Ikänik Farms, Inc. says it is making the first-ever shipment of pharmaceutical cannabis products to Mexico to support the global fight against the novel coronavirus.
On Monday, the California-based cannabis company said it partnered with Mexican medicine firm CAS Biotechnology to add to a growing body of research exploring whether cannabis or cannabis-derived CBD can treat Covid-19.
Disclosure: Ikänik Farms is a Mugglehead advertiser
Ikänik Farms said it will export pharmaceutical-grade cannabis oil from its facility in Colombia to CAS Biotechnology’s Mexico-based research team to begin pre-clinical trials. According to a statement, the scientific research will evaluate how cannabinoids interact with key proteins in Covid-19, and whether it can slow down the virus’s replication cycle in human lung receptors.
“We are excited to partner with CAS Biotechnology on the first export of pharmaceutical grade cannabis to Mexico, in hopes to aid in the treatment of Covid-19,” Ikänik International president Borja Sanz de Madrid said in the statement.
After Ikänik Farms acquired Colombian medical cannabis firm Pideka last fall, the company began constructing its Casa Flores 80,000 square foot facility near the capital city of Bogotá, to grow cost-effective, high-quality cannabis.
The company went on to receive GMP-Pharma, agronomic and genetic certifications for its Colombian facility, which set it up to make the the first legal sales for pharmaceutical purposes in the country earlier this month.
Ikänik Farms has stated that its pharmaceutical approach to cannabis cultivation is helping the company explore opportunities to import medical cannabis products into international markets.
“We are very proud to participate in a study that brings medicine and cannabis closer together, in a joint effort to discover possible phyto-therapeutic treatments, as a new course of action for the treatment of Covid-19,” Ikänik Farms CEO Brian Baca said.
Multiple studies seek evidence for cannabis as Covid-19 treatment
The pre-clinical research is expected to last less than a year and will add to a number of similar studies that are testing cannabinoids like CBD as a potential treatment for lung inflammation caused by the coronavirus.
Scientists have indicated that an infected host undergoes a cytokine explosion, a burst of immune-system proteins that cause potentially deadly inflammatory symptoms in the lungs.
A new study — published this month in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity — found CBD decreased lung inflammation in a rodent model of acute lung injury “potentially through the inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokine production by immune cells and suppressing exuberant immune responses.”
Last May, researchers from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta published a preliminary report saying they found similar results in reducing cytokine storms in human lung tissues when using three different cannabis-derived CBD extracts. The scientists say the novel extracts need to be studied further in a clinical trial to validate the discovery found in the lung tissue cells.
A month prior, the same researchers also published early findings on how CBD extracts could help reduce ACE2, a protein found in the human body and lungs, from allowing the coronavirus to enter human cells.
Meanwhile, the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal published a study this month from researchers at Augusta University in Georgia also on using CBD to reduce cytokine storms caused by Covid-19. And the same journal printed a separate study in June that explores CBD as a potential antiviral treatment for the coronavirus disease.
Ikänik Farms said CAS Biotechnology’s team of genomics experts will add to the emerging body of research on cannabis as a Covid-19 treatment by using globally approved testing methods.
Earlier this month Ikänik Farms acquired Delta 9 Corp. Mexico, which was the first company to receive permits from Mexican regulators to import cannabis and hemp seeds for domestic cultivation and sales.
Top image: Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (greenish-brown) heavily infected with the Covid-19 virus particles (pink), isolated from a patient sample via the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases