Did you hear about the study on marijuana and its alleged COVID preventive properties? According to the research, which the Journal of Natural Products published last year, there are two compounds that might prevent COVID-19 infection.
While everyone is excited to hear about ways to combat COVID-19, marijuana lovers are probably the most thrilled to hear this. However, it is important to understand the findings instead of relying on simplified media coverage. Allow us to enlighten you on what the study found.
First of all, it was conducted by a research team from the molecular microbiology and immunology department of the Oregon Health & Science University and the Linus Pauling Institute at the Oregon State University. Richard van Breemen, PhD, served as the lead researcher. The paper was co-published by the American Society of Pharmacognosy and the American Chemical Society.
According to van Breemen, they studied different plants to look for natural compounds with the potential to prevent the penetration of the COVID-19 virus into human cells. As they researched hemp, they sought molecules with the capability of binding onto the spike protein.
They incubated this part of the virus in a hemp extract mixture and watched which compounds enveloped the spike protein. There were three acids that showed strong binding affinity: cannabigerolic acid, cannabidiolic acid, and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. Next, they tested if two of these three acids could inhibit the penetration of human cells, thereby neutralizing the virus. They did away without THC-A as it is the precursor to the controlled substance THC.
They relied on predictive computer modeling to watch the chemical interactions between the compounds and spike protein. They incubated the virus with the compounds and a central compound. After this, they exposed the surface tissue to the mixture. A day later, they searched for viral RNA and found nothing. They took this to mean that CBDA and CBGA can block the entry of SARS-COV-2 in humans.
However, there is no guarantee just yet that this will work in real humans. In reality, test tube experiments do not translate into the human body all the time. The next step is to test this in animals and eventually humans. While it is promising, it is important not to make any claims that cannabis and hemp can prevent COVID-19 just yet. It is undoubtedly exciting, but the only thing we can do for now is to wait.