News, Culture & Society

COVID-19, conspiracy theories and the truth about CBD

The tinfoil hat brigade is out in full force, with rumors and conspiracy theories circulating far and wide about COVID-19. A few fringe propagandists have put forth the idea that COVID-19 was manufactured in a Chinese laboratory and was part of a bioterror attack, a theory that is false, has no basis in fact and only serves to further a growing tendency towards unfounded anti-Asian bias.

Rumors also abound as to cures, many of which are flat-out wrong, some only unproven theories and still others are merely attempts to peddle snake-oil for profit. Most recently, a small-time Southern California actor who refers to himself as a “Genius Entrepreneur” for selling fake pills as a cure. Others have been caught selling fake COVID-19 vaccine kits, and even more people, including some religious leaders, have been promoting things like colloidal silver, various teas and essential oils as cures and preventive measures.

A popular TV preacher selling a $125 silver solution was also shut down by the New York Attorney General for claiming that the snake oil product kills COVID-19, SARS and HIV. In fact, colloidal silver, which is merely a suspension of metallic silver particles in a colloidal base, can be very harmful to one’s health and can cause a condition known as argyria.

The popularity of CBD, and the lack of oversight from the FDA has also led to a few of the less reputable CBD vendors to make unfounded claims. The popularity of CBD is not without reason; there have been several promising studies from reputable sources showing it to be effective for pain, nausea and stress. But one CBD shop in New York tried to sell it as an “immunity oil,” and was shut down by the state’s attorney general. Others have even gone so far as to manufacture and sell “CBD hand sanitizer” to fight COVID-19. Of course, hand sanitizer is a good preventive measure, but the active ingredient in it is alcohol. The addition of CBD is harmless, but it’s not going to keep the virus at bay.

Such claims to harm to the industry, as well as to the millions of people who enjoy the very real benefits of CBD. There is no evidence that CBD cures or prevents COVID-19, and claiming that it does is irresponsible. No reputable retailer or manufacturer of CBD would make such claims.

It’s important in light of the current pandemic to get a clear understanding of what CBD can, and cannot do. CBD is not going to prevent or cure COVID-19, and it’s not going to speed up your recovery if you get it. So far, scientists have not found anything that will. What CBD may do is help you deal with the stress of isolation and promote better sleep. And because several studies as well as anecdotal evidence have shown it to be useful in managing pain, it may help deal with some of the symptoms of COVID-19 and other coronaviruses and influenzas such as muscle aches.

Some conspiracy theorists, including a well-known former NFL football player who promotes a line of CBD products, claim “coverup” while trying to position cannabis, hemp and CBD as more of a miracle cure than a simple useful medicine. The NFL star has falsely claimed that CBD cures coronavirus, insisting on proclaiming “God’s truth” on the matter.

Will CBD prevent or cure COVID-19? There is a simple, straight answer to that: No. Don’t believe what you’ve read on social media or on Facebook memes, or what some celebrities may tell you. Can CBD help with the anxiety you’ve been experiencing as a result of isolation or job loss? Can it help alleviate insomnia and relieve stress? Can you use CBD for anxiety? Will it help with the muscle aches and pains I may get from COVID-19, colds or the flu? According to research, it is very likely.

The small number of false claims about CBD being useful in treating or preventing COVID-19 should not overshadow the very real benefit many people have enjoyed from the product, and should not cast the growing number of reputable and ethical retailers and manufacturers of CBD in a poor light. All but a relative handful of those in the industry have been very diligent in explaining exactly what CBD can, and cannot do, how to use it and what to use it for.

If a CBD company is making outrageous claims about COVID-19 and CBD, don’t buy from them. Purchase your CBD from a reliable, trusted online retailer to minimize in-person contact.