COVID-19 and weed don’t sound like they should be connected, but new lab findings suggest that the combination could be the key in stopping, or at least preventing, new covid-19 cases from taking hold.
COVID-19 and Weed: What’s the Connection?
According to a study published by Oregon State University researchers, Covid-19 and weed can stop the virus from entering into human cells. The report, titled “Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants,” was just published this week Monday in the “Journal of Natural Products.”
The research team discovered that two cannabinoids found in hemp and some weed strains, can actually bind to the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus and prevent it from entering human cells completely. By disabling the spike protein, a virus component that allows it to attach to cells, weed acts as a theoretical blocker and guards human cells against being infected!
Researchers have identified these two cannabinoids as
- The acidic version of CBG, or Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA)
- The acidic version of CBDA, or Canabidiolic Acid
We’ve already written articles on these lesser-known cannabinoids before, so if you want to learn more about what these cannabinoids are, how they’re made, and what they can do, be sure to check out our guides on them!
To explain more about the interaction between COVID-190 and weed, the researchers write in the report’s abstract that “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.”
What Does Science Say About Weed and COVID-19?
The study, which was led by Richard van Breemen, a researcher from the Global Hemp Innovation Center in the College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute, argues that the cannabinoids effective in stopping COVID-19 are “common and readily available.”
“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” van Breemen said. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans.”
Yes, perhaps the most surprising thing about these findings is that the two cannabinoids responsible for stopping COVID-19 in its tracks don’t even get you high!
Even more surprising is the fact that Van Breemen says that CBDA and CBGA not only blocks COVID-19 from infecting human cells, but it also blocks its variants, too.
Van Breemen says that “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.”
Since the spike protein is the same part of the virus that vaccines and antibody therapies target, weed can prevent all COVID-19 infections from happening by simply preventing them from attaching.
“Any part of the infection and replication cycle is a potential target for antiviral intervention, and the connection of the spike protein’s receptor-binding domain to the human cell surface receptor ACE2 is a critical step in that cycle,” van Breeman said.
“That means cell entry inhibitors, like the acids from hemp, could be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing virus particles from infecting human cells. They bind to the spike proteins so those proteins can’t bind to the ACE2 enzyme, which is abundant on the outer membrane of endothelial cells in the lungs and other organs.”
In other words, weed can stop Delta and Omicron variants, too. Who thought that COVID-19 and weed would be the killer combo to stop the pandemic?
While these findings are still in their early stages, Van Breemen makes the argument that CBDA and CBGA can be used to develop COVID-19 prevention and treatment drugs.
“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.”
Who would’ve thought that weed would be the key to stopping the pandemic from happening? Well, technically it’s not all weed, but it does point to the fact that weed isn’t just a drug, it can be a medicine, too!
CBDA is hard to find, but luckily, your friends at Herb Approach are and have been, well equipped throughout the pandemic to provide you with everything you might need. Check out our CBDA chocolate bars if you feel like you need some extra protection during this recent COVID-19 surge!
Until next time, happy trails!