other organ failures.

According to Dr. Robert Melamed, chairman of the Biology Department at the University of Colorado, patients die “not from the virus itself, but from their body’s own immune response.” [6] Dr. David Allen, former heart surgeon and Cannabinoid Research Scientist at the International Cannabinoid Research Society explains that “[CBD] may offer control of the immune system and in turn provide protection from viral infections.” [7]

How CBD Helps Prevent Serious Flu Complications

Cannabinoids like CBD modulate the ECS and effectively reduce the immune system’s overactivity, thereby minimizing inflammation and preventing serious side effects. Significantly, CBD “does so without affecting blood pressure or heart rate unlike other decongestants, and is free of any serious side effects to boot.“ [8] When used in conjunction with best practices like frequent hand washing, coughing into your elbow, and social distancing, hemp extracts, and specific products designed to fight inflammation like AMMA’s Nano Soft Gels with Curcumin, are a potent tool for fighting flu’s most deadly side effects.

CBD has natural antibacterial properties that fight against secondary infections caused by a compromised immune system. Mark Blaskovich, Ph.D., senior research officer at the Centre for Superbug Solutions at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland in Australia is one of the leading experts on this topic. According to his research looking at the bacteria that cause strep throat (streptococcus), he found that CBD killed the bacteria twice as fast as the antibiotic Vancomycin. [11]

Not only does CBD have natural antibacterial properties, but it also prevents the creation of superbugs. Brandon Novy, a microbiology researcher at Reed College in Portland found that CBD disrupted the biofilm of many other bacteria [12]. Biofilm allows bacteria to survive on surfaces outside the host (thereby increasing their infectiousness) and makes it more difficult for antibiotics to penetrate and kill the bacteria. CBD’s disruption of biofilm increases the effectiveness of antibiotics. CBD is less likely to cause resistance than the existing antibiotics, a hugely important factor in preventing antibiotic-resistant superbugs that pose existential threats to humanity.

CBD’s flu-fighting power doesn’t stop here. The pain, runny nose, and airway inflammation associated with the flu prevent sufferers from getting adequate rest and sleep—key factors in your ability to recover. Dr. Shawn Meirovici has studied CBD’s ability to “reduce body aches, ease inflammation of the airways, and reduce fever,” thereby allowing patients to feel better, breathe easier, and get better sleep. [9] Pinene, a compound found in some Broad Spectrum CBD products like AMMA Healing’s Soft Gels, is excellent at ”clearing airways and eliminating bacteria that can quickly result in viruses.“ [10

In Conclusion

While many of the existing studies were preliminary and done in rodents, the same biological mechanisms of action are present in humans, and they make a strong case for the benefits of cannabinoids like CBD in combating side effects of infections. When combined with other best practices, high-quality hemp products can be a key part of your flu-fighting arsenal. Ideally, use a product designed specifically with anti-inflammatory effects in mind, like AMMA Healing’s CBD Soft Gels with Curcumin. 

To learn more about the health benefits of Hemp Extracts, and learn about the science behind the world’s highest quality hemp products, visit

Part of our mission at AMMA is to provide education about the latest scientific research and discoveries in health and wellness. The content provided is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. You should consult with your healthcare provider before taking our products, especially if you take other medications, have certain medical conditions, or are pregnant or nursing.

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