Sign In
  • ENG

Can marijuana offer a cure for COVID-19? Scientists explore possibilities

Experts studied how extracts high in CBD, the main non-psychoactive ingredients in marijuana, interacted with the receptors that the novel coronavirus uses to attack cells.

Scientists look at cannabis as a cure for COVID-19. But this does not mean that you rush to stock up on weed, they caution. Read on to know more.

Written by Jahnavi Sarma |Updated : May 21, 2020 12:14 PM IST

The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging on. Nothing that scientists and governments do seem to contain the surge in the number of cases. Experts are desperately trying to find a cure for this deadly contagion. As of date, numerous clinical trials are going on in different parts of the world. Many human trials have also started. Though some of them show promise, nothing is definite yet. Since this is a new variant of coronavirus, scientists do not have any data to fall back on. This make the task of finding a vaccine difficult.

Now scientists are exploring the theory that maybe compounds in cannabis can prevent coronavirus from 'hijacking' human cells. In a recent study at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, researchers looked at 400 cannabis strains and focused on about a dozen. They studied how extracts high in CBD, the main non-psychoactive ingredients in marijuana, interacted with the receptors that the novel coronavirus uses to attack cells.

According to them, the extracts lowered the number of receptors the virus uses to infects cells and multiply by more than 70 per cent. But they also said that this does not mean that people should rush out and by cannabis products. They further added that they can confirm the results only after clinical trials. The pre-peer reviewed journal Preprints published this study. Experts have looked at cannabis for a long time now to see how it can help in certain medical conditions. Its use in the therapy for some types of cancer, inflammation, anxiety and obesity is already documented.

Also Read

More News

About the study

For the purpose of the study, researchers teamed up with Pathway Rx, a cannabis therapy research company, and Swysh Inc, a cannabinoid-based research company. They created artificial 3D human models of oral, airway and intestinal tissues with a sample of high CBD extracts from Cannabis Sativa plants. The extracts were low in THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The team also carried out tests to study the effect the extracts had on angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the receptors required for the virus to enter human cells. They saw that the extracts helped reduce the number of receptors that are the 'gateway' for the coronavirus to 'hijack' host cells. Researchers say that less the number of receptors, the less chance a person has of getting infected.

Implications of the study

According to researchers, since the COVID-19 virus is highly contagious and there is no vaccine in sight, experts need to explore every possible therapeutic opportunities and avenues. If the trials are successful, they say that the CBD strains may be used as mouth wash, gargle, inhalants or gel caps. They also add that this may be a cheaper option for people, and it will also come with less side-effects. But they also said that they have not examined the effects of smoking cannabis on COVID-19. They also add that none of these extracts are available in the market. So, you should not rush out to buy weed and smoke it as a preventive measure.

Total Wellness is now just a click away.

Follow us on