Taking CBD While You Have The Flu, What Does Research Say?

Taking CBD While You Have The Flu, What Does Research Say?


CBD and the Flu


To say that flu is less than ideal would be quite an understatement. Milder symptoms include a sore throat, blocked nasal passages (when they’re not running like a faucet), aches and pains, and an inability to get out of bed. On the other end of the scale fever, migraines, vomiting, and exhaustion all make having the flu nothing to brush off lightly.

In the same way, as everybody has their own cure for hiccups, naturally we all have our own preferred flu remedies too. Stranger supposed cures include wearing wet socks while sleeping and lizard soup, but what about something more… convenient? Does CBD help if you’re suffering from the flu?

As with any potential benefit of CBD, science, and research is an integral part of unlocking CBD’s possible uses. CBD is used by countless people for a wide range of ailments, and the research is beginning to connect the dots. 

Here’s the issue. If we view the question as: ‘can CBD cure flu?’ then currently, the research says no. A recent study titled Cannabidiol for Viral Diseases: Hype or Hope?, concluded that ‘although preclinical studies suggest the potential effectiveness of CBD in viral diseases such as hepatitis C and Kaposi sarcoma, clinical evidence is still lacking’. Further studies have arrived at similar conclusions- there is no data to suggest CBD would be an effective remedy.

However, if we view the question as ‘can CBD help with the symptoms of flu?’, it becomes an entirely different answer. CBD’s potential as an aid for some of the miserable symptoms of flu has been studied for some time now. The next time you’re feeling under the weather, could incorporate CBD into your self-care routine work? Let’s find out.


CBD for aches and pains

One potential benefit of CBD is its role as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Recent studies have found that CBD has the ability to significantly suppress chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain in rodents. There is still some way to go before conclusive results in humans, but CBD’s relationship with how we process pain is one of the most studied cannabinoid interactions. It’s too early to say anything for certain, but if current research continues in the same vein, it may not be long before CBD based pain relief is considered as a viable option. 


CBD for your blood pressure

Viral infections like the flu can put added stress on your body, affecting your blood pressure, heart rate, and overall heart function. This can be an issue for some people- those of us with high blood pressure should be aware that the use of decongestants may raise blood pressure even more. Management of this should always be at the direction of your medical professional, but is it possible that CBD may help?

One study conducted in 2017 seems to think so. In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study, volunteers were given a 600mg dose of CBD or the placebo. 

The results showed reduced blood pressure in those volunteers who had taken the CBD. It’s important to note that the study was conducted on a small group of healthy individuals, so clearly more research is needed to provide a definitive answer. 


CBD and anxiety

Many of us handle anxiety on a daily basis, with varying degrees of success. Some days are absolute triumphs, while others leave us exhausted. Additional stressors such as illness can really turn the dial up when it comes to managing anxiety. It’s bad enough that small tasks can sometimes feel like immovable mountains usually, but add to that the abject misery that comes with the symptoms of flu, and it begins to feel like you’re being kicked while you’re down.

Studies into CBD and anxiety are promising. One study in 2015 looked at a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Results were promising, with researchers stating that ‘preclinical evidence conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors’, and going on to conclude that ‘overall, this review emphasizes the potential value and need for further study of CBD in the treatment of anxiety disorders.’

An earlier study conducted in 2011 took an interesting approach, finding that CBD can reduce anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in patients with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder, or SAD. The study found that ‘pretreatment of SAD patients with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their speech performance’. 

CBD’s potential as an aid for anxiety is one of the primary reasons people use CBD. While the current scientific opinion is one of the measured optimism, many satisfied CBD users are already convinced. If you are concerned about flu interfering with your ability to manage your anxiety, CBD may be able to help.


CBD and sleep

Flu can create that strange twilight zone where you’re exhausted, but still unable to sleep. Fitful spells of rest can wreak havoc with your normal sleeping patterns, and regular, sound sleep is needed to boost your immune system. Additionally, studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the flu. This means that healthy sleep is essential in combating the flu, as well as a way to help prevent catching it in the first place. So how does CBD fit into this?

Studies into CBD and sleep are currently in their early stages, but again are looking positive. One such study between June 2016 to May 2018 found a combination of THC and CBD was effective in improving and maintaining healthy sleeping patterns, while another study published in early 2019 was more cautious in its views. 

CBD as an effective sleep agent is currently a mixed bag, but the data is beginning to support the anecdotal evidence that CBD can help. Each of the linked studies also notes that CBD produced no negative effects, so it may be worth considering.


Final thoughts

After reading this article, you may have more questions than you began with. What does it all mean? Will we ever get to the bottom of CBD’s potential? Why is everything ‘ongoing’?

There’s no simple answer to that, unfortunately. CBD is ticking all the right boxes when it comes to building the evidence, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Research takes time and requires a methodical approach that is constantly open to revision and criticism. What we can do, however, is make an informed decision based on the already available research.

CBD doesn’t possess the ability to make your flu magically disappear, but there’s plenty of research to suggest it can help with the fallout.   

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