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Marijuana studies lead to potential effective COVID-19 treatment

MSU Professor and GB Sciences collaborate on cannabis and COVID study
Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 5:23 PM EST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Who would have thought marijuana would have been a key component in treating COVID-19?

One Michigan State University professor has discovered that.

MSU has partnered with a pharmaceutical company, GB Sciences, to help develop this cannabis-based drug.

“What it does is help people breathe easier and get people back to normal and one thing that’s super important is getting these people off the ventilators and out of the hospitals,” Chief Science Officer of SB Sciences, Dr. Andrea Small-Howard said.

Dr. Andrea Small-Howard is one of the people working on using compounds from the marijuana plant to treat severe symptoms of COVID-19. The disease can cause a strong inflammatory response, which makes the immune system work too hard and can cause the lungs to stop working properly.

“When your immune system doesn’t quite know how to process something that’s attacking your body, it throws everything at it that can lead to problems, like acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is one of the leading causes of death in COVID-19 patients,” Dr. Small-Howard said.

Both professor Kaminksi and Dr. Small-Howard have found are that compounds from the cannabis plant help reduce that inflammation in the lungs.

“The chemicals from cannabis have anti-inflammatory properties, so inflammation is involved in many different disease processes,” said MSU Professor of Pharmacology and toxicology Norbert Kaminski.

Right now, these studies with cannabis and COVID are in pre-clinical trials.

“We are now testing them using human white blood cells to see how effective they are alone as well in various combinations,” Professor Kaminski said.

They said it can take about a year to a year in a half to get this out.

“We are in the process of making sure we are making a therapeutic that is safe and then the next step is getting in the hands of the patients,” Dr. Small-Howard said.

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