Cannabis tested in Israeli hospital to fight corona

Raphael Mechoulam, TCH, medical cannabis, CBD

Raphael Mechoulam, discoverer of THC, CBD in medicinal cannabis. Cannabis can cure pain, but it also shows powerful effects against viruses. 

Update: April 27, 2020 – a second clinical trial by another Israeli group on COVID-19 and CBD cannabis is reported here.

Israel is a medical cannabis powerhouse. And a medical powerhouse in its own right (see how Pluristem is bringing COVID-19 patients back to life). Not because people here use the natural substance more than anywhere else, but because it has been legally researched by Israeli universities for about four decades. Israel is where pioneering scientists like Raphael Mechoulam first isolated and named THC and then he did the same for CBD, which is the non-psychotropic molecule – among 80 or more – that is found in the marijuana plant. You can find CBD now available around the world and it’s useful for treating COVID-related anxiety in troubling places like the UK – see CBD oil Ireland for help in that location. Or turn to CBD oil reviews to find what you are looking for.

Israel is one of the places where pioneering American physicians turn –- such as Dr. Alan Shackelford – when he was asked by the parents if he could treat a little girl with epilepsy using cannabis. So when I read the headlines that Israel is investigating the effects of cannabis on COVID-19 patients, I was intrigued.

We know that cannabis can create anxiety in some people, but in another whole group, probably larger, it can actually calm you down. The CBD molecule when grown in plants that have little THC, can offer the calming effect without the mind-altering THC effects.

Cannabis as anti-viral?

If cannabis is inhaled by smoking or by using a bong or vaporizer, there can be lung damage. But there are other ways cannabis can be ingested, such as an oral dose, using cannabis oil, or as edibles.

According to local TV reports in Israel, Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv will begin administering medicinal cannabis to coronavirus patients in moderate condition, as part of an experimental treatment. Medical cannabis is legal in Israel, but it is not widely used in hospitals to treat patients.

The new study is investigating one of the active substances in cannabis, cannabidiol, or CBD, to see if it can slow down the inflammatory process that creates the deterioration of severe Coronavirus patients. It might be able to alleviate symptoms of the disease.

Local reports state that the study will be done across a number of wards in the central Tel Aviv hospital, and will include dozens of moderately ill patients. The study is initiated by the hospital and is currently not related to any company, it is reported.

Dr. Barak Cohen, a senior anesthesiologist and head of the Corona management at Ichilov and the research’s initiators, assured to the media: “this is a novel approach to treating some of the symptoms, using a component of the cannabis plant that is considered safe and non-addictive.”

The study is not being sponsored by any company. Barak has authored studies on cannabis in the past, most recently on the comparisons of synthetic cannabis to natural strains.

Cannabidiol (CBD) can make up about 40% of the plant’s extract, and has been researched for the treatment of anxiety, pain, cognition, and movement disorders. My friends in Canada swear by it.

Doctors are hoping to use the antiviral properties of cannabis to slow the spread of the virus.

Pain doctors in cancer wards in Israel can quickly help patients get prescriptions if a person is suffering a terminal illness but normally it takes a year or more to qualify for a license. In Toronto when my father was dying from cancer in one of the best hospitals in the world I was not permitted to treat him using cannabis. There, while Canada has legalized cannabis, the medical establishment might be long behind what Israel is doing. CBD, THC and CBD hemp products can be easily found and obtained in Canada now that cannabis is legal recreationally. But knowing how to apply these products medically is really still a big guess at best. That’s why we need medical investigators looking for trends, patterns and best dosing schedules.

On April 27, we report on a second clinical trial starting on CBD and cannabis initiated by the company Stero. Find the study here.

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