As the coronavirus pandemic continues around the globe, a certain dichotomy is emerging. The COVID-19 threat is still real, especially in the United States, with our infections surpassing a million people and our deaths surging over 70,000, but economies are starting to open back up in various states and around the world.
Many Americans are going to be forced back to work before medical experts agree that it is safe to do so, as the $1,200 stimulus checks and unemployment benefits dry up. We are left wondering how are we going to manage our new capitalist reality. Some studies in Israel are testing whether cannabis-based medicines may be a part of the answer.
The Jewish Connecticut Ledger reports that Stero Biotechs has launched a study to determine the safety and efficacy of a steroid-Cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of patients hospitalized due to the coronavirus:
Ten patients will be in the clinical trial; the treatment cycle will be for a few weeks with a follow-up period of the same length. Pending the trial’s success, the company plans to expand to a multi-center clinical trial with an additional 40 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, under FDA clinical trial guidelines and regulations.
“We estimate that our CBD-based treatment can enhance the current treatment of those patients who are suffering life-threatening conditions,” said Stero Biotechs founder and CEO David Bassa.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
According to Merry Jane, a rather unique study is being conducted via a collaboration between InnoCan Pharma and the University of Tel Aviv:
The treatment will deliver CBD through exosomes. Exosomes are cell structures created by stem cells when they multiply. In other words, InnoCan and the university anticipate that the exosomes will act like “homing missiles,” targeting specific cells damaged by COVID-19. The CBD will go to those cells and those cells only.
How could CBD, a non-intoxicating component of weed potentially treat COVID-19? The illness triggers a severe form of pneumonia, which can cause respiratory failure. Although older patients who also have diabetes, high blood pressure, or are obese are the highest-risk groups for dying from COVID-19, younger, healthier people can die from it, too.
Right now, doctors around the world can control or even stop the cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients with heavy use of steroids, which can knock down the immune system. Numerous studies have shown that CBD can also dial down the body’s immune response, but it does so through different means than steroids do. The idea is that if doctors can double-up with both CBD and steroids, they’ll hit COVID-19 with a double-whammy of anti-inflammation, potentially saving far more lives than they could with steroids alone.
We are obviously living in scary times and most of us are unfortunately going to be forced to make some frightening choices about how we start to reopen our lives to both work and recreation. If you or your loved ones have been personally impacted by the coronavirus as my family has, or you are worried about yourself or your loved ones due to age and preexisting conditions, you may have a different perspective than those that are healthy and don’t live near anyone severely at risk.
Personally, I urge everyone to listen to medical professionals and experts and not those making unsubstantiated claims about hoaxes or miracle cures (even if that miracle cure is supposedly cannabis). Let’s be kind to one another and respect people’s health and legitimate choices. Hopefully, there will be medicines discovered on the horizon that we can trust to treat the coronavirus. I, for one, am no doctor or medical expert, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a cannabis-based medicine is found to beneficial.