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New cannabis strains may prevent the most fatal respiratory effects of the novel coronavirus

University of Lethbridge researchers are developing cannabis strains to potentially treat or even prevent COVID-19 infections.
By: Heather Marie Connors
July 11, 2020
Photo: CTV News

Drs. Igor and Olga Kovalchuk have developed over 1500 strains of cannabis, 400 of which have been tested against the virus that causes COVID-19. Two or three of those strains, when tested on human tissue, decrease the ACE2 receptor’s acceptance of the virus by at least 75 per cent.

Working at the University of Lethbridge’s Department of Biological Sciences, the Kovalchuks have previously studied cannabis as a treatment for inflammation and cancer. The strains they work with are cannabidiol (CBD)-predominant, meaning they have very little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component that causes a high.

Eventually, the couple hopes to develop products like inhalers and mouthwashes that could be used to treat and prevent COVID-19.

“Right now, what’s most important for us is to actually find partnerships and develop clinical trials.” Dr. Olga Kovalchuk told CTV News.

Their work was recently published in the medical journal Research Square and is undergoing peer review.

Source: CTV News

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