Study Shows Cannabis Compounds Prevent Infection by Covid-19

Cannabis Covid Infection - GCI Content Hub - Global Cannabis Intelligence

Two compounds found in cannabis can prevent infection from the virus that causes Covid-19 by blocking its entry into cells, new research has shown.

Forbes reports on a study by researchers affiliated with Oregon State University, which found that two cannabinoid acids commonly found in hemp prevented infection of human epithelial cells with Covid-19.

How does cannabis prevent Covid-19 infection?

Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) block infection by binding to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. CBDA and CBGA are acids produced by the hemp plant as precursors to well-known cannabinoids CBD and CBG.

The research shows that these acids can prevent the virus from penetrating human cells and causing infection, offering exciting new possibilities for the prevention and treatment of the disease.

“Orally bioavailable and with a long history of safe human use, these cannabinoids, isolated or in hemp extracts, have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2,” study authors wrote in an abstract of the study.

Richard van Breemen, study lead and researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, explained to local media that because these cannabinoids are non-psychoactive, they are not controlled substances like THC and have a good safety profile in humans.

Are these cannabinoids effective against new variants?

The research showed that CBDA and CBGA were equally effective against new variants of the virus. Van Breemen added that this includes variant B.1.1.7, first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant B1.351, first detected in South Africa.

These acids from hemp act as cell entry inhibitors to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection. Further, the evidence arising from this study indicates that these compounds could also be used to shorten infection by preventing virus particles from entering human cells.

Van Breemen notes that further research is needed, as the study was conducted on isolated human cells in a lab. Regardless, the study shows meaningful potential for drug development using these cannabinoids to treat Covid-19.

Although variants resistant to the widespread use of cannabinoids could still arise, the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment is likely to create a highly challenging environment for SARS-CoV-2.

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