Awareness of the beneficial nature of hemp plants is all over the world at this point. However, there are new reports coming out of the Oregon State University research team. These could bring about some much-needed succor against the pandemic. A technique invented by the university’s research team points to a possible ability of hemp. It could show hemps’ ability to limit the underlying virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells. While this sounds truly wild, the science behind it is quite interesting. Let’s find out more abut CBGA and CBDA, and what they have to do with COVID. We’re going to talk about a lot of quotes from research, but will also try to break it down for clarity.
New Research Findings on CBGA & CBDA + COVID-19
The study was led by Richard Van Breemen, a researcher with the university’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute. Its publication came about recently within the reputable Journal of Natural Products. The team of researchers discovered that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind themselves to the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins. This prevents it from forming the virus that goes on to infect people.
The compounds themselves are cannabigerolic acid or CBGA and cannabidiolic acid or CBDA. The spike protein belongs to the same drug target used in the creation of COVID-19 vaccines and general antibody therapy. The definition of a drug target is a molecule critical to the process a disease follows. That means disruption to a drug target causes disruption and is able to hinder disease progression. For researchers looking into COVID-19, that’s a big goal.
According to Van Breemen – “These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts. They are not controlled substances like THC… 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.” The two variants being the alpha & beta variant respectively.
Breaking it Down: What Does This Mean?
In more simple terms, and according to our understanding, this research points to a possible benefit of CBDA and CBGA. These are different from CBD and CBG. Like CBD and CBG, these compounds are also non-psychoactive. These cannabinoids show promise when it comes to binding to COVID-19 spike proteins. This in turn may potentially reduce rate of infection.
The Details of COVID-19 & Cannabinoids
Van Breemen went on to say “Any part of the infection and replication cycle is a potential target for antiviral intervention, and the connection of the spike protein’s receptor binding domain to the human cell surface receptor ACE2 is a critical step in that cycle,” he said. “That means cell entry inhibitors, like the acids from hemp, could be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing virus particles from infecting human cells. They bind to the spike proteins so those proteins can’t bind to the ACE2 enzyme, which is abundant on the outer membrane of endothelial cells in the lungs and other organs.”
OHSU identified and isolated the two cannabinoid acids as a result of the mass spectrometry-based screening technique. This technique is an invention of Van Breemen’s laboratory. His team screened a vast range of botanicals that could be of us as dietary supplements. This included the famous red clover, wild yam, hops and three species of licorice.
How To Find The Golden Ticket
Within an earlier study published by members of the team, they described tailoring the method to find drugs that could target the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Later research showed that cannabigerolic acid and cannabidiolic acid hindered the infection of human epithelial cells by the corona spike protein and prevented any entry of SARS-CoV-2 into the cells.
Van Breemen went on to say – “These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans. 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.”
Van Breemen also says – “Our data show CBDA and CBGA are effective against the two variants we looked at, and we hope that trend will extend to other existing and future variants.”
Final Thoughts on CBGA/CBDA and COVID-19
As the fight against COVID continues, Van Breemen finished by mentioning this. Although resistant variants could arise, he is hopeful that the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment could lead to a more challenging environment for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We completely agree. There are certainly many benefits available in nature, and this could be just one of them.
It’s always exciting to see new applications for cannabinoids like this. We’re hopeful that more research will support these ideas.
*We are not medical professionals nor do we claim this is medical advice. We are merely presenting the best of our knowledge on a subject. If you have questions or are feeling sick please talk to a doctor.*