At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the virus. Since then, we have learned more about slowing its spread and keeping ourselves and loved ones healthy. As scientists spend more time researching these complex pathogens, a new study has emerged linking cannabinoids in marijuana with the ability to prevent and treat infection from COVID-19. So, what is the connection between hemp and COVID-19?
What is a Cannabinoid?
A cannabinoid is a molecule that is found in marijuana plants. There are more than one hundred cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant, with the most well-known ones being:
The main psychoactive component in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the cannabinoid that is responsible for the “high” that people feel when they smoke marijuana.
CBD is not psychoactive, and it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects. Recently, CBD has been widely promoted for its vast benefits on chronic pain and its ability to enhance quality of sleep.
What is Hemp?
Along with marijuana and CBD products, hemp also contains cannabinoids. Scientifically known as Cannabis Sativa, hemp is a variety of marijuana that is commonly grown for its fiber and seeds, as it has very low levels of THC.
Cannabinoids to Prevent COVID-19?
One of the key biological components of the disease COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 is the presence of spike proteins that allow the virus to penetrate host cells and cause infection throughout the body. A study conducted by Oregon State University discovered that certain cannabinoid acids present in hemp bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which blocks an essential step in the infection process.
The two cannabinoids that were found to block the spike protein are known as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). CBGA and CBDA are not controlled substances that induce a psychoactive response, and they have a good safety profile in humans. These cannabinoids were equally effective against the original virus, as well as the two current variants, known as delta and omicron.
The conducted study included a range of different botanicals, such as dietary supplements, like red clover, wild yam, hops, and different species of licorice. However, the results indicated that CBGA and CBDA were the most effective at blocking infections.
When used in conjunction with vaccines, these therapeutic cannabinoids can help prevent infection from SARS-CoV-2 and also shorten infection times of people where COVID-19 was already detected. As scientists continue to research and learn more about this virus, they are hopeful that cannabinoids’ protective properties will extend to future variants.
Learn More About Medical Marijuana in Florida
Although this study provides newfound hope at stopping the spread of COVID-19, we should continue to follow the CDC recommendations. To complement these safety measures, you may also want to consider trying these cannabinoids.
If you are interested in exploring marijuana products, take our patient survey to see if you qualify for a Medical Marijuana card in Florida. To learn more about how medical marijuana may be able to help you, contact us today.