Some of the compounds in cannabis may prevent the coronavirus from entering healthy human cells, according to a study published in the Journal of Nature Products.
The research was conducted at Oregon State University and led by Richard van Breemen, a scientist with the Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State.
The study suggests that two compounds commonly found in hemp – cannabigerolic and cannabidiolic acid – prevent the coronavirus from entering cells that typically line internal organs and skin in the laboratory.
In the study, these acids were able to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein – the same target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy. Once bound, this step could block a critical step in the pathogenic process used to infect the cell.
“This means that cell entry inhibitors, such as hemp acids, could be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing viral particles from infecting human cells. . They bind to spike proteins so that those proteins cannot bind to the ACE2 enzyme, which is abundant on the outer membrane of endothelial cells in the lungs and other organs,” van Breemen said in a statement.
Both cannabis compounds were found to be equally effective against alpha and beta variants of SARS-CoV-2.
Van Breemen hopes this trend seen in his findings will apply to other existing and future variants of COVID-19.
Hemp, which is part of the Cannabis sativa species, is one of the cannabis species cultivated for industrial and medicinal purposes, including food supplements, animal feed and cosmetics.
Van Breemen states that these compounds can be taken orally. For him, they have the potential to prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 infection.
“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 acids and are not contained in hemp products,” van Breeman noted.