Cannabis and hemp have been used for centuries to treat symptoms of many different illnesses. Cannabinoids are compounds found in the trichome glands of cannabis plants, including hemp, that acts on cannabinoid receptors in cells. These compounds have been studied beginning in the early 1900s and more rigorously in recent years.
With the recent outbreak of the virus, scientists are looking for new ways to combat it including researching cannabis compounds. Due to several recent studies, it is believed that some hemp cannabinoids may help with covid-19, a common viral infection.
In this post, we will look to clarify the recent studies’ conclusions and what these mean for your wellness. As more studies continue to look into the topic, we will seek to update and add new info as it arises.
Hype Starts for Using Cannabis Compounds With Covid After Study Suggests Positive Effects
Last month, a Forbes article titled “Study Finds Cannabis Compounds Prevent Infection By Covid-19 Virus” created a lot of buzz around the cannabis & hemp industry. In that article, they take a look at a study done by researchers affiliated with Oregon State University led by Richard van Breemen. (1) They found that certain cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, potentially blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people. As stated in the study,
“Any part of the infection and replication cycle is a potential target for antiviral intervention, and the connection of the spike protein’s receptor-binding domain to the human cell surface receptor ACE2 is a critical step in that cycle. That means cell entry inhibitors, like the acids from hemp, could be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing virus particles from infecting human cells. They bind to the spike proteins so those proteins can’t bind to the ACE2 enzyme, which is abundant on the outer membrane of endothelial cells in the lungs and other organs.”
The compounds highlighted in the research are cannabigerolic acid or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, CBDA, and the spike protein are the same target used in COVID-19 vaccines and other antibody therapies.
“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” van Breemen said.
What Do Acidic Cannabinoids Do?
Acidic cannabinoids are cannabinoids that are found on raw plants in the trichome glands. This acidity makes them less effective in binding to cannabinoid receptors and therefore less psychoactive. The process of decarboxylation (heat) is so critical to changing CBDa to its non-acidic form CBD for example. For edible products, this is an important step known for its activation.
CBD is also thought to reduce some of the other negative effects that people can experience from THC, such as anxiety.
The cannabinoids in hemp, both acidic and non-acidic forms, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate a variety of physiological processes.
Easy Ways to Incorporate CBDa and CBGa In Your Diet
CBDa and CBGa are two types of oil-soluble cannabinoids that can be absorbed by the body. One of the easiest and most effective ways to incorporate these compounds is with whole-plant full-spectrum tinctures. A high-quality CBD tincture will have minor cannabinoids in its acid forms which may help your wellness.
Our Whole Plant™ GO!, SOCIAL, and RELAX CBD Tinctures have several minor cannabinoids and one may be the right fit for you.
Could Cannabinoid Acids Be Effective Against New Variants?
According to van Breemen, “Our data show the minimal impact of the variant lineages on the effectiveness of CBDA and CBGA, a trend that will hopefully extend to other existing and future variants. With the widespread use of cannabinoids, resistant variants could still arise, but the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment should create a more challenging environment with which SARS-CoV-2 must contend, reducing the likelihood of escape”.
It appears cannabinoid acids, CBDa and CBGa, may play an important role in blocking the proliferation of COVID-19 as they can provide resistance to future variants.
He further explains, “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.” Thankfully, these compounds are found in many broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD products all around the US and in many parts of the world making them easily accessible for many.
What Else Does the Study Suggest?
The last component of the study compared the presence of complex mixes versus individual compounds. The study explains, “it remains possible that multiple cannabinoids in complex mixtures from plant extracts could act independently to inhibit SARS-CoV-2, potentially leading to enhanced effectiveness when compared to individual compounds.”
This shows an idea that merits further testing, do the whole-plant full-spectrum extracts outperform compared to isolated compounds. In numerous studies on CBD, full-spectrum has outperformed compared with CBD isolate for greater relief with several conditions. Next, we will take a look at another study that adds more depth to the conversation.
Another Article, Another Study “Cannabidiol Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Replication” Summary
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid that has been found to play a role in the treatment of many illnesses. CBD, which does not cause the high associated with THC, is one of the most studied cannabinoids. It has been found to help treat numerous conditions in people who are suffering.
According to a recently published study from 2022, “Our results suggest that CBD and its metabolite 7-OH-CBD can block SARS-CoV-2 infection at early and even later stages of infection.” and continues with, “CBD acts after viral entry, inhibiting viral gene expression and reversing many effects of SARS-CoV-2 on host gene transcription.”
