Medical marijuana is helping people with a wide variety of ailments, but can cannabis treat asthma? Due to the fact that the most popular way to consume it has been smoking, people with lung diseases like asthma probably steer clear. However, there are multiple ways to ingest cannabis without inhaling.
In fact, UK-Israel cannabis biotech company, CIITECH, wants to fund a research project with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to find ways to treat asthma using weed.
Cannabis in Israel
The company CIITECH said researchers at the Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research of the Hebrew University would be the ones to conduct the research.
Israel is already a global leader in cannabis research. They were one of the first countries to legalize medical marijuana. Now, the country is one of three in the world that has a government-sponsored cannabis program.
There are over 100 clinical trials with cannabis currently going on in Israel. No other country comes close.
Israel has the highest ratio of marijuana users as well. Twenty-seven percent of the population between ages 18 and 65 have admitted to using marijuana in the last year.
CIITECH Looks to Treat Asthma with Cannabis
Can cannabis treat asthma? Clifton Flack, founder of CIITECH, wants to find out. In fact, he’s funding research on cannabis and asthma because he suffers from the condition himself.
“Israel is the epicenter of R&D on cannabis and most of the work has happened in the Hebrew University,” said Flack. “Asthma is close to my heart as I suffer from the condition.”
CIITECH wants Israel’s top cannabis scientists on the job. Most of the research on cannabis that has been conducted in Israel has happened at the Hebrew University. The project will be led by the university’s own Professor Raphael Mechoulam, a cannabis research veteran, and Professor Francesca Levi-Schaffer, who specializes in asthma-related research.
The two plan to use CBD’s anti-inflammatory characteristics to inhibit the inflammation caused by asthma attacks.
CBD is the non-psychoactive part of cannabis, and it doesn’t need to be smoked. CBD can be turned into oil that can be used sublingually. The cannabinoid can be derived from cannabis or the hemp plant.
“We know that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, and we’re looking forward to investigating whether this will be effective in treating asthma and related respiratory conditions,” said Mechoulam in a statement.
So far, the only research on CBD and asthma has been conducted on mice.
Now, CIITECH is funding research to find out an answer to the question: Can cannabis treat asthma in humans?
Flack hopes to see preliminary results from the research in about six months.
“Cannabis could well become this century’s wonder drug,” Flack added. “Many of the plant’s therapeutic benefits and compounds are yet to be explored, and we’re excited to take part in expanding and galvanizing this new field of therapy.
CIITECH has already begun to sell CBD outside of Israel. Flack says he will market the products as food supplements in the UK. The UK recently reclassified cannabis, making it legal to sell CBD as a food supplement. Selling it as medication, however, will require millions of dollars and a long process of regulatory approvals.