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How Cannabis-Based Therapeutics Could Help Fight #COVID Inflammation – SPONSOR: Innocan Pharma $ $ $AXIM $LABS $ $

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 5:51 PM on Wednesday, November 4th, 2020
  • InnoCan Pharma and Tel Aviv University are collaborating to explore the potential for CBD-loaded exosomes (minute extracellular particles that mediate intracellular communication, including via innate and adaptive immune responses)
  • The group plans to use these loaded exosomes to target and facilitate recovery of COVID-19–damaged lung cells
  • From a broader perspective, the prospects for harnessing cannabinoids for immune modulation will be more thoroughly explored in a special issue of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research

By: Liz Scherer

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Plagued by false starts, a few dashed hopes, but with perhaps a glimmer of light on the horizon, the race to find an effective treatment for COVID-19 continues. At last count, more than 300 treatments and 200 vaccines were in preclinical or clinical development (not to mention the numerous existing agents that are being evaluated for repurposing).

There is also a renewed interest in cannabinoid therapeutics — in particular, the nonpsychoactive agent cannabidiol (CBD) and the prospect of its modulating inflammatory and other disease-associated clinical indices, including SARS-CoV-2–induced viral load, hyperinflammation, the cytokine storm, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Long hobbled by regulatory, political, and financial barriers, CBD’s potential ability to knock back COVID-19–related inflammation might just open doors that have been closed for years to CBD researchers.

Why CBD and Why Now?

CBD and the resulting therapeutics have been plagued by a complicated association with recreational cannabis use. It’s been just 2 years since CBD-based therapeutics moved into mainstream medicine — the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex oral solution for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, and in August, the FDA approved it for tuberous sclerosis complex.

CBD’s mechanism of action has not been fully elucidated, but on the basis of its role in immune responses — well described in research spanning more than two decades — it’s not surprising that cannabinoid researchers have thrown their hats into the COVID-19 drug development ring.

The anti-inflammatory potential of CBD is substantial and appears to be related to the fact that it shares 20 protein targets common to inflammation-related pathways, Jenny Wilkerson, PhD, research assistant professor at the University of Florida School of Pharmacy, Gainesville, Florida, explained to Medscape Medical News.

Among the various trials that are currently recruiting or are underway is one that is slated for completion this fall. CANDIDATE (Cannabidiol for COVID-19 Patients With Mild-to-Moderate COVID-19) is a randomized, controlled, double-blind study led by Brazilian researchers at the University of Sao Paulo. The study, which began recruitment this past August, enrolled 100 patients, 50 in the active treatment group (who received capsulated CBD 300 mg daily for 14 days plus pharmacologic therapy [antipyretics] and clinical measures) and 50 who received placebo.

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