Canada: Cannabis extracts are showing potential in making people more resistant to the novel coronavirus infections, says an Alberta University researcher leading a study in Canada.
After sifting through 400 cannabis strains, researchers at the University of Lethbridge are concentrating on about a dozen that shows promising results in ensuring less fertile ground for the potentially lethal virus to take root, said biological scientist Dr. Igor Kovalchuk.
The University of Lethbridge is a public comprehensive and research University, founded in the liberal Education tradition, located in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, with a second campus in the city of Calgary, Alberta.
“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.”
Israeli researchers have begun clinical trials of CBD as a treatment to repair cells damaged by COVID-19 by using its anti-inflammatory abilities.
It’s thought CBD could enhance the traditional effect of steroids in such treatment of patients in life-threatening condition and also bolster the immune system.
It’s the kind of research and his own that deserves government support in Canada, whose federal government has pledged $1.1 billion in funding for COVID-19 research said the U of L scientist.
“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,” he said.
“A number of them have reduced the number of these (virus) receptors by 73 per cent, 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,” he added.
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 is still unclear in blocking the novel coronavirus.
“It will take a long time to find what the active ingredient is — there may be many,” said Kovalchuk, whose Pathway RX is owned partly by Olds-based licensed cannabis producer Sundial Growers and partnered with Alberta cannabis researcher Swysh.
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.
Last year, President Yoweri Museveni officially endorsed the growing of ‘weed’ in Uganda after he launched a Cannabis growing company called Industrial Hemp Uganda.
Months later, EU countries also went ahead and okayed Uganda to export its cannabis to EU countries after it passed tests.