Results of a recent preliminary study found that cannabidiol (CBD) could provide some benefits against the coronavirus. Scientists from the University of Lethbridge and University of Calgary teamed up to determine the therapeutic potential for CBD in treating inflammation associated with COVID-19.  The research in human tissue models was published in April of 2020 on Preprints.  The SARS-CoV2 virus enters the body by way of angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) receptors located in the lungs, nose, mouth, and stomach.  According to the preliminary results of the study, several specific high-CBD strains of Cannabis sativa could effectively modulate ACE2 expression. Researchers also found that CBD may downregulate the production of transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2), another critical protein involved in the inflammatory cascade known as the cytokine storm.  Two of the paper’s authors, Dr. Olga Kovalchuck and Dr. Igor Kovalchuck, recently gave an interview to CTV. Said Igor, “Imagine a cell being a large building. Cannabinoids decrease the number of doors in the building by, say, 70 percent…[and] the level of entry will be restricted. So, therefore, you have more chance to fight it.” “There’s a lot of documented information about cannabis in cancer, cannabis in inflammation, anxiety, obesity and what not. When COVID-19 started, Olga had the idea to revisit our data, and see if we can utilize it for COVID.” Added Olga, “The virus has the capacity to bind to [ACE2] and pull it into the cell, almost like a doorway.”  The initial conclusions revealed that the specific C. sativa strains with the highest CBD content were found to be more effective against the coronavirus.  Once the results were in, according to Olga, “We were totally stunned at first, and then we were really happy.” Olga did provide a strong caveat, however, cautioning that, “The key thing is not that any cannabis you would pick up at the store will do the trick.”  Evidently, the potential benefit has only been seen with certain high-CBD anti-inflammatory cannabis strains.  Said Olga, “Given the current dire and rapidly developing epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue needs to be considered. We need to bring it to the people. We need to fight the beast.” Although the research is only preliminary, the greater scientific community will now have the opportunity to attempt to replicate the results in clinical trials. Read the preliminary study for yourself here. Israeli pharmaceutical company InnoCan Pharma raised over $3.5M to develop a CBD-based treatment for COVID-19. This is after the company announced in April that they would be partnering with Ramot at Tel Aviv University (TAU) on a project involving CBD loaded exomes (CLX).  Head of the team at TAU, Dr. Dani Offen, told the Jereuselum Post, “I am pleased to work with the Innocan team on this exciting CLX development project. We are facing a challenging time, and I believe our unique approach holds a promise to offer a treatment for COVID-19, pneumonia and perhaps for other lung inflammations as well.”

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