As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread around the world, scientists and researchers are scrambling for answers about what type of drug regimens could help slow or stop the illness.
But while some government leaders have already been cavalier about announcing potential treatments, at least one Canadian doctor wants to run clinical trials on cannabinoids to find out if the cannabis compounds can help COVID-19 patients reduce inflammation and boost their immune systems.
“What we know from medical cannabis over the course of the literature and the experience we’ve had in Canada over the years is that there are known anti-inflammatory properties that cannabinoids have — cannabinoids being the active ingredients that come from the cannabis plant,” Dr. Mohan Cooray, president and CEO of the physician-led online medical cannabis retailer Cannalogue told The Toronto Sun.
“On top of that, we know from a medical standpoint that these active ingredients have immunomodulatory properties, meaning that they augment the immune system to make it better… and we’ve seen this in diseases such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis that medical cannabis functions as a naturally occurring immunomodulator.”
In the weeks since COVID-19 bregan spreading across North America, legal cannabis sales have skyrocketed, but science-minded professionals have largely recommended abstaining from smoked marijuana as the crisis continues. Since coronavirus is a respiratory illness, smoking of any kind could irritate the lungs and potentially exacerbate symptoms. Likewise, health officials and cannabis experts in the US have already spent time rebuking overzealous cannabis sellers from touting CBD and THC as untested cure-alls.
But while most experts agree that consuming cannabis via edibles or topicals is probably safer than smoking or vaping in the face of COVID-19, researchers like Dr. Cooray are still hopeful that he or fellow scientists will be able to examine the effect of cannabinoids on coronavirus in an official — and not anecdotal — setting.
Unfortunately, despite Dr. Cooray’s push, as of press time, officials at Health Canada have not yet approved any clinical trials involving cannabinoids and COVID-19 treatment.
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