Covid and Cannabis…here we are again!
Many cannabis consumers in my life have sworn that their use of cannabis has helped them both stave off and treat various infections and viruses, and perhaps even more people would say the same about plant medicine in general.
But, since cannabis is our plant medicine of choice around here, I hope you will join me in my excitement about the new study coming out of Oregon State University that has identified cannabis compounds, or cannabinoids, as a therapeutic agent to prevent coronavirus infections by blocking the virus from entering human cells. According to the study’s authors, widespread use of these compounds from cannabis plants (and a vaccination regime) could help to fight the virus’s spread and the disease it causes in people who get infected.
Can Cannabis Cure COVID-19?
Scientists from OSU were joined by others from Oregon Health & Sciences University. They were looking for a biological compound that could bind with the spike protein of the SARS-COV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Using a technique called affinity-selection mass spectrometry on cannabis, the researchers honed in on 3 cannabinoids: Cannabigerolic acid (CBG-A), Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A), and Cannabidiolic acid, or CBD-A. Unfortunately, THC-A is a federally controlled substance so scientists were unable to assess its effects and focused on the 2 other cannabinoids. The findings? These cannabinoids actually bound to spike proteins found on the virus and blocked a step that the pathogen uses to infect people.
What does this mean? Thought leader Dr. Rachel Knox explains it well…
“To be clear, we’re talking about acidic cannabinoids (in a pre-decarb state). Too many folks out here are still misguided on this subject, believing or even joking that this article proves they’re good because they smoke their cannabis. As a reminder, smoking anything makes one more susceptible to catching respiratory illnesses, and smoking cannabinoids decarboxylates whatever’s left to be decarboxylated. If you want any of the benefits the acidic cannabinoids potentially confer, smoking your cannabis won’t get you them.– Dr. Rachel Knox
Cannabis Can Block COVID-19
That’s right…CBG-A is only found during the live, growing phase of the cannabis plant, and CBD-A turns into CBD through decarboxylation (the application of heat through smoking, vaping, or baking). So, you can’t really get CBG-A and CBD-A through any cannabis consumption method that gets you high. Instead, you’d have to get an extract from a hemp plant.
If you are looking for a CBDa tincture, try our friends at Alta Hemp Botanicals.
Dr. Knox also mentioned you can eat or juice raw cannabis leaves or flower, brew cannabis tea (steeping for 3-5 min), take CBGA and/or CBDA tinctures or capsules, take CBGA and/or CBDA suppositories, and vape dried flower at no higher than 230F* to get these cannabinoids.
The study’s research team incubated the live virus with cannabis compounds and they found that cells that had been treated with CBD-A and CBG-A lacked SARS-COV-2 RNA. They performed the same procedure on live alpha and beta coronavirus variants, and found that the compounds had the same effect in both cases. The team expressed optimism that these compounds can be effective against other variants, too.
“This is big news, and I hope it launches ongoing investigation into the utility of whole plant preparations in well care and health care,” Dr. Knox explained.
Another study was done in March of 2021, and found that Cannabidiol (CBD) had potential to prevent and inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection. This recent study from OSU confirms this and will hopefully allow for more research…AND policy change!
Additionally, CBD has been found to help with lung inflammation and cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties in general…both of which are associated with symptoms of Covid-19.
We will be keeping an eye on this story as it continues to make waves (or smoke rings), but, be assured that this is GREAT news for our favorite plant regardless of what happens next.