Could cannabis help treat asthma? Researchers in Jerusalem are aiming to answer that question once and for all. 

CIITECH, a UK-Israel cannabis biotech start-up, has announced it will fund a research project with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to explore whether cannabis can indeed be used to treat the common respiratory condition.  

The project will be undertaken by the Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research of the Hebrew University, and will be spearheaded by cannabis expert Prof. Raphael Mechoulam and asthma expert Prof. Francesca Levi-Schaffer.

“Israel is the epicenter of R&D on cannabis and most of the work has happened in the Hebrew University,” said CIITECH founder Clifton Flack.

“Asthma is close to my heart as I suffer from the condition.”

The researchers intend to find out whether CBD can inhibit allergic airway inflammations that cause asthma attacks.

“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 Hebrew Univeristy’s Mechoulam.

“We believe our research will provide a novel and effective solution to treating this condition,” added Levi-Schaffer.

“As far as we know, two cannabinoid-based research studies have been published on rat and guinea pig models of asthma, the last one in 2015.

“This is the first study to assess CBD on human mast cells and eosinophils and in a mouse model of asthma that closely resembles the human disease.”

Researchers will focus on developing a food supplement instead of a medication, given the costly and lengthy process of getting regulatory approvals for medicine. That supplement will eventually be sold in the UK. Any eventual product will probably come in the form of tablets or some kind of inhaler, said Flack.

“We hope to have preliminary results of the research in some six months,” Flack said.

“Cannabis could well become this century’s wonder drug ... 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.”

h/t The Times of Israel