Canadian researchers have announced they will use cannabis to create a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

Theannouncedproject is one of countless being conducted around in the world in the search for the vaccine. President Trump recently stated that the United States was launching the aggressive campaign Operation Warp Speedwhich hopes to have a deployable vaccine by January 2020

Medical cannabis company Zyus Life Sciences in Saskatoon is doing all kinds of fancy genetic stuff to weed in collaboration with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac).

While cannabis has long been used as a medical treatment, in this case cannabinoids like CBD and THC generally associated with health benefits have virtually nothing to do with the endeavor. Instead, the cannabis plant will be used as a vessel to create particular proteins. These proteins have been engineered to produce potential antigens to the novel coronavirus.

“The genetic information that VIDO-InterVac has developed to find the actual antigen that would work as a vaccine, that’s actually a strand of protein. So then we take that DNA and we actually then design it in a plant and then the plant itself can manufacture that same protein,” Zyus CEO Brent Zettl told Global News.

“We will take and purify that protein and get it into a vial and then return it back to VIDO-InterVac who will then make it into a vaccine and then present it to animals in a trial. It’s just another way of manufacturing this particular vaccine using plants instead of animals.”

Zyus said that using a plant can be a significantly cheaper and faster method to produce a vaccine on a massive scale, rather than using an animal for the same purpose. Plus, if it doesn’t work, you might still be able to use it to get high.

Photo via Flickr/Jordan Greentree

Natalie