When we spoke on January [27], I noted that a major drugmaker just made a huge cannabis merger. to fill out its franchise of cutting-edge medical science.

Today, I’m following up to let you know about another big cannabis breakthrough – it just might be useful in preventing Covid infections.

Yes, it sounds counterintuitive. After all, Covid can be a serious infection of the lungs, and cannabis is known to make smokers – and even vape users – cough, sometimes violently.

But here’s the thing. Cannabis is actually overall a very healthy substance when used to treat disease.

In fact, a new medical study by researchers at Oregon State University found that using cannabinoid acids might stop the spread of certain Covid variants.

I’m not surprised. The study shows just how versatile cannabis can be in treating disease.

Today, I’m going to show you a MedTech leader that is a great backend play on cannabis as well as medical testing in general and offers an Omicron hook…

The Allure of Cannabis

The leader in this space is Agilent Technologies Inc. (A). This is one of the world’s top scientific measuring firms, and it has moved aggressively into cannabis.

You see, earlier this month researchers at Oregon State University published a peer-reviewed study showing something remarkable about the compounds found in industrial hemp interacted with the Covid virus.

They screened the compounds found in industrial hemp to see whether any of them interacted with the Covid virus.

Turns out, two compounds in hemp bind to the “spike protein” that the Covid virus uses to drill into our cells, in effect preventing the virus from infecting us.

Known as CBGA and CBDA, both compounds are cannabinoid acids that show up in high quantities in hemp.

Mind you, hemp is the same species of plant as marijuana. The difference is just that hemp is grown for its fiber and as food, and so has been bred to make less THC, the high-inducing compound marijuana is famous for.

To be sure, we’re not likely to see these cannabinoid acids approved any time soon. However, the study does show the impact that cannabinoids can have in treating a wide range of diseases.

In fact, cannabis is about as close to a “universal” drug you can find.

Humans have been using it since the Stone Age, and as scientists discovered in 1988, our bodies use native cannabinoid compounds to regulate recovery and repair.

Quality Control

It’s no wonder that cannabis-based medicine is taking off. Cannabis-derived compounds are already approved to treat more than 170 conditions.

But the key to all this, of course, is making sure that the cannabis that’s being sold for its benefits is what it says on the tin .

This past November, Agilent’s method for testing cannabis for heavy metals became the first one to be internationally approved by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC), an international standard-setting body.

But there’s a lot more going on with Agilent than just cannabis testing. Agilent is one of the top companies in life sciences, applied chemical and diagnostics equipment, making this a great “twofer.”

Agilent boasts nearly 16,000 employees in nearly a dozen facilities in the U.S., Europe, China, and Vietnam. The industries the firm serves comprise an annual $52 billion in global sales.

Pharma, clinical firms, and academic and government agencies make up $38 billion. The food, chemical, energy, and environmental sectors account for the rest.

The Real Hewlett Packard

Agilent also has a rich history of innovation. It was spun off from Hewlett Packard in 1999 and began as a tech-focused firm to help innovate in computing and the emerging internet and wireless markets.

In Silicon Valley, they still call Agilent ‘the real HP’ because its innovations were what pushed the digital revolution we live in today. For example, it built the first optical mouse in 1999.

Over the next few years, it worked on all-optical networks, wireless and consumer broadband testing, and antennas to make the next-gen 5G and Wi-Fi 6 wireless networks.

More recently, Agilent produced two high-throughput Covid tests for use in laboratories in record time – a product that we’re only seeing more and more demand for as the Omicron wave envelopes the nation.

Opportunity Ahead

Of course, the current Covid pandemic has only emphasized how important lab equipment and testing are, from the initial stages of drug research and development to quality control during the final production of drugs.

To be sure, the stock has been out of favor along with much of tech and the life sciences. But that is a good thing, as it means we can get the shares at a discount from their long-term trajectory.

Agilent has recently posted a 23% earnings gain and that means per-share profits could double in about three years at the current rate, with share price likely to follow.

The cannabis and biotech industries may be highly volatile.

But Agilent is a great backend play that gives you exposure to those industries and their profits, without all that nerve-wracking volatility.

Cheers and good investing,

— Michael A. Robinson

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Source: Strategic Tech Investor