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The potential of cannabidiol in the COVID-19 pandemic: a hypothesis letter
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  • Giuseppe Esposito,
  • Marcella Pesce,
  • Luisa Seguella,
  • Walter Sanseverino,
  • Jie Lu,
  • Chiara Corpetti,
  • Giovanni Sarnelli
Giuseppe Esposito
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
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Marcella Pesce
Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
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Luisa Seguella
Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza
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Walter Sanseverino
Sequentia Biotech SL, Carrer Comte D’Urgell 240 3D, Barcelona, Spain
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Jie Lu
Department of Human Anatomy, College of Basic Medical Sciences, China Medical University, Shenyang City, Liaoning, China
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Chiara Corpetti
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
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Giovanni Sarnelli
Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
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Abstract

Identifying candidate drugs effective in the new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is crucial, pending a vaccine against SARS-CoV2. We suggest the hypothesis that Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid, has the potential to limit the severity and progression of the disease for several reasons: 1) High-CBD Cannabis Sativa extracts are able to downregulate the expression of the two key receptors for SARS-CoV2 in several models of human epithelia 2) CBD exerts a wide range of immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects and it can mitigate the uncontrolled cytokine production featuring Acute Lung Injury 3) Being a PPARΥ agonist, it can display a direct antiviral activity 4) PPARΥ agonists are regulators of fibroblast/myofibroblast activation and can inhibit the development of pulmonary fibrosis, thus ameliorating lung function in recovered patients. We hope our hypothesis, corroborated by several preclinical evidence, will inspire further targeted studies to test CBD as a support drug against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peer review status:Published

06 May 2020Submitted to British Journal of Pharmacology
08 May 2020Submission Checks Completed
08 May 2020Assigned to Editor
09 May 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
18 May 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
22 May 20201st Revision Received
27 May 2020Submission Checks Completed
27 May 2020Assigned to Editor
28 May 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
29 May 2020Editorial Decision: Accept
Published in British Journal of Pharmacology. 10 June 2020. 10.1111/bph.15157