Cannabis Stocks Surge on Report of Benefits in Fighting Covid-19

Some strains of medical marijuana said to block coronavirus pathways into cells.
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Shares of cannabis-related stocks and ETFs surged in the final minutes of regular trading Thursday and continued to rise in after-hours action following a report suggesting that some strains of medical marijuana could be used to fight coronavirus infections.

Shares of Tilray  (TLRY) - Get Report rose 8% in late action, building on a 20% gain in the regular session, most of which came in the final hour of trading.

Canopy Growth  (CGC) - Get Report rose 1.4% in after-hours action after adding 7.8% in the final minutes of trading.

The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF  (MJ) - Get Report added 2% in after-hours action following a 6% gain in the regular session.

The moves came after a report in the New York Post said a group of Canadian researchers has found several strains of cannabis that appear to limit the routes the coronavirus uses to infect cells.

The research, which was first reported in April and has yet to be peer-reviewed, suggested that medicinal marijuana could block up to 70% of the proteins used by the virus to infect cells. 

The effective strains of cannabis all had large amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) but were low in THC, the psychoactive chemical that causes a high from using the drug.

Aurora Cannabis, Inc.  (ACB) - Get Report, which was already sharply higher Thursday on its move to enter the U.S. market through an acquisition, saw its shares gain additional ground in the final hour of trading before edging lower in the after-hours session. 

Among other active cannabis stocks Thursday, Cronos Group  (CRON) - Get Report saw its shares add 4.7% in after-hours action, on top of an 11.9% gain in regular trading. Aphria  (APHA) - Get Report shares rose 2.5% in after-hours trade following an 8.8% gain in the regular session. And Greenlane Holdings,  (GNLN) - Get Report rose 6% in later trading on top of a 14.5% gain in the regular session.