Two compounds found in industrial hemp have shown the ability to prevent the virus that causes covid-19 from entering human cells, according to researchers in Oregon.
“Cannabis acids are abundant in hemp and in many cannabis extracts,” said Richard Van Bremen, a researcher at the College of Pharmacy’s Center for Global Cannabis Innovation and the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. “It’s not a controlled substance like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and it has good safety properties in humans.”
Prevention and treatment
Research has found that CBGA (cannabistroleic acid) and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) are associated with COVID-19. Proteins impeding a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.
The compounds, which can be taken orally, “have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection with SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19),” Van Bremen said.
Van Bremen led a team of scientists from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in conducting the study.
Not in CBD or CBG
CBDA and CBGA are produced by the hemp plant as precursors to CBD (cannabidiol) and CBG (cannabigerol), which are common consumer products. But the acids are different from CBD and CBG, and are not included in those hemp-derived products, van Bremen noted.
Compounds that block viral receptor interaction have been beneficial for patients with other viral infections, including HIV-1 and hepatitis, Van Breemann said.
Van Bremen and Ruth Moshiri of the College of Pharmacy and the Linus Pauling Institute and five scientists from OHSU identified cannabinoid acid via a mass spectrometry-based screening technique invented in the Van Bremen lab. Van Bremen’s team examined a range of plants used as nutritional supplements including red clover, wild yam, hops and three types of licorice.
He said that resistant covid-19 variants could emerge despite the widespread use of cannabis, but that the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment should lead to a more challenging environment for the virus.
Researchers Timothy Bates, Jules Weinstein, Hans Lier, Farley Scotland, and OHSU’s Vikado Tavisi contributed to the study of cannabis.
see study: Cannabis inhibits cellular entry of SARS-CoV-2 and emerging variants