The fledgling study, being carried out by Israeli cannabis research and development firms Eybna and CannaSoul, delves into the efficacy of using cannabis terpenes in treating COVID-19 infections.
The fledgling study, being carried out by Israeli cannabis research and development firms Eybna and CannaSoul, is centered around examining the effectiveness of the use of a unique cannabis terpene formulation - NT-VRL - with respect to treating inflammatory conditions such as cytokine storm syndrome, which commonly occurs in serious cases of COVID-19. Cytokine storms occur when the body overproduces immune cells and their activating compounds (cytokines), causing dangerously high blood pressure, lung damage, respiratory distress syndrome and organ failure. This is a common occurrence in some patients where the immune system's response to COVID-19 is extreme and goes into overdrive to fight the virus. Accumulating evidence shows that many COVID-19 patients die because of the increase in the production of the inflammatory cytokine molecules, rather than the virus itself. “The preliminary results were highly positive. Demonstrating significant anti-inflammatory activity of terpenes and breaking the perception that terpenes are just flavorings and fragrances compounds with a placebo effect," said Eybna Co-founder and CEO Nadav Eyal. "Utilizing Eybna’s proprietary technology of biological data mining, data processing, and formulation design, allowed us to develop our data-driven NT-VRL formulation effectively targeting specific health conditions," he added. "This is opening a new world for synergistically-effective natural formulations – holding therapeutic capabilities in which single active pharmaceutical ingredients will have difficulties to match." Back in April, the two R&D organizations announced their intentions to collaborate on the research and delve into the use of the inhalable compound NT-VRL with concern to the treatment of viral infections. Their hypothesis was formulated based off previous research conducted around the 2002 SARS outbreak, which found terpenes to be effective antiviral agents and more notably certain formulations of terpenes were found to reduce the severity of the respiratory disease.
The findings, published in the medical journal Health Europa, have shown that the use of NT-VRL combined with cannabidiol (CBD) is "twice" as effective in treating cytokine storms when compared to the use of CBD alone, and the same goes for the common corticosteroids inflammatory treatment Dexamethasone. For the research itself the scientists used human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), donated by healthy individuals, and induced the inflammatory conditions surrounding a cytokine storm - performing cytotoxicity tests prior to the experiment, as well as after to ensure accuracy as well as efficacy. To pinpoint a viable treatment, the analysts put Eybna's patented NT-VRL terpene formulation up against CBD and Dexamethasone by testing the compounds individually as well as in concert - and as discussed found a mixture of NT-VRL and CBD to be the most effective option for inflammatory therapy. The "cytokine storm assay is a well-established preclinical in-vitro, or practically ex-vivo, assay. It provides an evaluation of Cytokine Storm Syndrome with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The goal of this study was to assess the effect of Eybna NT-VRL terpene formulation on cytokine secretion," said Chairman and CSO at CannaSoul Professor Dedi Meiri. “NT-VRL terpene formulation showed significant anti-inflammatory effect which contributed to a functional immunological response in vitro.”