Canadian researchers: “Cannabis makes it less susceptible to corona”
MAY 11, 2020
Researchers from the University of Lethbridge in Canada are investigating weed as a preventative against corona and therapy in COVID-19. Their preliminary results are very hopeful.
It appears that certain cannabis extracts make people more resistant to the new corona virus. That is what Igor Kovalchuk, research leader of a team of scientists in Alberta, Canada, claims.
After scouring 400 cannabis strains, the Lethbridge University team is now focusing on some promising varieties. The scientists mainly see that the number of virus receptors decreases under the influence of these cannabis strains. This reduces the chance that someone gets sick.
73% fewer virus receptors
“Some cannabis strains have reduced the amount of (virus) receptors by 73 percent, so the chance of the virus entering is much smaller,” Kovalchuk told Canadian media. “If we can reduce the number of receptors, the chance of infection is much smaller.”
The researcher, who has looked at different cannabis strains over the past three months, said the effective balance between THC and CBD is still unclear. They hope to find an answer to this in the near future.
“It will take a long time to figure out what the most active combination is – there can be many,” says Kovalchuk. “But it is generally the anti-inflammatory properties of a high CBD level that seem most promising,” he adds.
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Clinical testing becomes difficult
Drs. Igor Kovalchuk from the University of Lethbridge in Canada conducts groundbreaking research on medicinal weed. [Image: Uleth]
The study was licensed by Health Canada and uses artificial human 3D tissue models. The aim is to find ways to prevent the highly contagious coronavirus from finding a new host in people’s lungs, intestines and oral cavity.
If successful, the researchers can test further on humans. Then they can work on a medicine. The team is now thinking of a mouthwash with which people can gargle, inhalants or softgel capsules.
Kovalchuk says that it will be difficult to test clinically. Finances are a particular problem. Medical cannabis, as crazy as it may sound, is still in its infancy and has yet to garner a lot of clinical credits in the medical world. Kovalchuk also does not expect tons of money from the cannabis industry itself. The industry there is currently going through a financial downturn.
“We have clinicians who want to work with us, but for many companies in the cannabis industry, it’s a significant amount they can’t afford,” he says.
No vaccine, but treatment
The scientist emphasizes that the findings will not lead to a vaccine. Rather, Kovalchuk is thinking of a possible weapon against COVID-19, the disease that causes the coronavirus.
“The extracts from our most successful and new CBD C sativa lines, pending further research, may become a useful and safe addition to the treatment of COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy,” said Kovalchuk.
“Given the current nasty and rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, every possible opportunity and possibility should be considered.” Hopefully others will see this and the research will find financial support soon.