An unprecedented new study published this week identified what could be an unexpected tool in the world’s fight against COVID-19: cannabis.
Yes, you read that right.
According to a peer-reviewed paper published this week in the Journal of Natural Products, titled “Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants,” at least three naturally occurring compounds in the cannabis plant have been developed in the laboratory. was shown in the tests. To be effective in preventing coronavirus molecules from entering human cells. One of the authors told Salon that the mechanism effectively mimics the activity of antibodies, with cannabis compounds attaching themselves to the virus’s spike proteins. The study concludes:
With the widespread use of cannabinoids, resistant types may still arise, but the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment should create a more challenging environment with which SARS-CoV-2 must contend, making survival less likely. It becomes
In case any of this is confusing, the authors also included a handy example of the phenomenon in the paper:
One example shows how cannabinoids can block the entry of SARS-CoV-2 from human cells. (courtesy Journal of Natural Products)
The findings have gone viral, so to speak, trending on Twitter and prompting a lot of speculation online under the hashtag “#WeedPreventsCOVID”. But don’t get to that addition just yet—the compounds, CBD-A, CBG-A, and THC-A, are nonsteroidal and degrade at high temperatures, which makes smoking or baking a less-than-ideal method. Them. Pills or gummies are preferable, not to mention concentrates designed to maximize the content of these specific substances.
In addition, the entire base must go through a series of clinical trials before researchers can say for sure whether it works in real life the way it does in the controlled conditions of a lab. Still, Dr. Richard van Breemen, one of the study’s authors and professor of medicinal chemistry at Oregon State University, says the results are “incredibly promising”.
“This is by far the biggest reaction to a study I’ve encountered in my career,” said Dr. Van Breemann told Salon.
“Many hemp dietary supplements containing these compounds are available across the country,” he said, meaning that if the findings are carried to successful clinical trials, preventive treatments could be immediately accessible by millions of Americans. Will happen.
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The entire project was a collaboration between the Linus Pauling Institute and the Global Hemp Innovation Center, both of which are headquartered at Oregon State University, which, several years ago, after the USDA gave the green signal for academic institutions to resume commercial and pharmaceutical production of hemp. Researched applications. Research into hemp after a decade-long moratorium. The paper’s seven authors are all faculty members at OSU or Oregon Health & Science University.
The researchers set out to test several botanical extracts that they thought might bind to the spike protein of the SARS-COV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Dr. van Breemann said he studied “dozens” of substances before he discovered that cannabis was effective.
Another compound found in licorice was also found to bind reliably to the SARS-COV-2 virus – but more research is needed to determine whether it has the same antiviral activity as compounds found in cannabis. will produce.
So what does all this mean for the average person?
Simply put – it’s too early to tell right now. But people are unlikely to experience any kind of viral protection benefit from consuming cannabis, which would also give them a high. Due to current research restrictions on THC-A (and its relationship to the psychoactive compound THC), it will be effectively impossible to continue research into proper application methods for that compound.
Meanwhile, CBD-A and CBG-A are both acids that are broken down into CBD through the application of heat – a process known as “decarboxylation.” The same heating process is responsible for the psychoactive properties found in marijuana.
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While it is still not entirely clear which dosage level may prove to be clinically viable, most over-the-counter cannabis supplements must list their CBD-A and CBG-A content, which is low. Information about the efficacy of a given product will be easier to determine.
Other good news? It appears that trials show that cannabis compounds are effective against all known forms of COVID-19.
“Our data show a minimal effect of divergent pedigrees on the effectiveness of CBDA and CBGA, a trend that hopefully extends to other existing and future variants,” the authors write in the study.