A research team at Oregon State University published a study on how cannabinoids found in hemp have the capability to bind to the virus that causes COVID-19 and prevents it from infecting people.
“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” Richard van Breemen, who led the study, said in a report by MJNews Network. “They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2.”
Van Breeman refers to cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). These cannabinoids are naturally occurring chemicals found in hemp, also known scientifically as Cannabis sativa.
“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and 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.”
Both CBDA and CBGA are developed in the trichomes of cannabis plants and are the precursors to CBD and CBG, respectively. These two cannabinoids are found in different products with hemp extracts such as dietary supplements, food, body lotions, and cosmetics.
Along with scientists at Oregon Health & Science University, van Breeman used a chemical screening method invented at OSU to test botanicals against the COVID-19 virus.
Diseases and viruses have drug targets, which are critical molecules that lay out the foundations for how a virus infects people. For the research study, van Breemen and his team used a spike protein from COVID-19 as a drug target. The spike protein was also used in antibody therapy and vaccines.
“Acids from hemp could be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing virus molecules from infecting human cells. They [CBDA and CBGA] bind to the spike proteins, so those proteins can’t bind to the ACE2 enzyme, which is abundant on the other membrane of endothelial cells in the lungs and other organs,” van Breemen said.
The study also found that the cannabinoid acids were effective against the alpha and beta variants of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to lockdowns throughout various locations around the country. Although many businesses struggled to stay afloat during the lockdown, cannabis delivery systems saw a surge in business.
Some states, like California and Illinois, designated cannabis businesses as essential during stay-at-home orders.
Based on the OSU study, people might feel more inclined to consume prerolled cones filled with hemp strains.