Specific Strains of Cannabis May Be Beneficial In Preventing Coronavirus, Says New Study
The search for both a cure and a vaccine for coronavirus continues.
We had previously written an article about "Cannabis' What If Momement with the Coronavirus" which stated that if a study or legit medical finding came out that showed cannabis helping to prevent, or lessen the impact of COVID-19 on the body, it could be a watershed moment in history that propels federal legalization. While we may not have a "cannabis cure" or "vaccine for corona", we may have serious progess and research looking for a pro-cannabis link.
Researchers from all around the world are looking at traditional and conventional possibilities. So far, we didn’t have any study that pointed to the use of cannabis as a potential life-saving medication for coronavirus…. Until now.
Researchers from the University of Lethbridge have gone through some 400 strains of cannabis, and found around a dozen that may bring hope to the hundreds of thousands of people around the world dying from coronavirus – and maybe even be able to prevent it.
“A number of them have reduced the number of these virus receptors by 73 percent, the chance of it getting in is much lower,” explains Dr. Igor Kovalchuk, a biological scientist. “If they can reduce the number of receptors, there’s much less chance of getting infected,” reports the Calgary Herald.
After experimenting with cannabis strains over the course of three months, Kovalchuk says that the hope lies in the right balance of CBD and THC in a strain. We all know that CBD is the most famous of the two for its medicinal properties; while THC has its own as well, many in the medical community are still wary of it due to its stigma caused by its ability to get people high.
“It will take a long time to find what the active ingredient is – there may be many,” Kovalchuk says. However, he explains that high-CBD strains possess a powerful anti-inflammatory property that may be beneficial specifically for coronavirus. “We focus more on the higher CBD because people can take higher doses and not be impaired,” he said.
Ongoing studies by Health Canada are involving 3D tissue models from artificial humans. They are focused primarily on researching how cannabis may prevent the virus from locating a host in the human body, specifically within the lungs, oral cavity, and intestines. Let’s hope for the best, because if these scientists are successful, this could mean we may eventually have access to cannabis medication against coronavirus, in the form of gel caps, inhalants, or mouth washes, Kovalchuk says. “It would be cheaper for people and have a lot less side-effects.”
Cannabis researchers have been victims of barriers to research and funding, and the presence of a global pandemic doesn’t make things any easier. “We have clinicians who are wiling to work with us but for a lot of companies in the cannabis business, it’s significant cash that they can’t afford,” he explains.
What they are working on isn’t towards a vaccine, but still another important medical breakthrough to treat coronavirus.
“The extracts of our most successful and novel high CBD C sativa lines, pending further investigation, may become a useful and safe addition to the treatment of COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy,” Kovalchuk says. “Given the current dire and rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue must be considered.”
“Our work could have a huge influence – there aren’t many drugs that have the potential of reducing infection by 70 to 80 percent,” he says.
In Israel, researchers have also started clinical trials to see if CBD can treat cells that have been damaged by the virus with CBD’s potent anti-inflammatory properties. Previous research tells us that CBD can enhance steroids’ effects when used to treat patients with life-threatening health problems while strengthening the immune system.
Researchers from the Israel Institute of Biological Reserch announced a breakthrough in identifying an antibody that could be used to treat coronavirus patients. While the antibody hasn’t yet been tested on either animals or humans, what matters for now is that it seems to meet three important clinical criteria needed to determine that it is a viable treatment.
Though they have been unable to confirm a timeline for developing the medication, they remain optimistic. “This is an important milestone, but afterwards comes complicated tests and a process of getting regulatory approval. Per an assessment by the institute’s scientists, this technological breakthrough is poised to shorten the process, which will go on for several months,” they said in a statement.
It’s not surprising that Israel should emerge as a leader in coronavirus research; they have long been home to important research institutes who are now focusing on finding treatment for the coronavirus.
Of course, Israeli researchers aren’t as hampered by a lack of funding as those in the United States. They are lucky enough to have a private sector where there are several companies with a focus on life sciences. It is in this very sector that Israeli has had several breakthroughs, including cannabis related studies.
Another study in Israel, this time by InnoCan Pharma together with Tel Aviv University, announced their collaboration to investigate the use of CBD and its impact on exosomes, which act as homing missiles, since they can target the cell organs of those that are impacted by coronavirus. “We estimate that our CBD-based treatment can enhance the current treatment of those patients who are in life-threatening conditions,” says Stero Biotechs founder and CEO, David Bassa. “Hospitalized COVID-19 patients are mostly being treated with steroids and our study is planned to demonstrate the benefit of a combined solution with steroid treatments. We are hopeful that this study will lead to faster benefit for the growing number of COVID-19 patients in Israel and around the world.”