Researchers in Alberta hope to develop CBD-based treatment for COVID-19

The study focused on how high-CBD extracts affected the proteins through which the virus enters host cells

University of Lethbridge

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Researchers at the University of Lethbridge are exploring ways that CBD could useful as an additional treatment for COVID-19.

According to the university’s news page, a team of researchers led by biology professors Igor and Olga Kovalchuk “recently submitted a paper about their research study on the effects of medical cannabis on COVID-19 to a journal for publication and their manuscript has been uploaded to Preprints.”

The university noted that this means the research has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a journal.

The study focused on how 13 high-CBD cannabis extracts affected ACE2 and TMPRSS2, which are proteins in the cellular membrane that represent a key gateway by which the COVID-19 virus enters host cells. According to the article on the University of Lethbridge website, the findings show that the extracts “can modulate ACE2 expression in COVID-19 target tissues and down-regulate TMPRSS2.”

The high-CBD lines “could be used to develop preventative treatments in the form of a mouthwash or throat gargle product for clinical and home use”, the article says.

The Kovalchuks say that their research team is actively pursuing partnerships to conduct clinical trials. Their research to date has been carried out in partnership with Pathway RX, which focuses on developing custom cannabis therapies, and Swysh, a company focused on cannabinoid research and development. 

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