Israeli scientists have launched clinical trials into whether cannabis can play an effective role in stopping or slowing the coronavirus. Though lung health experts have warned smoking marijuana could exacerbate COVID-19 and its spread, Israeli scientists will study cannabidiol (CBD) alongside existing treatment options as a possible solution.
Last week, InnoCan Pharma announced a collaboration with Tel Aviv University to instill CBD medicine through exosomes — or the small cell structures created when stem cells multiply. The unconventional method will utilize the exosomes as “homing missiles,” as they can uniquely target cell organs damaged by COVID-19. Researchers then believe CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties will repair the damaged cells through a synergistic effect.
As COVID-19 attacks the respiratory system, scientists will have patients receive CBD-enriched exosomes through an inhalation device. Previous studies have shown CBD can help regulate the body’s immune system and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
A second clinical trial will occur over the coming weeks and includes 10 Covid-19 patients currently undergoing treatment in Israel’s Rabin Medical Center. Doctors will combine traditional steroids and CBD, with the belief CBD will enhance the therapeutic potential of the steroids. The trial, conducted by Stero Biotechs in collaboration with Mor Research Application, already has plans to expand treatment to 40 additional patients should it prove successful.
“We estimate that our CBD-based treatment can enhance the current treatment of those patients who are in life-threatening conditions,” Stero Biotechs founder and CEO David Bassa said in a statement. “Hospitalized COVID-19 patients are mostly being treated with steroids and our study is planned to demonstrate the benefit of a combined solution with Steroid treatments. We are hopeful that this study will lead to faster benefit for the growing number of COVID-19 patients in Israel and around the world.”
A third study, launched by Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center, will investigate whether CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties could lower respiratory symptoms experienced in moderate COVID-19 patients.
Canadian researchers have also announced intentions to study what role cannabis can play in slowing COVID-19. They also believe marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties could provide a crucial role in potential treatment.
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