According to a study from researchers at Oregon State University, cannabis compounds show the ability to prevent the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells.
The study was led by Richard van Breeman, a researcher with Oregon State's Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute. The study was published in the Journal of Nature Products.
The two compounds commonly found in hemp, called cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, were identified during a chemical screening as having the potential to prevent coronavirus. In the study, the compounds bound to spike proteins found on the virus and blocked a step the pathogen uses to infect people.
Dr Nathan Newman, the lead physician at Santa Monica Urgent Care, spoke to FOX 11 about the study.
"The study out of Oregon is showing there are a few compounds in cannabis that can bind to the spike protein of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and when ingested, there is a possibility that it can block that spike protein from binding to sites in a human host," he said.
Newman pointed out how the study shows the cannabis must be ingested in edible form.
"Those proteins cannot be heated. In other words, smoked or heated through a vaporizer, a vape pen. It would inactivate those compounds and make them unable to bind to the spike protein," he said.
Newman said the studies are in vitro only, and more research and studies need to be conducted with humans before believing cannabis can prevent coronavirus.
"Right now, the studies are just in vitro studies. There's nothing done experimentally in people, and if an individual wants to use cannabis for whatever reason they want to use it, don't expect to get any benefit in preventing a COVID-19 infection. The number-one best way to prevent a COVID-19 infection, especially a serious one, is to get vaccinated and if it's been a while since you've been vaccinated, get your booster, it's going to give you an extra level of protection," said Newman.
Alex, a budtender at Exotix, a cannabis shop in Hollywood, said she has heard about studies suggesting cannabis helps with COVID-19.
"People have been coming in more for CBD-related products. Some people do say often how they hear sativa weed helps prevent COVID and stuff like that," Alex said.
The researchers tested the compounds’ effect against alpha and beta variants of the virus in a laboratory.
The study didn’t involve giving the supplements to people or comparing infection rates in those who use the compounds to those who don’t.
Hemp is a source of fibre, food and animal feed, and extracts are commonly added to cosmetics, body lotions, dietary supplements and food.