Cannabis Might Prevent Covid-19, but There is No Conclusive Proof Yet

Cannabis Might Prevent Covid-19, but There is No Conclusive Proof Yet

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Can cannabis help prevent Covid-19 infection? A recent study says that it just might. A study titled ‘Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants’ found that cannabigerolic acid and cannabidiolic acid prevented infection of human epithelial cells by a pseudovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and prevented entry of live SARS-CoV-2 into cells. A report in Forbes says that the researchers found that two cannabinoid acids commonly found in hemp varietals of cannabis, cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, also known as CBDA, can bind to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. By binding to the spike protein, the compounds can prevent the virus from entering cells and causing infection, potentially offering new avenues to prevent and treat the disease. Van Breemen and collaborators, including scientists at Oregon Health & Science University, found that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.

“We identified several cannabinoid ligands and ranked them by affinity to the spike protein,” Van Breemen said. “The two cannabinoids with the highest affinities for the spike protein were CBDA and CGBA, and they were confirmed to block infection.

However, Dr. Mikael Sodergren, who heads Imperial College London’s medical cannabis research group, told Forbes that the data does not prove the cannabis compounds can prevent COVID infection and provides “no evidence to support the smoking or ingestion of cannabis products to do the same.”

In a press release, Breemen said: “Resistant variants could still arise amid widespread use of cannabinoids but that the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment should make for a much more challenging environment for SARS-CoV-2. Our earlier research reported on the discovery of another compound, one from licorice, that binds to the spike protein too,” he said. “However, we did not test that compound, licochalcone A, for activity against the live virus yet. We need new funding for that.”

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