A team of scientists from Canada have identified at least 13 strains of cannabis sativa they believe can aid in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

The President of the United States of America has spent the past few weeks touting a dangerous drug called hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic treatment for COVID-19. Unfortunately, the president’s expertise is in reality TV, not medicine. Several studies have shown that hydroxychloroquine, a drug designed to treat malaria, has dangerous side-effects when used to treat coronavirus, including death.

The quest for a COVID-19 drug that will both make Donald Trump and his friends in the pharmaceutical industry rich and not kill the people who take it has, so far, netted no results. But exciting government-sponsored research out of Canada seems to indicate a different approach is in order.

Per the team’s research paper:

We have developed over 800 new Cannabis sativa lines and extracts and hypothesized that high-CBD C. sativa extracts may be used to modulate ACE2 expression in COVID-19 target tissues. Screening C. sativa extracts using artificial human 3D models of oral, airway, and intestinal tissues, we identified 13 high CBD C. sativa extracts that modulate ACE2 gene expression and ACE2 protein levels. Our initial data suggest that some C. sativa extract down-regulate serine protease TMPRSS2, another critical protein required for SARS-CoV2 entry into host cells.

What this means is the team has carefully developed several cannabis strains that have been experimentally shown to make it significantly more difficult for the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus to find a home inside of the tissue cells it latches onto in order to infect us with the COVID-19 disease.

It does not mean you should run out to your local dispensary and exhaust their sativa and CBD supply. The 13 strains cultivated by the researchers are almost certainly very different from whatever wacky-named strains you’re going to purchase over the counter. But, if you must take an untested treatment, I recommend taking Canada‘s lead and legally imbibing cannabis instead of listening to the Trump administration.

[Read: Don’t drink bleach]

A recent study led by Harvard Medical School professor Mandeep Mehra which looked at data from more than 96,000 COVID-19 patients, 15,000 of which had been treated with hydroxychloroquine, clearly showed that patients using the drug were at far greater risk for death than those who did not. Per a report from the Washington Post:

For those given hydroxychloroquine, there was a 34 percent increase in risk of mortality and a 137 percent increased risk of a serious heart arrhythmias. For those receiving hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic — the cocktail endorsed by Trump — there was a 45 percent increased risk of death and a 411 percent increased risk of serious heart arrhythmias.

Those given chloroquine had a 37 percent increased risk of death and a 256 percent increased risk of serious heart arrhythmias. For those taking chloroquine and an antibiotic, there was a 37 percent increased risk of death and a 301 percent increased risk of serious heart arrhythmias.

Donald Trump recently told reporters and the US public that he’d been taking hydroxycholoroquine as a preventative measure to ward off COVID-19. Excepting the fact he has a small financial stake in Plaquenil – the drug name for hydroxycholoroquine — if he really wants to prevent COVID-19 he should imbibe cannabis. There’s no peer-reviewed evidence showing it’ll work, but at least it won’t kill him.

Not only has no one ever died from imbibing cannabis, it has clear medical benefits for the prevention and treatment of diseases ranging from viral infections to cancer. That, and he might be less of an asshole if he smoked a joint every now and again.

For more information on the cannabis study, check out the full pre-print research paper here. And if you want to know more about why nobody should use hydroxycholorquine to prevent or treat COVID-19, please read this important study.

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