Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Cannabis May Show Promise in Treating COVID-19. Here's What It Means for the Pot Industry.

Researchers in Alberta have discovered cannabis may become a surprising addition in the global battle against the coronavirus.

Image source: Getty Images.

By Zhiyuan Sun

A recent study from the University of Lethbridge shows that certain strains of cannabis can inhibit viral activity caused by the novel coronavirus. Do the results point to a potential treatment for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and, if so, will it act as a catalyst for the cannabis industry?

Like all other respiratory viruses, coronavirus is transmitted through tiny respiratory droplets ejected during a cough or sneeze from an infected patient. After a healthy patient inhales such droplets, the virus facilitates its entry into its new host by attaching itself to cellular receptors in lung, intestinal, and oral tissues via angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2). Recently, the scientific community has reached a consensus that ACE2 is the main cellular receptor responsible for COVID-19's entry into host cells.

In the Lethbridge study, researchers injected different extracts of sativa (narrow-leaf varieties of cannabis, thought to have energizing effects) into artificial human tissues containing ACE2. The results were promising, as some strains reduced viral receptor activity by 73%, leading to less likelihood of becoming infected. The difference between ACE2 activity in certain tissues before and after the extracts were administered was statistically significant.  Read more >>