According to a study published by researchers affiliated with Oregon State University, compounds in cannabis can prevent infection from the virus that causes Covid-19 by blocking its entry into cells.
A report on the research, “Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants,” was published online by the Journal of Natural Products on Monday.
From the study, the researchers found that two cannabinoid acids commonly found in hemp varietals of cannabis, 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.
By binding to the spike protein, the compounds can prevent the virus from entering cells and causing infection, potentially offering new avenues to prevent and treat the disease.
In the abstract of the study, 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.”
Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center in the College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute, led the study. Van Breemen who collaborated with scientists at Oregon Health &Science University, said that the cannabinoids studied are common and readily available.
“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.”
Visit the link below to read the published study.
“Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants,”
Cannabinoids Effective Against New Variant.
Van Breemen said, “our research showed the hemp compounds were equally effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant B.1.351, first detected in South Africa.”
The researcher noted that the study shows the cannabinoids could be developed into drugs to prevent or treat Covid-19.
“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” van Breemen noted. “They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2. CBDA and CBGA are produced by the hemp plant as precursors to CBD and CBG, which are familiar to many consumers. However, they are different from the acids and are not contained in hemp products.”
“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,” said van Breemen. “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.”
“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,” the researcher added.
Source: A.J. Herrington (contributor, forbes.com)