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Cannabidiol: A Coronavirus Treatment Like No Other!

November 05, 2020 | Food & Beverages

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an essential compound present in the Cannabis sativa or the marijuana plant, best known for its psychoactive properties that are released by the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, despite not having any psychoactive properties, CBD has been looked upon with suspicion. The regulations surrounding this compound are ambiguous and change from country to country. For example, in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared only one CBD variant, a prescription drug to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. However, at present it is illegal to market and distribute CBD as a dietary supplement or as a food additive. In the U.K., cannabidiol is not a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act, 2001, and in 2018 the Home Secretary announced that specialist doctors in the U.K. can legally prescribe medical products derived from the cannabis plant.

While regulations governing CBD differ, the compound’s anti-inflammatory properties have grabbed the attention of medical researchers and cannabis companies around the world. These properties, researchers believe, can prove beneficial in treating COVID-19 patients.

Can CBD Emerge as a Potential Weapon against the Coronavirus?

The novel coronavirus has created a storm in the field of medicine, impelling doctors, healthcare professionals, and medical researchers to go beyond conventional wisdom and explore treatment alternatives outside the current realms of healthcare. The situation has gotten even more desperate due to the absence of any effective antiviral drugs or vaccine for the infection. Constant efforts, however, have borne fruit as there is now some evidence enunciating the efficacy of CBD against COVID-19. The evidence comes from a study conducted by researchers from the Augusta University in Georgia, USA, which was published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine in October 2020. Their study found that CBD can aid in decreasing and even reversing the damage inflicted on the lungs by COVID-19. The scientists observed that CBD’s anti-inflammatory powers reduce the inflammation produced by the sudden influx of cytokines released by the immune system and improves the body’s oxygen levels. Although more research will be needed to confirm the consistency of these findings, the study is an important step towards finding an effective alternative treatment for COVID-19.

Industry-Academia Partnerships to Open New Opportunities for COVID Research

Complementing academic research on potential coronavirus treatments is the growing involvement of private players in the cannabis industry. For example, in April 2020, the University of Lethbridge in Canada teamed up with Swysh, a company specializing in CBD research, and Pathway RX, a company focused on developing cannabis-based therapies. The collaboration is aimed at studying how certain cannabis sativa extracts, primarily cannabidiol, affect TMPRSS2 and ACE2 proteins, which are the main gateways through with the coronavirus enters host cells. A similar partnership was forged between InnoCan Pharma, a pharmaceutical company based in Israel, and the Tel Aviv University in April 2020. This collaboration aims at developing a unique cell therapy for COVID-19 patients using CBD-loaded exosomes. The exosomes, which are created when cells multiply, can target specific damaged organs and improve inter-cell communication. The researchers hope to combine the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD with the cell-healing powers of exosomes to create a highly-effective treatment for coronavirus patients.

What Lies Ahead for CBD?

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened a plethora of opportunities for players in the CBD market. Advocates of cannabis can capitalize on this unprecedented situation spawned by the pandemic to dispel myths and mollify concerns surrounding the intake of cannabis-based medications. Legislative support to cannabis businesses has also provided an additional booster shot to the cannabis industry. For example, the USD 3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2020, meant to help Americans struggling amid the pandemic, included a cannabis banking provision. Under this provision, banks and financial institutions in the U.S. can extend loans and other financial services to state-legal marijuana businesses. Such measures will go a long way in legally recognizing the wide-ranging mental and physiological benefits of cannabis.


About the Author

Name: Shantanu Ayachit

Shantanu Ayachit is part of a talented team of content writers working in Fortune Business Insights™, one of the most promising market research firms in the industry. He has experience in developing quality content and is currently involved in writing articles, press releases, and blogs for the company. He is highly motivated and enjoys putting ideas and thoughts into words to enable the reader to experience a seamless perusal.

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