Readers of these pages have learned quite a lot about the various health benefits of cannabis and CBD. Could this remarkable plant, once known only as a recreational drug, now help in the battle against COVID-19?
According to a recent study, researchers found that cannabis compounds prevented the coronavirus from infecting healthy cells in a lab, showing promise that the compounds might prevent COVID-19 infection.
Researchers from Oregon State University discovered the two chemical compounds commonly found in hemp — cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) — both have the potential to keep COVID-19 from forming.
According to the study, the compounds bound to the virus’s spike proteins and blocked the process in the pathogen’s development where it usually infects people.
The researchers tested the compounds’ effects against two variants in a laboratory. No human subjects were involved.
“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, told Bloomberg News. “They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2,” he said in a statement.
He then added that the two compounds could help prevent and treat COVID-19.
“They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans,” he added.
California’s so-called “weed nuns” are heralding the new study.
“We are, naturally, pleased that science is catching up with ancient wisdom,” Sister Kate of the Sisters of the Valley told The NY Post.
“It’s wonderful progress to have the scientific community say ‘we’re already determined that there are compounds in hemp that can prevent infection,’ so now, we can just get on to studying dosage,” said the nun, whose legal name is Christine Meeusen said. “That’s progress.”
Hemp compounds have been used as a source of fiber, food for humans and animals, and hemp extract, CBD, and related cannabinoids are used in body lotions, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and other food products.
The study was published in the Jan. 10 edition of the Journal of Natural Products.