Oregon State University - A new study released from Oregon State University shows that two compounds found in hemp, CBDA and CBGA, could block Covid-19 from entering human cells.
In the study, different extracts from natural products were tested to see if any of the compounds in them stuck to the spike proteins on the covid-19 virus. This is similar to how antibodies work. Spike proteins would be represented by the little spikes we see in models of the virus.
The compounds CBDA or cannabidiolic acid and CBGA or cannabigerolic acid stuck to the spike proteins. This was also tested with the live virus and so far shown to be successful.
The study was led by Richard Van Breemen a researcher at the College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute at the university.
Breemen said this discovery could potentially be used in the fight against covid-19.
"In humans, they might be able to resist becoming sick if exposed to someone else who has the covid infection," Breemen said. "I think that might be the best application of our discovery, in helping people stay well."
Another news outlet reported that after this study was released people in Oregon flocked to marijuana stores to buy products in hopes it would prevent covid-19 infection.
Locally, that doesn't seem to be the case. Shift Manager at Weed Co. Roman Parris said he hasn't seen an increase in sales since the study was released.
"I wouldn't say we've seen a big increase," Parris said. "I think the article is still pretty new, not too many people know about it yet, but I feel like once more research and information gets out to the public that it could be possible."
However, it is important to note that marijuana and hemp are not the same thing.
Hemp does belong to the Cannabis family but can be used as a source of fiber, food, and animal feed. While marijuana has added psychoactive compounds, like THC, that cause people to get high.
Breemen said he doesn't recommend people go out an smoke marijuana because CBDA and CBGA decompose in high temperatures. However, some marijuana stores may sell products that contain CBDA or CBGA.
"I would recommend, eventually, a product for oral administration because it wouldn't be subjected to heat," Breemen said. "Many products that are currently available are designed to be richer in certain cannabinoids, like CBD, and may or may not have significant amounts of CBDA or CBGA so ask for certificates of analysis."
So far the acids have been found to be effective against the Delta and Alpha variants in preventing entry of the covid-19 virus into human cells. Further studies are required to see if it's effective against the Omicron variant.
The next step is to start clinical trials to determine what the correct dosage would be and whether the compounds can indeed prevent infection or shorten the virus' life in human cells.
Breemen said an earlier study was also published showing a compound in the licorice plant stuck to the spike protein of the covid-19 virus. Further study is needed to see if it is effective against the live virus.
Two-hundred-fifty-thousand other extracts await testing as funding becomes available. Breemen said these extracts are from the National Cancer Institute to test against cancer, but if given permission, they would like to test them on covid-19 too.