Background: The possibility of cannabidiol (CBD) to be used as an antiviral or to treat viral diseases has received limited attention so far, despite the growing number of claims that CBD could be used for the treatment of viral infection-related conditions. Aim and Methods: Therefore, we systematically retrieved and critically evaluated the scientific literature available on PubMed and the claims on the Internet, to assess the current state of knowledge on the use of CBD in viral diseases, and to provide suggestions for future research directions. Results: PubMed search referenced two original articles supporting the use of CBD for the treatment of hepatitis C and Kaposi sarcoma and one article reporting the ability of CBD to reduce neuroinflammation in a virus-induced animal model of multiple sclerosis. Internet search found 25 websites claiming more indications for CBD. Remarkably, those claims were provided mostly by commercial websites and were not supported by appropriate scientific references. Conclusion: Although preclinical studies suggest the potential effectiveness of CBD in viral diseases such as hepatitis C and Kaposi sarcoma, clinical evidence is still lacking. Anecdotal experiences of CBD use retrieved on the Internet, on the other side, lack any support from sound scientific evidence, although they might in some cases provide suggestions for conditions associated with viral infections that may deserve proper assessment in well-designed clinical trials.
Keywords: Ebola; antiviral effects; cannabidiol; cannabinoid; hepatitis C; herpes.
Copyright 2020, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.