By / September 28, 2020

Colombia focusing on cannabis as a treatment for COVID-19

The whole world is waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine and the laboratories know it. The coronavirus pandemic has put our lives on hold and the discovery of an antidote seems to be the only thing that can get back on track.

Laboratories (and the countries behind them) scramble desperately and compete with each other to be the new saviors of the planet. All this when there are still no – and apparently there will be no – details of how the voracious strain originated.

Others, on the other hand, are taking this process in a more philosophical way.

It is these people who, after the introspection of months of quarantine, arrived at an indisputable truth: the new world will have to be more natural. And it is in this context that cannabis is gaining ground at a rapid pace.

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Cannabis can change the world if it becomes a solution against COVID-19

How much cannabis can contribute as a solution against the coronavirus? That is what some laboratories in the world are trying to determine, and some have already reached some positive results.

One of them is the pharmaceutical company ‘Pideka SAS’ and the University of Antioquia in Colombia. Both test the effectiveness of cannabis extract to kill the virus that causes COVID-19 and measure the effectiveness of cannabis extract in protecting cells against it.

The Pideka SAS’s technical director of manufacturing, Martha Liliana Vega, expressed that the latest results revealed that cannabis protected a healthy cell by 62 percent from the virus that causes covid-19. A not inconsiderable defense at the moment, although the potential could be even greater.

Vega explained that Pideka SAS is authorized to cultivate and transform the cannabis plant in various derivations, while also investigating its effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory method or treatment for viruses, fungi and bacteria.

The specialist added that once the coronavirus pandemic was declared in the world, the company got to work and signed an agreement with the immunovirology group of the University of Antioquia. With the goal to study the effectiveness of cannabis extracts against the strain that killed almost a million people in the world.

Early cannabis data show positive results in its effectiveness

According to the initial cytotoxicity study, the researchers rule out damage to healthy cells with substances diluted in one, 10 and 100 milliliters of the cannabis extract.

Then, the cell culture was placed with said solution under specific conditions for its absorption. In this way, its effectiveness in protecting the coronavirus was proven, with a 62 percent positive result.

The studies were compared to the controversial chloroquine, which has a 73 percent response against the virus.

Nevertheless, in the case of cannabis, several tests need to be done, including preclinical and clinical studies in its different phases, to consider it a medical device. However, Vega reiterated that they hope to increase said effectiveness against COVID-19 to 80 or 90 percent.

Still too early for a solid deadline

The scope of the initiative reaches Mexico, where Pideka collaborates with the institute of Dr. Alberto Checa. There they will continue with in vitro studies on anti-inflammatory activity, although then they will continue with development in Colombia.

Asked about the deadlines, the representative replied that it is too early to confirm a date to start human studies, since it would be speculative. She also mentioned that the company is in dialogue with the Colombian government to request support for the study.

Contacts are also close with the National Institute of Health and research groups at other universities. And finally, she revealed that they are also in talks with other entities in Spain, but for the moment she cannot reveal more information.


(Featured image by Pille-Riin Priske via Unsplash)

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