It seems that the study “Cannabidiol Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Replication through induction of the host ER stress and innate immune responses” from researchers affiliated with The University of Chicago was the first to show that CBD inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro. Phytocannabinoids are continuing to play an important role in new health research.
What Are Hemp Cannabinoids and Phytocannabinoids?
Hemp cannabinoids are potent compounds known formally as phytocannabinoids, meaning they are found in plants. They are active compounds in hemp oil that have been shown to have a wide range of medical benefits and now they have been shown to have potential with the latest health crisis.
The most well-known parts of the hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa L.) are tetrahydrocannabinol THC and CBD cannabidiol. The word cannabinoid refers to every chemical substance, regardless of structure or origin, that joins the cannabinoid receptors of the body and brain and that have similar effects to those produced by anandamide, an endocannabinoid.
Cannabidiol Going A Step Further Than Acidic Cannabinoids
Once more, the cannabidiol may have an ability that far exceeds the other cannabinoids, although further research must be concluded to access it completely. As stated in the abstract of the study, “In matched groups of human patients from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative, CBD (100 mg/ml oral solution per medical records) had a significant negative association with positive SARS-CoV-2 tests. This study highlights CBD as a potential preventative agent for early-stage SARS-CoV-2 infection and merits future clinical trials.”
Even more insight, according to researchers, “Importantly, CBD also suppresses cytokine activation in response to viral infection, reducing the likelihood of immune cell recruitment and subsequent cytokine storms within the lungs and other affected tissues. These results complement previous findings suggesting that CBD suppresses cytokine production in recruited immune cells such as macrophages (31). Thus, CBD has to the potential not only to act as an antiviral agent at early stages of infection but also to protect the host against an overactive immune system at later stages.”
This is a truly outstanding discovery that will be able to impact the well-being of those that are suffering internally. Even better yet, it is fairly common and known to be safe to many users that could use more prevention.
They go on to suggest the extra advantage of using CBD as a preventative agent against SARS-CoV-2 stating, “CBD as a food additive with a THC content less than 0.3% is widely available without restricted access. With proper formulation, quality control, and delivery, CBD could be used prophylactically in contrast to recent anti-viral drugs. Multiple means of CBD ingestion are possible, including the potential for inhalation and nasal delivery. CBD blocks viral replication after entry into cells and, thus, is likely to be effective against viral variants with mutant spike proteins.”
List Of Prominent Hemp Cannabinoids Showing Results
- CBD (cannabidiol)
- CBDa (cannabidiolic acid)
- CBGa (cannabigerolic acid)
When Do Clinical Trials on Coronavirus-Blocking (Cannabis Sativa) Hemp Compounds Begin?
The study finally concludes by stating, “Future studies to explore the optimal means of CBD delivery to patients along with clinical trials will be needed to further evaluate the promise of CBD as a therapeutic to block SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our animal studies provide pre-clinical support for evaluation of CBD as an anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapeutic agent in clinical trials.”
This suggests that we will be seeing more updates soon and a bigger push for clinical studies as well. It seems this may be as soon as this year, as we will continue to keep a lookout for any news, especially from the original hype maker, Forbes.
How to Use Cannabidiol with Covid?
Several methods for including CBD into your wellness routine exist. Products come in many forms including hemp extract tinctures, CBD topicals, whole-plant CBD flower, and CBD edibles. Since covid is believed to impact on a cellular level, it is better to ingest compounds for absorption into the cell best.
Full-spectrum hemp extracts and CBD edibles are excellent ways to get the benefits from CBD as well as minor cannabinoids. Overall, due to the entourage effect, an effect where compounds work better when they are combined versus isolated, it is best to get whole-plant-derived products.
In conclusion, it is important to be knowledgeable about the role of CBD as a potential treatment or prevention for Covid. In order to better understand this, there should be further research done on the effects of CBD on Covid.
Research can also consist of studies that investigate how CBD could potentially be used as an adjuvant therapy alongside other treatments. It is important to note that more research is needed before any strong conclusions can be drawn. To get the wellness benefits of CBD, visit your local store, shop online, or check out our blogs for more information about how CBD can help you lead a healthier life.
- van Breemen RB, Muchiri RN, Bates TA, et al. Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants. J Nat Prod. 2022;85(1):176-184. doi:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00946
- Cannabidiol inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication through induction of the host ER stress and innate immune responses. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abi6110