Data from a new Canadian-based study suggests that certain cannabis strains can reduce “cytokine storm” – a type of inflammatory distress that proceeds COVID-19-induced acute respiratory distress.


The research was conducted by Pathway Research Inc, the University of Calgary, and the University of Lethbridge, involving a “well-established full-thickness human 3D skin artificial EpiDermFTTM tissue model.” The artificial human skin was subject to UV rays which resulted in “induced inflammation.” Seven different strains of cannabis were then used to treat the inflammation.


The study found that certain cannabis strains were able to reduce the severity of COVID-19. Specifically, one underlying cause of severe COVID-19 that comes after ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) is an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines, also known as a “cytokine storm.” The study also indicated that, “out of all cytokines, TNFα and IL-6 play crucial roles in cytokine storm pathogenesis and are likely responsible for the escalation in disease severity.” By adding cannabis to the treatment mix, the researchers found that it helped “curb inflammation and prevent fibrosis, and lead to disease remission.”


Dr. Igor Kovalchuk, one of the head researchers of the study from University of Lethbridge’s Department of Biological Sciences, has been studying the anti-inflammatory benefits of cannabis for years. Dr. Kovalchuk was not surprised by the research findings, stating that, “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.”


“As to specific chemicals, our analysis shows that CBD or THC alone do not have the same effect,” says Dr. Kovalchuck. “We strongly believe in the full-spectrum, entourage-based effects. Likely, there are secondary (minor cannabinoids) and terpenes that contribute, and we write in the paper, that one of such terpenes could be caryophyllene.”


The study concluded that the “anti-TNFα and anti-IL-6” (anti-inflammatory) cannabis extracts may 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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