After screening more than 400 strains of cannabis, researchers at the University of Lethbridge are focusing on a dozen that show promising results in ensuring less fertile ground for the coronavirus, said biologist Igor Kovalchuk in the Calgary herald. The hypothesis that cannabis had the ability to modulate the receptors in our body, therefore, less of the virus enters the receptors and therefore prevents its spread, is confirmed: Cannabis extracts show that they can make people more resistant to the new coronavirus.
A number of them have reduced the number of these receptors (of the virus) by 73%, the probability of it settling there is much lower. If they can reduce the number of receptors, the risk of infection is much lower ”. Mr Kovalchuk said.
Using strains of cannabis sativa in the past three months, the researcher has stated that the effective balance between the components of cannabis THC and CBD is still unclear to block the new coronavirus but these are generally the anti- CBD-rich inflammatory drugs that have shown the most promise, he added.
It will take a long time to find the active ingredient, there could be a lot. We are focusing more on the high levels of CBD because people can take higher doses without being weak.said Kovalchuk, who has partnered with Alberta cannabis research company Swysh and Pathway RX, the latter partly owned by Sundial Growers, a licensed cannabis producer based in Olds.
The Health Canada licensed study using 3D artificial human tissue models looked for ways to prevent the highly contagious new coronavirus from finding a host in the lungs, intestines and oral cavity. If successful, the work could find practical medical use in the form of mouthwash, gargles, inhalants or gel.
It would be cheaper for people and have a lot less side effects. The lack of clinical trials remains a barrier, and funding for an increasingly cash-strapped cannabis industry is not here to fuel that. We have clinicians who are willing to work with us, but for a lot of companies in the cannabis industry, it's a significant amount that they can't afford, ”he said.
The scientist stressed that the findings would not lead to a vaccine but something "less specific and precise" nonetheless another possible weapon against COVID-19.
“The extracts from our high CBD sativa lines are the most successful and innovative, pending further research could become a useful and safe addition to the treatment of COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy. Given the current epidemiological situation, which is disastrous and rapidly evolving, all therapeutic possibilities and all possible avenues must be considered ”.
Israeli researchers have started clinical trials of CBD as a treatment to repair cells damaged by COVID-19 using its anti-inflammatory capabilities. It is believed that CBD could enhance the traditional effect of steroids in this type of treatment for life-threatening patients and also strengthen the immune system.
It is this kind of research that deserves government funding in Canada, said the scientist.
“Our work could have a huge influence - there aren't many drugs that have the potential to reduce infection by 70-80%,” he said.