Scientists from Oregon State University and Oregon Health and Sciences University have published a new peer reviewed study that finds that cannabis plants may have some special hidden health benefits, including an ability to help block COVID-19 from entering the body.
Researchers examined three compounds of the plant that are found in THC and CBD: cannabigerolic acid, which scientists dubbed CBG-A; cannabidiolic acid, or CBD-A; and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, known as THC-A. According to a recent article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, once extracted from the plant, the biological compounds were then incubated with the spike protein from COVID-19 and were injected into human epithelial cells after 24 hours. Scientists then discovered that CBD-A and CBG-A prevented infection of these human epithelial cells by a pseudovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, as well as prevented entry of live SARS-CoV-2 into cells.
A process called "affinity-selection mass spectrometry" was used to assess how those compounds interacted with the spike protein of COVID-19. When studied, both CBD-A and CBG-A were equally effective against the alpha and beta strains of the variant. Researchers have said that this could provide a strong case in the future for the compounds to be used to create other preventative measures to protect against stronger strains of the virus. Officials behind the study explained that with widespread use of cannabinoids, resistant variants could still arise. However, according to the Journal of Natural Products, the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment should create a more challenging environment with which SARS-CoV-2 must contend, reducing the likelihood of escape.
Sadly, everything is not exactly as it seems. CBD-A and CBG-A's "virus neutralizing" capabilities are definitely promising but would most likely have to be consumed in the form of a pill or liquid for people to experience their benefits. Luckily this may not be a problem as we are in the age of edibles, with there being more options than ever of consuming cannabis in that fashion.
Last week, comedian Jimmy Kimmel joked, "All this time we've been listening to the CDC when we should have been eating CBD." The comedian's joke brings up the point of government interference when it comes to the virus and treatments. While the study is promising, all of it would rely on the Biden Administration authorizing the use of cannabis for researchers to look into other ways it fights off the disease. It's a process that could prove quite long considering it took the FDA over six months to approve the Pfizer vaccine, and that vaccine was on the fast track. For now, though, it remains up to individuals to decide how effective they feel the plant can be.
For those who don't wish to break the law, CBD and Delta-8 are legally sold in Louisiana in both the flower and edible varieties.