Scientists are rapidly searching for ways to reduce the threat of COVID-19 and they are beginning to turn to the cannabis industry.
Covid-19, which has kept many of us at home on our couches for the past several months, doesn’t yet have a cure or a vaccine. But researchers in Alberta, Canada have found that our nation’s favorite plant might hold the secret weapon to curb the spread of the virus.
The study was published on Preprints, an online platform dedicated to getting research out there, and while it has yet to be peer-reviewed, the preliminary findings are very intriguing to say the least.
Researchers at the University of Lethbridge looked at over 400 Health Canada-approved THC- and CBD-dominant strains, and found that 13 of them—particularly sativa strains with high CBD content can down-regulate the protein receptor ACE2, which is targeted by the coronavirus in the mouth, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and elsewhere in the body.
In other words, because some cannabis strains can interact with the same receptors COVID-19 would, consuming them may reduce your chances of contracting the virus. And not in an insignificant way: the study suggests some strains were able to reduce virus receptor activity by up to 73%.
Keep in mind that the study has yet to be peer-reviewed which is a critical step in the validation process, and that scientists haven’t even tested the process on humans.
The existing research was performed on artificial 3D models that mimic body parts, like airways and intestinal tissues. At this point, there is no way of knowing with certainty whether these strains of cannabis that worked on the 3D models would act the same way on real humans.
Researchers do point out that these strains, especially when taken as an easy-to-consume oral product such as an oil or mouth spray, could be used as part of a prevention plan to help limit the spread of infection. So, it is by no means a vaccine, but it could help with protection yourself.
“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 the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Igor Kovalchuk. “Given the current dire and rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue must be considered.”
Link to study: