Scientists at a Canadian university have identified at least 13 strains of cannabis sativa, a substance found in marijuana, that could be used to help prevent and treat covid-19. The discovery was described in an article published on the Preprints portal.
The team led by Professor of Biology at the University of Lethbridge Igor Kovalchuk concentrated the studies on certain extracts of the herb with effect on the proteins ACE2 and TMPRSS2, embedded in the cell membrane and that act as a gateway for the new coronavirus in the host cells.
Initial results suggest that 13 extracts of the herb, rich in cannabinoid (anti-inflammatory CDB), have the ability to modulate the expression of ACE2 in target tissues of covid-19 and down-regulate TMPRSS2. Thus, such strains have the potential to be used in the development of preventive treatments, in the form of mouthwash or gargle for clinical and home use, reducing infection through the oral mucosa.
According to Kovalchuk, it is necessary to look carefully at all treatment alternatives for the disease: “Given the current terrible and rapidly developing epidemiological situation, all possible opportunities and therapeutic paths need to be considered,” said the researcher at the university located in the province. of Alberta.
Study still needs to be reviewed
Despite the importance of the discovery by researchers at the Canadian institution, the study on the use of cannabis in the treatment of covid-19 has not yet been reviewed or validated by the scientific community.
“Although our most successful extracts require additional validation in a large-scale analysis and in an animal model, our study is crucial for the future analysis of the effects of medical cannabis against covid-19,” wrote the research co-author.
The next step is to conduct clinical trials and, for that, researchers are already looking for partnerships.