New research found cannabis compounds, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), can block the ceullar entry of COVID-19 and emerging variants from infecting human cells.
Richard van Breemen at Oregon State's Global Hemp Innovation Center in the College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute discovered the pair of cannabinoid acids (CBGA & CBDA) binds to the COVID-19 spike protein, blocking the critical step the virus needs to infect people.
"Our research showed the hemp compounds were 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," van Breemen said.
"Orally bioavailable and with a long history of safe human use, these cannabinoids, isolated or in hemp extracts, 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," he said.
Don't plan on rolling a joint or packing a bong full of cannabis like Cheech & Chong would, rather researchers said, "these compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans."
"The benefit for preventing viral infection of cells must come from cannabinoid acids, which are heat sensitive and must not be smoked, or it would convert them to CBD and so forth," van Breemen said. "So that wouldn't work for the antiviral effect."
The findings were published in the Journal of Natural Products on Monday.
Besides cannabis, other therapeutics may help people combat the infection. Just yesterday, Project Veritas leaked military documents that show DARPA supports Ivermectin as a COVID treatment.