Is Cannabis a Good Medicinal Option against Coronavirus?

Photo of author

( — May 12, 2020) — According to a Canadian research team, cannabis could provide resistance for the body, protecting it against the COVID-19 virus. This was discovered through a larger experiment focussing on cancer and Chon’s disease treatments.

A Race to Find a Vaccine

Everyone agrees that the most important thing today is to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, as well as medicinal drugs to treat and cure it. That is why there are so many researchers focussing on the subject around the world and coming out with various theories being experimented. Remdesivir, a drug manufactured to treat Ebola patients, has been one of the names coming up frequently and has been used in the USA to treat some patients. Meanwhile, in Germany, the tests are focussing around a drug created to fight cancer.

French researchers have found that nicotine may prevent the coronavirus from attaching itself to the body. The Canadian study is pointing in the same direction regarding cannabis. Dr. Igor Kovalchuck, a professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Lethbridge, has been heading this research and they have found that a special strain of cannabis reduces the capacity of the coronavirus to enter the patient’s lungs where it normally attaches itself and develops (French information on cannabis).

What is ACE2?

For a virus to enter and remain inside a human body, it needs a receptor. In the case of the coronavirus, it would seem like it is the angiotensin-converting enzyme II, otherwise known as ACE2, which is the place the COVID-19 attaches itself. This enzyme is usually found in lung tissues, oral and nasal mucus, the kidneys, testes, and gastrointestinal tracts.

The use of cannabis can help to modify the ACE2 levels that are found in those entry points for the virus. By doing so, it can reduce the risk of the virus being able to attach and remain inside a human host. In other words, someone using a drug based on their research could have less chance of being infected by the COVID-19.

Smoking Marijuana Won’t Protect You

The cannabis mentioned in the Canadian study is not the common recreational marijuana. That one is known for its Tetrahydrocannabinol content (THC), which is a psychoactive agent. The cannabis used in the lab is from very special strains. It uses the plant Cannabis sativa, known for its anti-inflammatory effect through cannabidiol (CBD).

They have grown over 800 variants of the Cannabis sativa plant. In these various strains, the scientists have identified 13 extracts which change ACE2 levels in the human parts where they normally can be found. According to them, doing so would protect individuals from the coronavirus. The study will continue and, hopefully, the team can come up with a drug soon.

Funding for Cannabis Research Are Still Too Low

According to Dr. Kovalchuck, it is still quite hard to find funding for research involving cannabinoid in Canada but in other countries as well. The mere idea of cannabis seems to steer politicians away from the subject, afraid that patients could become addicted. But this is a misconception and researchers are hoping that it will soon be changed.