Cannabis may block the coronavirus

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NATIONWIDE — Canadian scientists at the University of Lethbridge have produced a study that shows that some strains of cannabis can reduce the amount of the COVID-19 virus that enters a human body. The virus moves from one person to another in tiny respiratory droplets. When the virus enters the body, it attaches itself to specific receptors called ACE2 receptors. The ACE2 receptors are located in organs throughout the body including the lungs.

The researchers in the study injected various strains of marijuana into artificial human tissue and the results reduced ACE2 activity in some cases by as much as 73 percent; researchers say this could greatly reduce the odds of a person getting ill with COVID-19 if they inhale infected droplets. The marijuana used in the study were strains that were high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in the chemical in marijuana that alters human consciousness.

The study says, “The extracts of our most successful and novel high CBD sativa lines, pending further investigation, may become a useful and safe addition to the treatment of COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy. They can be used to develop easy-to-use preventative treatments in the form of mouthwash and throat gargle products for both clinical and at-home use.

“Such products ought to be tested for their potential to decrease viral entry via the oral mucosa. Given the current dire and rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue must be considered.”

The study, however, is preclinical and has not yet been peer-reviewed. Initially, healthcare professionals were concerned that smoking marijuana would exacerbate cases on COVID-19 because of smoke being introduced into the lungs. Now, however, a growing number of researchers are looking into the possible benefits of CBD. In Israel, three clinical trials are underway regarding CBD and COVID-19.

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