CBD vs COVID19 : new study finds CBD effective for blocking COVID19 infectionMathieu Luquet
CBD vs COVID19 : a new study finds CBD effective for blocking COVID19 infection
University of Lethbridge researcher Igor Kovalchuk is leading a study on medical cannabis as a potential therapy for COVID-19, especially high CBD strains.
Cannabis extracts are showing potential in making people more resistant to the novel coronavirus,
says an Alberta researcher leading a study.
After sifting through 400 cannabis strains, researchers at the University of Lethbridge are concentrating on about a dozen. It shows promising results in ensuring less fertile ground for the potentially lethal virus to take root, said biological scientist Dr. Igor Kovalchuk.
“A number of them have reduced the number of these (virus) receptors by 73%. The chance of it getting in is much lower,” said Kovalchuk.
“If they can reduce the number of receptors, there’s much less chance of getting infected.”
Employing cannabis Sativa strains over the past three months, the researcher said the effective balance between cannabis components THC and CBD — the latter more typically associated with medical use. It is still unclear in blocking the novel coronavirus.
But it’s generally the anti-inflammatory properties of high-CBD content that have shown most promise, he added.
“We focus more on the higher CBD because people can take higher doses and not be impaired,” said Kovalchuk.
The study, under Health Canada licence, using artificial human 3-D tissue models has been seeking ways to hinder the highly contagious novel coronavirus from finding a host in the lungs, intestines, and oral cavity.
But the absence of clinical trials remains a barrier. Moreover, funding from an increasingly cash-strapped cannabis industry isn’t there to fuel that, said Kovalchuk.
“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,” he said.
The scientist emphasized the findings wouldn’t lead to a vaccine — something “less specific and precise”. However, nonetheless another possible weapon against COVID-19.
“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,” said Kovalchuk.
“Given the current dire and rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue must be considered.”
It’s thought CBD could enhance the traditional effect of steroids in such treatment of patients in life-threatening condition. It can also bolster the immune system.
“Our work could have a huge influence — there aren’t many drugs that have the potential of reducing infection by 70 to 80%,” he said.