Could dagga be the key to Covid-19?

As scientists worldwide seek to harness both new and existing medical treatments to help combat the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, closer to home, a group of local researchers is looking into the possible role cannabis can play.

2020-06-02 08:30:00 AM

Could dagga be the key to Covid-19? As scientists worldwide seek to harness both new and existing medical treatments to help combat the coronavirus pandemic, closer to home, a group of local researchers is looking into the possible role cannabis can play

As scientists worldwide seek to harness both new and existing medical treatments to help combat the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, closer to home, a group of local researchers is looking into the possible role cannabis can play.

According to the health ministry, the country currently has 34 357 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 705 deaths.Globally, the latest statistics show that the virus has hit the 6 million mark, affecting people across 216 territories.With no vaccine in place and the jury still out on an effective treatment for Covid-19, the search continues apace.

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To this end, a partnership has been struck between the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) and private firm Cannabisiness.The two entities are researching plant-based medicinal solutions for Covid-19, with a specific focus on the curative properties of cannabis or, as some call it, weed.

Controversially, Madagascar has touted its homegrown herbal tonic, derived from the artemisia plant – widely available and used here in South Africa, and known for its medicinal properties – as being a cure for Covid-19.However, the drink has not been scientifically proven to treat or cure the virus.

Similarly, there is no clinical evidence that cannabis can treat or cure Covid-19.We are not from the West, nor are we from the East. We are from Africa and we will find African solutions to pandemics that threaten our societyHennie Venter, project manager at Cannabisiness

However, researchers aim to find out how the plant’s anti-inflammatory properties can be used to alleviate the body’s inflammatory response to Covid-19.Speaking to City Press last week, Hennie Venter, project manager at Cannabisiness, said: “Both theArtemisia afra

and the cannabis plants have been used in traditional medicine in Africa for millenniums."Our research group is determined to help bridge the gap between traditional knowledge and medicine, using the modern healthcare system in South Africa.“We are not from the West, nor are we from the East. We are from Africa and we will find African solutions to pandemics that threaten our society.”

In the two parties’ research proposal paper – titled Investigation of selected cannabinoids and cannabimimetic compounds against Covid and PMIS (paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome) – concerns of first-line responders are cited.Read: Poll reveals significant skepticism over possible Covid-19 vaccine

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"These have to do with some Covid-19 patients initially showing mild symptoms and then rapidly finding themselves in critical condition.“Research articles from Wuhan in China suggested that cytokine release syndrome, also referred to as cytokine storm, could possibly have a link to the high critical care and fatality rate,” said Venter.

“Cytokines are proteins secreted by cells for intracellular signalling. A cytokine storm is the excessive and uncontrolled release of pro-inflammatory cytokines overloading the signalling systems. This hyperinflammatory response could lead to tissue damage and organ failure.”

In July last year, City Press reported on how the partnership between VUT and Cannabisiness was focused on combating inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers using cannabidiol, a chemical found in cannabis.Our research group is determined to help bridge the gap between traditional knowledge and medicine, using the modern healthcare system in South Africa

VenterThe business signed a five-year research agreement with VUT to study the medicinal properties of cannabis, as well as the phytoremediation properties of hemp.Phytoremediation refers to technologies that use plants to clean up contaminated soil, air and water.

“Our Covid-19 anti-inflammatory treatment currently under development will not contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, as an active ingredient – meaning that there would be no risk of the psychotropic side effects that are usually negatively associated with cannabis medicines,” said Venter.

He and his partners at VUT – Fanyana Mtunzi, a professor in the chemistry department; applied chemistry lecturer Dr Harry Chiririwa; and phytoremediation specialist Willie Augustyn, who previously worked at the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA – plan to table their study design and approach with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research soon.

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They hope that this will eventually result in buy-in and support by the department of health.TALK TO USWhat do you think the chances are that the cannabis plant carries curative properties for Covid-19?SMS us on 35697 using the keyword DAGGA and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50. By participating, you agree to receive occasional marketing material

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is this going to be the next 'miracle cure'? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 rinmor Whatever works Now y'all tryna get people high......... you wanna expand your cannabis market. The ‘boom-stokers’ will always look for an excuse to ply their drug for its universal fix-all magic capabilities. 😂 One of the most recognisable plants I am yet to touch with my hands. 🌱

🎵🎼🎶So when people Zol, they put,... the minister in the paper! Now she’s very quite,...about this caper:) 🎶🎶🎶Does that mean our 🚀 scientist granny gonna let’s us buy rizzla ? Or will it take a bribe or two first? How will we know if its still illegal? BTeam94 We Need this weed I think they are using this as an excuse to sit around and get high while been paid for it

Healing of the nation! Mara mona Ke levovo guys Cannabis should be taken to consideration as it could help to cure the pandemic of fukken course ... like RET it's the answer whatever the problem cc CyrilRamaphosa Ukhona nje umhlonyana

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