Cannabis compounds could prevent infection from covid, according to study
The findings could offer new avenues to prevent and treat infection
New research has found that cannabis compounds can prevent infection from the virus that causes covid-19 by blocking its entry into cells.
In the study, which was published on Monday in the Journal of Natural Products, researchers found that two cannabinoid acids - cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, also known as CBDA - can bind to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19.
This prevents the virus from entering cells and causing infection.
The researchers wrote: "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."
The study was led by Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center in the College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute, in collaboration with scientists at the Oregon Health & Science University.
“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” van Breemen said, as quoted by local media. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans.”
The study also suggests that the cannabinoids were effective against new variants of the virus as well, with CBDA and CBGA proving to be "equally effective" against the Alpha and Beta variants.
Van Breemen said: “These variants are well known for evading antibodies against early lineage SARS-CoV-2, which is obviously concerning given that current vaccination strategies rely on the early lineage spike protein as an antigen.
“Our data show CBDA and CBGA are effective against the two variants we looked at, and we hope that trend will extend to other existing and future variants.”
The researcher added that “resistant variants could still arise amid widespread use of cannabinoids but that the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment should make for a much more challenging environment for SARS-CoV-2.”
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