COVID and Cannabis: What’s the Connection?

by | Feb 4, 2022 | CBD 101 | 0 comments

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, cannabis and COVID continue to make headlines. This month was no exception with the release of a new study connecting cannabis as a potential tool to prevent COVID. 

Early in the pandemic we saw the rush on cannabis in certain states as lockdowns impacted stores and dispensaries. But cannabis and COVID are in the news again. In a new study published in the Journal of Natural Products, researchers identified cannabis compounds that may block COVID from entering human cells. 

Hold on to Your Lighters

Let’s take a minute to digest the results of this study. While the internet was ablaze with tweets, memes and late-night quips about preventing or treating COVID with cannabis, the study indicates the connection between cannabis and COVID isn’t quite so clear. As cannabis reporter Chris Roberts writes on Forbes, it’s crucial to look at the distinction between cannabinoids and cannabinoid acids, which were the significant compounds of interest in the study and become cannabinoids only after heat is applied.

The Study

Researchers at Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Sciences University found the ability to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells with certain hemp compounds. Through a technique called affinity selection mass spectrometry, researchers measured the potential of different botanicals to bind to the drug target for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. They found two hemp compounds that bound to the protein and block a step in the process the virus uses to infect people

According to the study, in an article about the research shared from Oregon State, “…lab tests showed that cannabigerolic acid and cannabidiolic acid prevented infection of human epithelial cells by the coronavirus spike protein and prevented entry of SARS-CoV-2 into cells.” Researchers also evaluated tetrahydrocannabidiolic acid (THC-A), but research is limited by the substance’s federal legal status.

These compounds, CBG-A and CBD-A, are precursors to the well-known CBG and CBD that most people consume or inhale. 

The study was led by Richard van Breemen, who shared in the Oregon State article

“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” van Breemen said. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans. And 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.”

What It Means

Research into the expanded therapeutic benefits of hemp is significant—as van Breemen and other study authors write, cannabis products have oral bioavailability and a long history of safe use in humans. Natural products like cannabis as a dietary supplement may be part of an overall health regimen. 

While mainstream media’s interpretation—and Twitter users’ interpretations—are far reaching about the potential link between cannabis and COVID, there’s good news. More research like van Breemen’s study means greater support for the benefits of plant-based products and more information about various cannabinoids, including CBD and CBG.

So will consuming cannabis prevent COVID infection? This study doesn’t hold the answers. It’s findings haven’t been tested on animals or humans, or demonstrated to be effective outside of a highly controlled research setting in a lab. It does shine a light on the potential benefits and protective properties of cannabinoids, which is exciting for longtime users and new users alike. We will of course continue to monitor the development of cannabis and COVID and keep you up to date as much as we can!

Helpful Botanicals + Hemp

While cannabis may not outright prevent COVID infection, it does have other beneficial properties, especially when paired with powerful botanicals. Haygood Farms offers a complete line of CBD, Delta 8 and full-spectrum products, from skin care and vitamin-infused gummies to ashwagandha and medicinal mushroom capsules. 

Ready for more mood-lifting and immunity-boosting hemp products? Shop here, or read on our blog about the benefits of hemp and more.

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