When battling severe conditions, our immune system can often get carried away and go into overdrive, sending too many proteins, called cytokines, to signal our immune cells to go into action. By deploying too many cytokines, and respectively immune cells, our immune system doesn’t just attack the enemy, but also our own healthy cells and organs. This phenomenon is known as a “Cytokine Storm Syndrome” and is a common thread among severe cases of COVID-19.
Cytokine Storm Syndrome indicates an imbalance in the immune system. Cannabinoids, and CBD in particular, may be able to restore balance to the immune system. It’s no wonder then that cannabinoids are being investigated as a potential ally in the fight against COVID-19, however, what is somewhat of a surprise is that it’s not CBD that’s the main star of the show this time, but terpenes.
Interestingly, this is actually not the first time terpenes have been explored in the coronavirus context. A study (both in-vitro and in-vivo) dating all the way back to 2007 actually found terpenes to hinder the SARS virus’s ability to penetrate healthy cells and replicate within them, thus lowering its impact. 
Now, two Israeli scientific research companies, Eybna and CannaSoul Analytics, have teamed up to build on this knowledge and explore how CBD and terpenes stack up against Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid that lowers inflammation, in the fight against COVID-19.
To that end, the scientists performed separate tests on the different formulations to compare their impact on cytokine activity. Dexamethasone was found to lower it by 30%; CBD alone by 75%, terpenes alone by 80%; and finally, NT-VRL – Eybna’s proprietary formulation, containing 30 different terpenes and CBD – by the staggering 90%, 3 times more than Dexamethasone.
These results have significant implications on a number of levels. For one, as far as COVID-19 is concerned, they are more than promising, as simple as that. But beyond that, these findings are also a very legitimate argument for the legitimacy of cannabis science, the entourage effect, and cannabinoids’ healing potential.
“The preliminary results were highly positive. Demonstrating significant anti-inflammatory activity of terpenes and breaking the perception that terpenes are just flavourings and fragrances compounds with a placebo effect,” Nadav Eyal, Co-Founder & CEO at Eybna, said.
“This is opening a new world for synergistically-effective natural formulations – holding therapeutic capabilities in which single active pharmaceutical ingredients will have difficulties to match,” Eyal added.
Image Credits: Pikist
- Wen et al, Specific Plant Terpenoids and Lignoids Possess Potent Antiviral Activities against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus; .J Chem. 2007, 50, 17, 4087–4095; Journal Impact Factor = 6.260; Times Cited = 142