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Cannabis compounds prevent coronavirus infection, says study

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A pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and block the virus from entering human cells.

Cannabis compounds can prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from infecting human cells, says a recent study.

This is eThe findings of a study led by Richard van Breemen of Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy, and Linus Pauling Institute were published in the Journal of Natural Products.

Scientists discovered that a pair of cannabinoid acids attach to the coronavirus’s spike protein, preventing a crucial phase in the virus’s ability to infect humans.

The compounds are cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, and the spike protein is the same pharmacological target employed in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody treatment.

A drug target is any molecule that is required for the progression of a disease and whose disruption can halt infection or disease progression.

“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” said the lead study author.

“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.”

“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” the author added.

“They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2. 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 the acids and are not contained in hemp products.”

In addition, the study found that hemp compounds were equally effective against SARS-CoV-2 strains, including alpha and beta variants.

Source: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00946

Image Credit: Getty

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