A recent study by researchers at Oregon State University has caused some chaos among mainstream media and the American cannabis industry. This scientific study, published in the Journal of Natural Products, shows that certain compounds found in the Cannabis Sativa plant may offer protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  The compounds that have the ability to prevent COVID-19 from entering and attacking cells are cannabigerolic (CBGA) and cannabidiolic (CBDA) acids.  

“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” wrote Richard van Breemen, the cooresponding author of the study. “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.”

What are the facts? 

The study DID NOT show that CBD is a cure for the coronavirus.  What it did show is this: 

  • CBD and CBG acid compounds were able to attach to spike proteins in the COVID cells, which effectively prevented the alpha and beta variants.  By adhering to the proteins, cannabinoids are able to disrupt a crucial part of the transmission, the replication process, which in turn disrupts the infection process.  
  • The Oregon State researchers found this out while searching for potential botanical ligand molecules that have the potential to bind to other atoms, stopping virus cells from entering the human body. 
  • Using a screening tool called mass-spectrometry, the researchers found that CBDA and CBGA successfully attached to spike proteins. These compounds are found in hemp, which is not a controlled substance and is federally legal in the U.S. 
  • There is no protection for SARS-COV-2 from smoking cannabis.  Cannabinoid acids are sensitive to heat, and smoking would convert them to CBD and CBG, which have no antiviral effects. 
  • Researchers feel that consuming a combination of the two cannabinoid acids would offer strong resistance to the coronavirus.  These two would present quite a challenging environment for virus cells. 
  • This experiment was generated on a computer model and has not been tested on mice or humans.  There’s still a lot we don’t know.  
  • A different study from March 2021 by the National Institutes of Health confirmed that cannabinol significantly hinders virus-cell replication in human lung epithelial cells. 
  • THCA (the raw form of THC) shows similar promise on computer models, but since it is federally illegal, scientists don’t have the testing and research freedoms they have when working with legal substances.  

Can CBD replace the vaccine? 

No. CBD is not a cure for COVID and is certainly not a replacement for the FDA-approved Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.  However, combining two initial vaccine shots, a booster, and CBDA/CBGA, could provide a volatile environment for an attacking virus cell.  So, try it out if you like but don’t replace one with the other just yet. 

Will this process work against newer strains? 

There is a promise that cannabinoid acids may have a similar effect against the delta and omicron strains of SARS-COV-2; however, much more research needs to be done before a conclusion can be made. As mentioned previously, this research has not been extended to animal or human trials. 

Is There Any Evidence That Cannabis Can Help Alleviate Symptoms of COVID?

There is currently no significant evidence to support the use of cannabis for social anxiety relief in alleviating symptoms of COVID-19. While some studies have suggested potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness in treating COVID-related symptoms.

Is CBD also effective for fighting cancer cells?

The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back to 500 B.C.  It’s no surprise that cannabis and its derivatives can be helpful for certain ailments such as chronic pain, anxiety, loss of appetite, epilepsy and many more.  It’s especially become known for relieving cancer-related symptoms in recent years, prompting a premature title of being a cure for cancer.  Not a cure, but so far definitely helpful with nausea and other symptoms that can be caused by radiation and chemotherapy.

Recent studies are showing positive signs that CBDA, CBGA and THCA could have similar reactions towards replicating cancer cells as they do for coronavirus cells.  However, it’s just too soon to say for sure.  This is a topic we should hear more about in the years to come.  

In Conclusion

The Oregon State University research should lead to more advanced studies regarding the link between cannabis and COVID. While the CBDA, CBGA, and THCA cannabinoids show promise in preventing the spread of the virus, much more research needs to be done before a conclusion can be made.

It is still highly recommended by the CDC to get vaccinated and boosted, but it’s possible orally consuming cannabis can provide an extra layer of protection against coronavirus cells.  Follow the latest cannabis news and lookout for more information regarding the connection between cannabinoids and fighting a SARS-COV-2 infection.

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