In medicine, cannabis has so far been used primarily for the treatment of pain and as an antispasmodic drug for multiple sclerosis. Now, hemp could also make a decisive contribution to the fight against the coronavirus.
Cannabis is made up of various ingredients such as cannabinoids, essential oils, and proteins. Of particular importance are cannabinoids. They include the well-known components tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is best known for its intoxicating effects. CBD is said to have anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory effects. It is now found in many everyday products, such as chewing gum, face cream or CBD oil.1 In medicine, cannabis is gaining more and more importance due to its different modes of action. A new study by researchers at Oregon State University has now found that cannabis can protect against Covid disease and shorten its course.
Cannabis prevents corona infection
According to the study published in the “Journal of Nature Products”, the components of cannabis can prevent the coronavirus from entering human cells. The ingredients cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) are responsible for this. They are the precursors of cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidiol (CBD). The lab study found that CBGA and CBDA bind to advanced coronavirus proteins. In turn, the spike proteins cannot bind to the body’s own enzyme ACE2. The pathogen is therefore unable to infect humans with the virus.2 “This means that inhibitors of entry into cells, such as acids in hemp, could be used to prevent infection with Sars-CoV-2,” study director Richard van Breemen said in a report. Oregon State University press release.3
Also interesting: the active ingredient in cannabis is said to be 30 times more effective than aspirin
But cannabis can’t just help prevent corona infection. It can also prevent viruses from multiplying in the human body. Plus, its ingredients can dramatically shorten corona disease. So far, scientists have tested the process with alpha and beta versions of the virus. Study leader Richard van Breemen: “Our data shows that CBDA and CBGA are effective against the two variants examined, and we hope that the trend will extend to other existing and future variants.”3
What are the benefits of using cannabis as a medicine?
Unlike THC, the ingredients CBGA and CBDA are not psychoactive. They are also widespread and readily available, the researchers say. “These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” van Breemen said. “They have the potential to both prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 infection.” However, the study leader also points out that CBGA and CBDA can only be considered as a possible protection against corona infection in combination with vaccination.
- Patient information. Cannabis as a medicine? Federal Medical Association and National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. (consulted on 13.1.22)
- Richard B. van Breemen, Ruth N. Muchiri, Timothy A. Bates, et. Al. (2022). Cannabinoids block cellular entry of SARS-CoV-2 and emerging variants. Journal of Natural Products.
- Oregon State University. Research in the state of Oregon shows that compounds in hemp prevent the coronavirus from entering human cells. (aufgerufen am 13.1.22)