If their findings are correct, researchers say that cannabis works in a similar way to nicotine.
In a study out of the Institut Pasteur in France, researchers led by Jean-Pierre Changeux, a neurobiologist at the university, found the potential of nicotine patches in preventing infections from SARS-CoV-2.
The French study assumes that nicotine can protect against the new coronavirus based on the hypothesis “that nicotine attaches to cell receptors (ACE2) used by the coronavirus, thereby preventing the virus from attaching”, explains Changeux.
Preliminary research is emerging out of Canada that certain strains of cannabis may also increase resistance to the coronavirus.
“The results on COVID-19 came from our studies on arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cancer and others”, says Dr. Igor Kovalchuck, a professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Lethbridge, in an email to DW.
As with the research into nicotine’s effect on the coronavirus, it is thought that some strains of cannabis reduce the virus’ ability to enter the lungs, where it takes hold, reproduces and spreads.
In a paper on preprints.org, where scientists can publish non-peer-reviewed results, Kovalchuck and colleagues write that their specially developed strains of cannabis effectively stop the virus from entering the human body.
The study is one of many papers globally that have been shared on preprint websites, including preprints.org, in a bid to disseminate preliminary findings into potential COVID-19 treatments that have yet to undergo rigorous peer review.
The coronavirus needs a “receptor” to enter a human host. That receptor is known as an “angiotensin-converting enzyme II,” or ACE2.
ACE2 is found in lung tissue, in oral and nasal mucus, in the kidneys, testes, and gastrointestinal tracts, they write.
The theory is that by modulating ACE2 levels in those “gateways” to the human host, it may be possible to lower our susceptibility, or vulnerability, to the virus. It could basically reduce our risk of infection.
Source: Stillness in the Storm