Earlier this year a laboratory study came out from Oregon State University that showed a promising future for cannabis and a potentially preventative supplement with a good safety profile.
The study from Oregon State University showed that the cannabinoids CBDa and CBGa stopped COVID-19 from entering the human cells by blocking the spike protein. Don’t worry, I will explain this.
First, this is not the first study that showed something like this. This also isn’t the first study to pose the question if cannabis, in particular, CBD and other cannabis byproducts could help with COVID-19 and other viral illnesses. This could potentially be useful in the future for treating and preventing COVID-19 with more studies and larger studies. This does help build a further case that cannabis may be useful in a variety of different disease processes.
Let us go through some things to make this study understandable without having a degree in the sciences. You could pay to read the study but honestly do not bother unless you have knowledge of some high-level biology or biochemistry. A lot of this study is describing things at a very complicated cellular level where each protein and molecule is described in great detail.
The first thing to know is how virus and covid works:
Imagine a bubble, with the ability to reproduce, protected by a shell (protein) that’s all a virus is. (Yes, if you think about it long enough it seems crazy that barely a living thing is causing all of this chaos but here we are). The Covid19 molecule is a ball with these proteins, DNA/RNA ready to reproduce plus an additional lipid(fat) layer. COVID-19 and other SARS molecules have something called a spike protein (a sugar molecule that acts as a knife to poke through and enter cells) on this additional layer.
This particular study was a pre-clinical study meaning this was done in a lab, under a microscope, and not on humans or animals. Preclinical studies are an important step needed to map disease processes and potential cures. Nothing in medicine happens without this step.
The short story of what the researchers did was they took the virus (Reproducing Ball that has knife-like proteins) and watched the virus infect human cells and how that happened (they looked it up and cited the original research and replicated it). COVID-19 gets in humans by using the spike to get into the cell, then it rapidly spreads using the human body.
Here is the cool part: Per this study, when CBDa and CBGa were utilized in the human cells, and when the virus attempted to stab the human cell, it could not because CBDa and CBGa hugged the spike protein, and it couldn’t get into the human cells.
What else the article DID say:
1) I want to point out first this is another study that says “long history of safe human use” is a win on its own.
2) CBDa and CBGa stopped COVID from entering a human skin cell
3) THCa was also found to bind to the proteins, I could not tell if THCa was not as successful at preventing COVID or if the researchers were prohibited from studying it, as this was a US study.
What this means: This is a great first step towards more research into whether cannabis can be used in viral prevention in the future or even be used as a curative medication.
Further studies may also show that cannabis has other legitimate uses beyond what we already know.
Now, I bet you have even more questions now and you are likely elated. Let me answer some very common questions:
Does this mean I can purchase any cannabis product and prevent COVID?
CBDa and CBGa were the only molecules researched (and maybe THCa). CBDa is the precursor to CBD, the same is true for CBGa. Now CBG is a newer discovery in cannabis. It is already proving to be potentially an even better cannabinoid perhaps than CBD alone.
So, while cannabis has been showing more and more therapeutic effects and potential we have no reason to believe that any cannabis can cure or prevent covid
Does this mean if I smoke a joint daily I will protect myself from COVID?
No. While cannabis has been showing more and more therapeutic effects and potential, we have no reason to believe that any cannabis alone can cure or prevent covid at this point. Keep doing all the regular recommend COVID precautions.
Can I depend on this alone to protect me from COVID?
Sorry->No. It is a nice supplement but at this time it should not be your only defense against covid. This is something you can use in addition to other mitigation techniques.
Can cannabis cure covid?
Nothing at this point and time can cure covid. Scientists and doctors still do not really understand COVID, long COVID, or future complications.
However, cannabis has a chance to be part of the solution if studies continue to show similar results on a larger scale in humans.
Can I use cannabis if I have COVID?
Yes, it cannot hurt and is safe. Try to avoid vaping or smoking. It is best not to agitate sick lungs.
I can’t find CBDa and CBGa what can I use instead?
Few producers in the industry have focused on CBG, and most of the focus has been on THC. A combination that is CBDa and CBGa is best. While not the exact cannabinoids used in the study, CBD/CBG are very close in structure- but with the acid chain missing. Both of these molecules showed a decrease in lung inflammation in a prior study, so again it can’t hurt, it may help, but keep taking regular precautions and follow your doctor’s treatment advice if you are diagnosed with COVID.
Are you sure the CBDa and CBGa parts of the study matter?
Yes. THCa also showed promise but was not reviewed more. More studies need to be conducted, at this point CBDa, CBGa, CBD, and CBG show a lot of promise, but the science is always changing rapidly.
Remember this was one study and we have other related studies showing similar things happening with cannabis and inflammation, the immune system, and other potential benefits of cannabis.
There are more Cannabis and COVID studies coming out so please follow and like for more!