Can cannabis be the answer?
The chemical compounds in question—cannabigerolic acid and cannabidinolic acid—are two cannabinoid acids that can bind onto the spike protein of the coronavirus. By being able to bind themselves on this specific protein, the virus was rendered unable to penetrate otherwise healthy cells and infect people.
The study was led by Richard van Breemen, a researcher from the Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center who explained that:
Orally bioavailable and with a long history of safe human use, these cannabinoids, isolated or in hemp extracts, have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2.
These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts. They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans.
Effective even against several mutations of the coronavirus
Most interestingly, researchers looked into how effective these compounds were against several mutations of the coronavirus. They found that against the Alpha and Beta variants they were successful in preventing infection onto humans. The lead researcher said:
These variants are well known for evading antibodies against early lineage SARS-CoV-2, which is obviously concerning given that current vaccination strategies rely on the early lineage spike protein as an antigen.
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.