CBD ‘may become a useful and safe addition to the treatment of Covid-19 as an adjunct therapy
Canadian researchers are studying the potential for marijuana to be used to prevent coronavirus infections.
Researchers at the University of Lethbridge in Calgary are studying more than 400 strains of cannabis and have determined that at least a dozen may offer potential as part of treatments to prevent coronavirus from infecting a host.
According to the researchers, the effective strains have, in some instances, managed to reduce virus receptors, which reduces the chance for an individual to catch coronavirus.
“A number of them have reduced the number of these receptors by 73 per cent, the chance of it getting in is much lower,” Dr Igor Kovalchuk told the Calgary Herald. “If they can reduce the number of receptors, there’s much less chance of getting infected.”
Mr. Kovalchuk said much more research would be necessary before they understand precisely whether CBD, THC, or some combination of ingredients is causing the reduction in receptors.
He added researchers would likely focus on understanding how high-CBD strains work, as CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and can be taken frequently and in high-concentration without the risk of getting the patient high or otherwise impairing them.
The preliminary study, which has not been peer-reviewed, focused on preventing coronavirus from finding a host while in the lungs, intestines and mouth. Should further research prove fruitful, Mr Kovalchuk said medicinal mouth washes, gargles, gel caps or inhalants could potentially be used to help reduce their risk of infection.
“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,” he said. “Given the current dire and rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue must be considered.”
Despite the initial promising results, researchers have been unable to secure funding to begin conducting clinical trials.
“We have clinicians who are willing to work with us but for a lot of companies in the cannabis business, it’s significant cash that they can’t afford,” Mr Kovalchuk said. “Our work could have a huge influence – there aren’t many drugs that have the potential of reducing infection by 70 to 80 per cent.”
In addition to the Canadian study, a group of Israeli researchers has also begun clinical trials meant to test whether CBD can be used as a way to repair cells that have been damaged by Covid-19.
Israeli researchers have launched three clinical trials that utilize CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties as potential COVID-19 treatment.
Israeli scientists have launched clinical trials into whether cannabis can play an effective role in stopping or slowing the coronavirus. Though lung health experts have warned smoking marijuana could exacerbate COVID-19 and its spread, Israeli scientists will study cannabidiol (CBD) alongside existing treatment options as a possible solution.
Last week, InnoCan Pharma announced a collaboration with Tel Aviv University to instill CBD medicine through exosomes — or the small cell structures created when stem cells multiply. The unconventional method will utilize the exosomes as “homing missiles,” as they can uniquely target cell organs damaged by COVID-19. Researchers then believe CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties will repair the damaged cells through a synergistic effect.
As COVID-19 attacks the respiratory system, scientists will have patients receive CBD-enriched exosomes through an inhalation device. Previous studies have shown CBD can help regulate the body’s immune system and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
A second clinical trial will occur over the coming weeks and includes 10 Covid-19 patients currently undergoing treatment in Israel’s Rabin Medical Center. Doctors will combine traditional steroids and CBD, with the belief CBD will enhance the therapeutic potential of the steroids. The trial, conducted by Stero Biotechs in collaboration with Mor Research Application, already has plans to expand treatment to 40 additional patients should it prove successful.
“We estimate that our CBD-based treatment can enhance the current treatment of those patients who are in life-threatening conditions,” Stero Biotechs founder and CEO David Bassa said in a statement. “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.”
A third study, launched by Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center, will investigate whether CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties could lower respiratory symptoms experienced in moderate COVID-19 patients.
Canadian researchers have also announced intentions to study what role cannabis can play in slowing COVID-19. They also believe marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties could provide a crucial role in potential treatment.
Source: independent.co.uk, calgaryherald.com, benzinga.com
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