After facing scrutiny last spring, new research suggests that using cannabis to help treat and prevent COVID-19 isn’t so far-fetched after all. Researchers at the University of Lethbridge are advancing to clinical trials after study results revealed that certain cannabis strains might help prevent COVID-19 patients from experiencing acute respiratory distress (ARDS). At the same time, Michigan State University professor of pharmacology and toxicology Norbert Kaminski is working with GB Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company, to develop a drug that prevents the lung inflammation that some experience after contracting COVID-19 that can lead to trouble breathing and death. The positive test results from these various studies bode well for cannabis companies that have a stake in the edibles and extracts sector, such as industry giants Canopy Growth (NASDAQ:CGC) (TSX:WEED), Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY), Aphria (NASDAQ:APHA) (TSX:APHA), HEXO Corp. (NYSE:HEXO) (TSX:HEXO), and plant-based extraction company Pure Extracts Technologies (CSE:PULL) (OTCPK:PRXTF).
Pure Extract Technologies, which is focused on producing the purest and highest quality cannabis oil at its all-new, state-of-the-art EU-GMP certified processing facility, has the ability to not only produce its own line of high-quality cannabis oil products but to distribute its concentrates through existing distribution channels.
In January, Pure Extracts Technologies took advantage of low biomass prices by entering into a substantial purchase agreement in order to scale-up production of both its THC and CBD extracts. The company agreed to purchase 220 kilograms of high-potency cannabis dried flower from a large Canadian licensed producer and 1,000 kgs of high-potency CBD biomass from a top Western Canadian cultivator.
Less than a month later, Pure Extracts Technologies announced its first commercial sale of its 85% pure CBD distillate, which is ideally suited for cannabis 2.0 products like edibles, vape pens, and cannabis-infused beverages.
Pure Extracts has also been working on developing its own line of products and recently submitted a Notice of New Cannabis Product application to Health Canada and over 20 SKUs for its THC and CBD vapes and three different formulations of gummies. The company has also signed an agreement with fully integrated medical cannabis company Canada House Wellness Group, which will distribute its line of concentrate products through its established provincial distribution channels.
While Pure Extracts Technologies is targeting the recreational adult-use cannabis market with its 34 proprietary formulations of ‘Pure Pulls’ full spectrum oil vapes and its new line of ‘Pure Chews’ edible gummies, the high-purity oil could be a good candidate for medical cannabis developments, including cannabis mouthwash that could potentially help in the fight against COVID-19.
Researchers Develop Medical Cannabis Oral Rinse for Potential Treatment of COVID-19
In April 2020, pandemic panic sparked several sensational claims that cannabis could cure COVID-19, which were quickly chalked up to hearsay. However, more and more research is pointing to the plant’s potential role in the fight against viral outbreaks like the coronavirus.
For the last four years, University of Lethbridge biology professors Igor and Olga Kovalchuk have been working with cannabis strains around the world to create new hybrids that have certain therapeutic properties. In February 2021, the pair revealed that the results from their research demonstrate that certain high-CBD cannabis sativas have the potential to become a useful and safe addition to COVID-19 treatment and could be developed into preventative treatments in the form of mouthwash, inhalers, or throat gargles.
While the professors still need to conduct animal and human studies to test the efficacy of the strains, the initial results are very promising. If cannabis mouth rinses prove to be a success, it could bode well for companies already involved in the infused beverages space.
Canadian pharmaceutical and cannabis company Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) entered the cannabis beverages space in 2019 through a joint venture with the world’s largest brewer and Budweiser’s parent company Anheuser-Busch. In December 2019, the JV announced that it would be launching CBD-infused teas in Canada, with non-alcoholic sparkling drinks to follow in 2020. In December 2019, their company Fluent Beverages launched its first 98% pure CBD-infused beverage.
Tilray will likely increase its cannabis beverage offerings following the announcement of an all-stock merger with Aphria (NASDAQ:APHA) (TSX:APHA). The $4 billion deal will not only make the pair the world’s largest cannabis company by revenue, but it will also boost their cannabis beverage-making capabilities thanks to Aphria’s recent purchase of Sweetwater Brewing.
Canopy Growth (NASDAQ:CGC) (TSX:WEED) entered the cannabis beverage space in 2020 when it received backing from US alcoholic beverage giant Constellation Brands. The company launched its first THC-infused drink to the Canadian market in March 2020 and has continued to roll out its North American strategy. In November, Canopy expanded its beverage portfolio with a CBD-infused beverage line, which is now being launched in the US.
Molson Coors Canada and Quebec-based cannabis producer HEXO Corp. (NYSE:HEXO) (TSX:HEXO) announced a similar partnership in 2019 and finally launched their cannabis-infused beverage to the market in August 2020 under the brand name Truss Beverage. In January 2021, Truss announced the US launch of Verywell, a new line of non-alcoholic sparkling CBD beverages, which will be available in Colorado.
It’s unclear whether or not cannabis beverage producers will have the opportunity to develop infused drinks with therapeutic properties, but with growing research and development surrounding the potential benefits of cannabis, it could very well become a reality.
Plant-based extraction company Pure Extracts Technologies could also benefit the medical cannabis market with its high-purity extraction methods. In the meantime, the company is focused on building a presence in the cannabis edibles market.
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