New York: Top Indian actors and actress from most parts of India have recently found themselves have found them embroiled in a drug abuse case. The Narcotics Control Bureau has made seizures and arrests in both Mumbai and Karnataka. Actress Sharddha Kapoor is one of those who have found herself in the murky mud. It has been alleged that Shraddha Kapoor consumed marijuana ingredient cannabidiol, or CBD oil to distress herself.
As the debate rages, researchers have come with startling facts. They have said CBD may help reduce cytokine storm and excessive lung inflammation linked to COVID-19 deaths. The researchers have found clues to show how the process works.
One way CBD appears to reduce the cytokine storm that damages the lungs is by enabling an increase in levels of a natural peptide called ‘apelin’. This has been said in a study published in the ‘Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine’. Apelin is known to reduce inflammation. Its levels are dramatically reduced in the face of cytokine storm.
Apelin levels go way down with the COVID-19 viral infection said the study. It added that CBD quickly helps normalise those levels along with lung function and in the process can reduce the number of deaths. Coronavirus has so far 1.1 million people worldwide.
“It was dramatic in both directions,” said corresponding author of the study Babak Baban. He is from Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University in the US.
Blood levels of the peptide dropped close to zero in their deadly adult respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS model. It increased 20 times with CBD, said the new study.
“CBD almost brought it back to a normal level,” Jack Yu, Chief of Plastic Surgery at Medical College of Georgia, said.
‘Apelin’ is a pervasive peptide made by cells in the heart, lung, brain, fat tissue and blood. It is an important regulator in bringing both blood pressure and inflammation down, said Baban.
The researchers had earlier said in the journal ‘Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research’ that treatment with CBD reduced excessive lung inflammation. CBD also improves lung function leading to healthy oxygen levels. CBD also repairs some of the structural damage to the lungs that are classic with ARDS.
The investigators said then more work was needed, including finding how CBD produced the significant changes as well as human trials, before it should be included as part of a treatment regimen for COVID-19. Now they have correlated those improvements with regulation of ‘apelin’. While they did not attribute all CBD’s benefits to ‘apelin’, they said the peptide clearly has an important role in this scenario.
It should also be stated here that CBD or the oil made out of it is legal to use in certain countries. However, India does not permit the use of CBD in any form. However, this important finding may actually help in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Till then Shraddha Kapoor will certainly have to live in a pall of ‘fear’.