Researchers from Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innocation Centre have found hemp compounds can prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells.

Essentially a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein – the same drug target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy – blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.


“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” study leader Richard van Breemen said.

“They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans.

“And our research showed the hemp compounds were equally effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant B.1.351, first detected in South Africa.”

No-jab, no-weed rule quadruples vaccinations 

In Canada, the province of Quebec instituted a rule last week requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for residents seeking to buy alcohol or marijuana which will kick off on January 18 – and boy did it send vaccination rates soaring.

First-dose vaccination appointments in Quebec quadrupled in the course of a day.

Quebec was averaging around 1,500 appointments a day and that number skyrocketed to around 6,000.


THC could be the new MSG

In Thailand, Ban Lao Reung recently became the first restaurant to serve cannabis-infused dishes.

The country was the first Asia country to legalise pot for medical purposes in 2019, and in 2020 the Government okayed parts of the plant containing less than 0.2% THC for use in cosmetics and food.

At Ban Lao Reung you can order cannabis dishes like the plate of tempura weed, cannabis juice-infused drinks or a ‘good mood’ pot pizza.

The Public Health Ministry is pushing to fully legalise the plant, with cannabis stems, roots, leaves and sprigs no longer declared as drugs.

“Starting next year, we’ll remove everything — stems, roots, sprigs, leaves, buds, flowers and seeds — from the narcotics list,” leader of the Bhumjaithai Party party Anutin Charnvirakul said.


ASX Winners

Code Company Price % Six Month % Month % Week Market Cap
CGB Cann Global Limited 0.0025 -58% -17% 25% $19,006,460.36
BOT Botanix Pharma Ltd 0.066 -22% 18% 14% $62,281,092.74
EVE EVE Health Group Ltd 0.0045 -10% 13% 13% $15,372,567.56
ECS ECS Botanics Holding 0.032 -14% 10% 10% $33,156,465.45
RNO Rhinomed Ltd 0.31 82% 19% 7% $77,942,739.60
EXL Elixinol Wellness 0.079 -37% -1% 7% $24,956,982.90
ZLD Zelira Therapeutics 0.033 -34% -6% 6% $43,391,875.83
CPH Creso Pharma Ltd 0.092 -32% 10% 6% $103,015,117.55
WOA Wide Open Agricultur 0.7 -9% -5% 5% $88,738,177.80
MXC Mgc Pharmaceuticals 0.042 11% 11% 5% $116,038,467.34
EMD Emyria Limited 0.43 126% 9% 5% $76,940,941.00
AC8 Auscann Grp Hlgs Ltd 0.085 -23% 0% 4% $37,005,957.24
CAU Cronos Australia 0.3 150% 50% 2% $162,434,498.61
WFL Wellfully Limited 0.071 34% -8% 1% $18,735,256.13
LV1 Live Verdure Ltd 0.41 110% -5% 0% $17,241,248.25
SCU Stemcell United Ltd 0.014 -13% 0% 0% $14,606,489.21
ROO Roots Sustainable 0.006 -50% -25% 0% $3,748,163.44
MRG Murray River Grp 0.245 23% 0% 0% $10,808,210.04
RGI Roto-Gro Intl Ltd 0.021 -49% -9% 0% $7,194,448.74
AVE Avecho Biotech Ltd 0.016 -11% 0% 0% $29,405,000.42
PAL Palla Pharma Ltd 0.295 -22% 0% 0% $47,764,383.09
EPN Epsilon Healthcare 0.066 -49% -27% -1% $14,475,951.69
CAN Cann Group Ltd 0.285 -29% -3% -2% $100,295,669.61
HGV Hygrovest Limited 0.056 -31% -14% -2% $12,877,423.16
EOF Ecofibre Limited 0.555 -29% 1% -3% $202,408,723.64
MDC Medlab Clinical Ltd 0.14 -15% -3% -3% $47,904,593.94
LGP Little Green Pharma 0.595 -23% -4% -4% $109,305,907.80
BOD BOD Australia 0.22 -32% -10% -4% $23,281,262.40
AGH Althea Group 0.22 -35% -8% -4% $68,734,825.06
IHL Incannex Healthcare 0.6525 151% 25% -5% $803,671,122.00
ALA Arovella Therapeutic 0.036 -44% 3% -5% $18,274,993.44
DTZ Dotz Nano Ltd 0.43 26% 4% -5% $188,892,422.72
NTI Neurotech Intl 0.055 4% -4% -7% $38,346,831.93
IDT IDT Australia Ltd 0.24 -24% -52% -9% $57,566,440.80
IRX Inhalerx Limited 0.089 -6% 7% -11% $14,993,559.17
EN1 Engage:Bdr Limited 0.0025 -50% -17% -17% $6,205,271.90
YPB YPB Group Ltd 0.0025 25% 25% -17% $15,294,584.25
TSN The Sust Nutri Grp 0.15 -62% -38% -19% $16,884,893.90
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ECS Botanics (ASX:ECS) is riding high off news it expects to record revenue for Q2 FY22 of $1.5 million – a 325% increase on the previous corresponding period and a 65% increase on the last quarter.

The company said that European export orders are being facilitated this month following ARTG (TGA export) listings for ECS oil and flower products, and that an export purchase order exceeding $400,000 is currently being fulfilled.

Plus, CBD cultivation has commenced at the company’s Tasmanian facility with first harvest in February.

Managing director Alex Keach said the company’s business model is proving to be exactly what the market desires “as well as providing us with a larger addressable market than our competitors.”

“This B2B strategy and being able take a seed all the way through to a GMP product is why we continue to attract new customers and deliver quarter on quarter growth,” he said.

Kiwi expansion plans

Also among the winners was Zelira (ASX:ZLD) which just received a $1.2 million tax incentive which it plans to use to support the growth of recently launched products including Zenivol for Insomnia, HOPE for Autism and a new CBD-Toothpaste into global markets.

In November, Zelira successfully demonstrated enhanced dissolution of cannabinoids using its enhanced distillate capture and dissolution matrix (EDCDM) – and signed a foundation licensing deal for this proprietary technology with DRCN Holdings LLC (DRCN).

And just this week the company received US$250,000 of the upfront non-refundable, non-contingent licensing fee of US$1 million, with the rest expected in Q1.

In December, Zelira announced plans to expand into the growing New Zealand cannabinoid-based medicines market via an exclusive distribution agreement with NUBU Pharmaceuticals – with minimum order quantities totalling over $2.6 million (with $178,000 in Year 1) over the five-year term.


Bioavailability makes all the difference

In December Emyria (ASX:EMD) received positive animal study data for its ultra-pure CBD capsule (EMD-003).

In a comparative animal model, EMD-003 showed higher peak blood concentrations and greater bioavailability compared to Epidyolex over 24 hours.

Basically, bioavailability is a measure of the amount of drug that is fully available in the bloodstream.

And a drug with a high bioavailability may mean that a lower dose can be administered to a patient in order to achieve a clinical benefit compared to a drug with a lower bioavailability.

The company’s EMD-003 dose form is targeting registration as a low-dose, over-the-counter CBD medicine with the TGA in 2022.

Dog dermatitis treatment on the CBD cards

And then there was AusCann (ASX:AC8), who completed the submission for the registration of DermaCann for anti-inflammatory and immune support in dogs with dermatological conditions.

It’s a smooth move, with the global canine skin and dermatitis market worth an estimated US$1.5 billion globally.

Subject to Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) approval, DermaCann will be the first regulatory-approved medicine containing cannabinoids to be legally available for prescription through veterinarians in Australia.

The company is also progressing its US commercialisation plans at the VMX trade show in the US next week.