The continuous spread of COVID-19 around the world has made researchers consider numerous treatment alternatives including the use of existing drugs. Medical cannabis is gaining more traction as a potential covid 19 treatment, but while research is still ongoing, we can’t conclude whether it is considered a safe and effective treatment for the coronavirus.
Current research on cannabis as a COVID-19 treatment .The ongoing federal ban of cannabis in the US makes it difficult to conduct cannabis research on covid 19 and other ailments in the US. Nonetheless, over the last months, researchers at the University of Miami researchers commenced a study into how the covid 19 pandemic is influencing American cannabis users during this worrying period.
A recent partnership between cannabis research companies Pathway RX and Swysh Inc. and the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada uncovered that specific Cannabis sativa extracts may be useful in treatments to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.
The study specifically found that cannabis extracts may affect the expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2, which are proteins in human cells that have been studied to be the entry point for the virus. But this research is yet to be published as it hasn’t been peer-reviewed.
Following an early pre-publication of the study, the researchers stated that “While their most effective extracts still need further large-scale validation, the study is necessary to further analyze the effects of medical cannabis on COVID-19. They also said that their successful C. sativa lines extract is still pending further investigation and it may become an effective and safe alternative in treating COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy.
The researchers added that their extracts could come in the form of a mouthwash or “throat gargle” to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection.
Tetra Bio-Pharma, a Canadian biopharmaceutical company specializing in cannabinoid-derived drug discovery and development is also leading research on covid 19 . The company is still gathering funds to advance its COVID-19 program in Canada and the US. In the program, they’ll examine the active molecule in their synthetic cannabinoid drug PPP003, hoping that it may decrease the inflammation and immune system overactivity that can lead to sepsis, thus promoting enhanced clinical outcomes.
According to a statement released by the company, Cannabinoids that act at CB2R [the type 2 cannabinoid receptor] may reduce the acute inflammatory response in experimental sepsis which could be useful for SARS-CoV-2, patients. There is a need for well-designed clinical trials of PPP003 to prove the effectiveness of this drug in preventing the progression of symptoms of acute lung injury and heightened immune response seen in some patients following SARS-CoV-2 infection, the company added.
InnoCan Pharma Ltd, an Israeli pharmaceutical company focused on cannabis therapies, partnered with Tel Aviv University to develop a possible cell therapy treatment that uses “CBD-loaded exosomes” to treat COVID-19 patients. This product will be administered in the form of inhalation, and it will also work for other lung infections.
There are many ongoing studies on Covid 19 that can prove to be effective but due to the stigma surrounding cannabis as well as the federal ban on it, it becomes difficult to publish these studies. But in the meantime, let’s hope that the researchers continue their efforts on finding the cure for covid 19 using marijuana.