New researches found Cannabis compounds can prevent COVID infections

A recent study found that two cannabinoid acids commonly found in hemp varietals of cannabis bind onto the coronavirus’ spike protein, preventing it from causing infection. But smoking weed won’t protect you against the virus, experts say.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University (OSU) and the department of molecular microbiology and immunology at Oregon Health & Science University. The lead researcher was Richard van Breemen, Ph.D., a principal investigator at the Linus Pauling Institute and professor of medicinal chemistry at OSU, whose lab studies the discovery, development, medicinal uses, and safety of natural products (like antioxidants for cancer prevention).

The researchers in van Breemen's lab were studying a variety of plants—like red clover, licorice, and hemp—in search of natural compounds that could potentially stop the novel coronavirus from entering cells, van Breemen explained in an interview with Vice.

They found that two chemical compounds in hemp—cannabigerol acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA—bound to the coronavirus spike proteins, which allow the virus to enter human cells. That means that some cannabis molecules were able to take away the virus’s ability to enter healthy cells, at least in a petri dish.

"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," Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, was quoted as saying.

“I think that we’re even looking at the legitimacy of cannabis to help with immune issues is a big step and I think that we need to continue encouraging that kind of research,” said Barbara Starke, a registered cannabis nurse.

“They used derivatives of cannabis—CBG and CBD-A, so those are non-intoxicating components of cannabis," said Starke. "If you take those, you’re not going to get any kind of intoxicating effects. You’re not going to be high.”

In the VICE interview, Breemen was quoted as saying that a 'dietary supplement' such as a gummy or a tincture that contains all three of these compounds might help people stay healthy.

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