CBD and Covid: New scientific study identifies CBD-A and CBG-A as two compounds that, together, are able to prevent COVID-19 from entering human cells.
Oregon State University research has identified certain hemp compounds through the chemical screening technique which have shown the ability to prevent the virus that leads to COVID-19 from entering inside human cells. Hemp, known as Cannabis sativa, is a source of food, fiber, and animal feed. Different hemp compounds and extracts are used in body lotions, cosmetics, food, and dietary supplements.
Richard van Breeman, who led the study at Oregon State, and collaborators have found that two of the cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein hence blocking a crucial step in the process the virus employs to cause infection in people. The compounds are CBG-A (cannabigerol acid) and CBD-A (cannabidiolic acid) whereas the same drug target i.e., the spike protein is targeted which has been used in COVID-19 antibody therapy and vaccines. These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans. They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2. CBD-A and CBG-A are produced by the hemp plant as precursors to CBD and CBG, which are familiar to many consumers. However, they are different from the acids and are not contained in hemp products.
According to Van Breemen, these cannabinoid acids are found in high quantities in hemp and numerous hemp extracts. They are not considered as controlled substances like the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana i.e., THC. It has a good safety profile among humans. Their research has also exhibited that the hemp compounds were uniformly effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including variant B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, and variant B.1.351, first identified in South Africa.
The potential target for antiviral agents is any part of the infection and replication cycle and the connection of the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein to human cell surface receptor ACE2 is a crucial step in that cycle. 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. Besides, it has also been proven that utilizing compounds that inhibit virus-receptor interaction has been beneficial for patients with hepatitis, HIV-1, and other viral infections.
In this study, scientists from Oregon State University detected a pair of cannabinoid acids through a mass spectrometry-based screening technique which was found in Breemen’s laboratory. This new method has been explained in an earlier study to find drugs that would target the spike protein of SARS-Co-V-2. In the later research, lab tests showed that cannabigerol acid and cannabidiolic acid prevented infection of human epithelial cells by the coronavirus spike protein and prevented the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into cells. Affinity selection mass spectrometry, which is abbreviated as AS-MS, involves incubating a drug target like the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with a mixture of possible ligands such as a botanical extract, in this case, hemp extract.
According to this study, resistant variants of SARS-CoV-2 can still arise but the combination of vaccination and these two cannabinoid acids can pose a rigorous environment to SARS-CoV-2.