CBD & COVID-19: Research Shows Surprising Efficacy In Preventing & Treating Infection

Cannabis & COVID-19

New study shows surprising efficacy in preventing infections.

CBDA & CBGA are compounds derived from cannabis plants. Recent research finds that they effectively neutralize SARS-COV-2 virus cells.

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new study has identified cannabis compounds as a therapeutic agent to prevent coronavirus infections by blocking the virus from entering human cells. According to the study’s authors, widespread use of these compounds combined with established prevention and treatment regimes, could help to continue the fight against the virus’s spread and the disease it causes.

“With widespread use of cannabinoids, resistant variants could still arise, but the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment should create a more challenging environment with which SARS-CoV-2 must contend, reducing the likelihood of escape,” the study’s authors write.

Diagram illustrating the effect of CBD oil on COVID-19

Diagram illustrating the effect of CBD oil on COVID-19

As detailed in the new study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Natural Products, researchers from Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Sciences University were looking for a biological compound that could bind with the spike protein of the SARS-COV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Using affinity-selection mass spectrometry to quickly assess a large volume of compounds in cannabis, the researchers honed in on three compounds: cannabigerolic acid, or CBG-A; tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THC-A; and cannabidiolic acid, or CBD-A. Since THC-A is a controlled substance, the team did not have access to sufficient amounts of the compound to accurately assess its effects, so instead focused on the others.

The team incubated the live virus with cannabis compounds as well as a control and, after 24 hours, injected them into human epithelial cells; they found that cells that had been treated with CBD-A and CBG-A lacked SARS-COV-2 RNA. They performed the same procedure on live alpha and beta variants, first detected in the UK and South Africa, respectively, and found that the compounds had the same effect in both cases. They express optimism that these compounds can be effective against other variants, too.

“Our data show minimal impact of the variant lineages on the effectiveness of CBDA and CBGA, a trend that will hopefully extends to other existing and future variants,” the authors write.

Their findings point to the cannabis compounds as “virus neutralizing,” capable of blocking the entry of coronavirus in high concentrations that the researchers note are “high but might be clinically achievable.” They recommend oral administration of the compounds—meaning adequate use of cannabis for COVID-19 prevention would likely come in the form of a pill or liquid.

“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” said Richard Van Breemen, first author on the study and Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University in a press release.


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