While health officials warn that inhaling combusted or vaporized cannabis may lead to respiratory problems that make you more susceptible to coronavirus and COVID-19, a small team of Canadian researchers have a more inspiring message: cannabis might be a natural way to block coronavirus and COVID-19!
According to a preliminary draft of a scientific research paper titled In Search of Preventative Strategies: Novel Anti-Inflammatory High-CBD Cannabis Sativa Extracts Modulate ACE2 Expression in COVID-19 Gateway Tissues, university researchers in the province of Alberta, Canada are testing several high-CBD cannabis strains and extracts in hopes of finding coronavirus blockers. Their early research indicates that cannabis is likely effective in at least partially blocking coronavirus from entering your body and implanting itself to create COVID-19.
The research team is led by Dr. Igor Kovalchuk, MD, and his wife, Dr. Olga Kovalchuk. The Kovalchuks manage a proprietary horticultural laboratory and research institute, the Plant Biotechnology Laboratory, at the University of Lethbridge. They specialize in plant biotechnology, focus mostly on medicinal plants such as cannabis and poppy, breeding, epigenetics, epigenomics, bioinformatics, genetic engineering and next generation sequencing (NGS) applications.
Along with being a plant researcher, Igor Kovlachuk is a medical doctor who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology; he wrote his doctoral thesis on the molecular biology of breast cancer. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles, books and abstracts, has obtained 10 patents, and was instrumental in breeding a special variety of medicinal poppy.
In 2015, Igor helped create two companies: InPlanta Biotechnology and Pathway Rx. These companies are dedicated to cannabis breeding and innovative medical cannabis paradigms. InPlanta Biotechnology has created hundreds of new cannabis hybrids and developed multiple innovative techniques for genomics-assisted cannabis breeding. InPlanta has a hemp breeding license and is registering several newly-made hemp varieties. InPlanta has also applied to be a licensed producer of cannabis for the Canadian legalized cannabis market.
Kovalchuk says he’s intrigued by the possibility of using cannabis to fight the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus by inhibiting its entry into the human body. SARS-CoV2 is transmitted through respiratory droplets, with potential for aerosol and contact spread, he explains. It gets into humans via a cellular receptor-mediated system that involves an angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) found in high concentrations in lung tissue, oral and nasal mucosa, kidney, testes, and the gastrointestinal tract. The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is known to primarily attack your lungs and respiratory tract.
According to Kovalchuk, his ongoing research shows that some cannabinoids, especially cannabidiol (CBD) can decrease or otherwise alter ACE2 levels to greatly reduce the virus’ ability to enter and gain a foothold in people’s bodies. CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects may also be helpful in fighting COVID-19, he says.
The researcher says his initial studies and his ongoing development of engineered cannabis strains could lead to cannabis extract-based treatments in the form of inhalers, nebulizers, mouthwash and gargling products that deter viral entry into the respiratory tract.
Kovalchuk emphasizes that his research so far hasn’t been conducted on people, but only on tissue culture in labs. When irresponsible media (including a number of cannabis news sites such as “Merry Jane”) reported his research as if he had already found a guaranteed, approved way to use cannabis to fight coronavirus, Facebook and other online news outlets flagged the reports as “fake news.”
Kovalchuk agreed those articles are fake news, saying his early data needs comprehensive verification via large-scale clinical trials in humans, and that cannabis by itself is likely to never be a solo therapy that would work all by itself to defeat coronavirus.
He also notes he’s not yet totally sure which constituents of cannabis, and what forms of CBD, might be most useful in the fight against coronavirus. Marijuana contains at least 400 compounds, and many of them are believed to be unique to cannabis. Many cannabis compounds have medicinal properties, and cannabis has been used for centuries to fight infections. In fact, cannabis provides unique curative and symptom relief that no other medicine provides, and does so without creating the severe negative side effects caused by pharmaceutical drugs used to treat the same conditions.
In the meantime, Israeli researchers are testing CBD as a treatment to repair cells damaged by COVID-19, perhaps in concert with steroids, to reduce inflammation and strengthen a patient’s immune system.
Cannabis growers and users who want to take advantage of this early research are growing high-CBD cannabis strains as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many varieties of autoflowering cannabis are inherently higher in CBD due to the hemp Ruderalis genetics inserted in them to create the autoflowering trait. There are also several very powerful photoperiod cannabis strains that have high CBD levels, along with THC.
You should also read about the UV-C device used by marijuana growers to kill powdery mildew and gray mold–because the device also kills coronavirus.
This exciting Canadian cannabis versus coronavirus research is yet another example of why more and more people believe cannabis is the most useful plant that ever evolved on earth with us!