A Canadian study offers support that some cannabis strains help reduce a specific type of inflammatory distress—called a “cytokine storm”—that proceeds severe cases of acute respiratory distress due to Covid-19. The study was conducted at Pathway Research Inc. at the University of Calgary. The University of Lethbridge, scientists used artificial human skin and the skin tissue model was exposed to UV rays to cause “induced inflammation.” The model was then treated with seven different cannabis strains to see the efficacy in reducing inflammation.
The study found cannabis may “tame” or reduce the severity of Covid-19. One of the main causes of severe Covid-19 that proceeds acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is an influx of “pro-inflammatory cytokines,” which is also known as the “cytokine storm.” Certain isolated cytokines play crucial roles in cytokine storm pathogenesis and are likely responsible for the escalation in disease severity,” the study says. The treatment addition of cannabis extracts helps “curb inflammation and prevent fibrosis, and lead to disease remission.”
One of the main researchers Dr. Igor Kovalchuk said his team has studied the anti-inflammatory potential of cannabis for years and they weren’t surprised by the findings. “Before Covid, we have studied the anti-inflammatory effect of over 100 cultivars (preselected from nearly 800), and identified couple dozen with strong potential, and even filed several patents on them for use with RA, MS, intestinal, and skin inflammation, and oral inflammation.” Kovalchuk is a pioneer researcher in epigenetics, had an idea of the type of cannabis cultivars that presented the most anti-inflammatory efficacy before the study began. The researchers then selected strains that would likely work best, “based on many years of research.”
“As to specific chemicals, CBD or THC alone do not have the same effect,” says Kovalchuck. He strongly believes in the full-spectrum, entourage-based effects. Likely, there are secondary (minor cannabinoids) and terpenes that will contribute. Of the seven cannabis strains used in this study, three were deemed the “most effective.” According to the study, these three strains “profoundly” helped to reduce these inflammatory cytokine storms. These are not strains that you can go out and buy in stores, Kovalchuck says, as they are “proprietary cultivars, created in our lab, so they don’t exist anywhere and don’t have any other name yet.” The researchers conclude that these anti-inflammatory cannabis extracts can be “useful additions to the current anti-inflammatory regimens to treat COVID-19, as well as various rheumatological diseases and conditions, and ‘inflammaging’—the inflammatory underpinning of aging and frailty.”
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