According to a study from researchers at OSU, cannabis compounds show the ability to prevent the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells.
The compounds are cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, CBDA, and the spike protein is the same drug target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy. A drug target is any molecule critical to the process a disease follows, meaning its disruption can thwart infection or disease progression.
Cannabis compounds prevent coronavirus from entering human cells: Oregon State University study
The compounds are known to be effective if taken orally.
Van Breemen and scientists at Oregon Health & Science University, found that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.
“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. Our research shows the hemp compounds are 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”
Using compounds that block virus-receptor interaction has been helpful for patients with other viral infections, he notes, including HIV-1 and hepatitis.
“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” Van Breemen said. “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.”
The study has been published in the Journal of Natural Products.