Study Finds Cannabis Compounds Prevent Infection By Covid-19 Virus

by on January 12, 2022 · 9 comments

in Health

A Public Service Announcement

By A.J. Herrington / Forbes / Jan.11, 2022

Compounds in cannabis can prevent infection from the virus that causes Covid-19 by blocking its entry into cells, according to a study published this week by researchers affiliated with Oregon State University. A report on the research, “Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants,” was published online on Monday by the Journal of Natural Products.

The researchers found that two cannabinoid acids commonly found in hemp varietals of cannabis, cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, also known as CBDA, can bind to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. By binding to the spike protein, the compounds can prevent the virus from entering cells and causing infection, potentially offering new avenues to prevent and treat the disease.

“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,” the researchers wrote in an abstract of the study.

The study was led by Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center in the College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute, in collaboration with scientists at the Oregon Health & Science University. Van Breeman said that the cannabinoids studied are common and readily available.

“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” van Breemen said, as quoted by local media. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans.”

Cannabinoids Effective Against New Variants

Van Breemen added that CBDA and CBGA blocked the action of emerging variants of the virus that causes Covid-19, saying that “our research showed the hemp compounds were equally effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant B.1.351, first detected in South Africa.”

The spike protein is the same part of the virus target by Covid-19 vaccines and antibody therapies. In addition to the spike protein, SARS-CoV-2 has three more structural proteins as well as 16 nonstructural proteins and several compounds van Breemen characterized as “accessory” proteins, all of which are potential targets for drugs developed to prevent Covid-19.

“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,” van Breeman said. “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.”

Although further research is needed, van Breemen noted that study shows the cannabinoids could be developed into drugs to prevent or treat Covid-19.

“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” van Breemen noted. “They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2. CBDA and CBGA 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.”

Van Breeman also noted that the research showed the cannabinoids were effective against new variants of the virus, which he said are “one of the primary concerns” in the pandemic for health officials and clinicians.

“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,” said van Breemen. “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.”

The researcher added that “resistant variants could still arise amid widespread use of cannabinoids but that the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment should make for a much more challenging environment for SARS-CoV-2.”

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie January 12, 2022 at 11:28 am

Wouldn’t that be the ironies of all ironies if pot ended up preventing covid (I’m not saying it does)? All the anti-hype against it, all the jail and prison time from pot busts, the current raids on dispensaries, all the continuation of the Great Prohibition – and now maybe this! What a freaking laugh – it makes me feel like lighting up.


Bob Edwards January 12, 2022 at 12:21 pm

Plus, even if you get Covid, if you smoke enough you might forget you had it.


sealintheselkirks January 12, 2022 at 3:59 pm

As a medical grower I just started laughing like hell while reading this! So not only does the masking up whenever out in public help along with avoidance of crowds or close contact in badly ventilated rooms (difficult being winter snowy that so far has hit -12 to -16’F here). And that last makes it VERY hard for a musician and martial arts teacher, believe me!

Being vaccinated and boosted of course is good; and now the bud I smoke can block the virus from locking into my cell structure by binding up the spike protein. Who woulda thunk it? Does this mean heavy smokers are nearly immune??? Nah, it can’t be that simple could it?

It must be that one of the many gods of our species is trying to send the rabid Prohibitionists and so-called ‘drug warriors’ a very ironic joke-on-them. And isn’t that going to piss off those who still want cannabis to be at least a prison offense if not execution-able? Nothing will change their mind about the Devil’s Weed I’m sorry to say.

Like anti-vax/maskholes or Global Warming deniers, they’d rather die.

I absolutely know the homemade topical CBD paste helps control lower back pain and ease the stiffness by keeping the muscles from locking up. And that eating half a peanut butter cookie edible will kick the pain meter from a 8 or 9 down to a manageable 2-3 on those days that I just overdo it…like yesterday digging the normal snow load off the weakest section of my 2-story roof before the supersaturation by wildly not-normal rain caves it in right where I’m sitting (yes it’s raining 40 air miles south of Canada in the mountains in January you global warming deniers!!).

And cannabis worked for Crone’s Disease as my neighbor got off the required meds with all their side effects when he started smoking small amounts daily.

Washington is the only legal cannabis state people cannot grow their own in. WA did not legalize that as it would take away from the tax revenues the State wants to collect from heavily regulated commercial sales.

A new line on the state certificate says I am now specifically prohibited from GIVING AWAY any excess to people who live in towns that have banned medical growing in their boundaries which is most small towns in the state it seems like. Though liquor stores and churches are just fine.

And WA medical dispensaries were all closed, too.

But now I hold in glass jars another helpful key to survival in a pandemic. It must be the god Loki the Trickster! Vaccination, masks, and…weed!



Judy Swink January 13, 2022 at 12:52 pm

The article, and the study, are specific to CBD and not to smoked marijuana. The article also leaves out an important qualifier that’s in the NIH study linked here in this post, that it is studied as a COMPLEMENT to vaccines and not an alternative to vaccination. I’m concerned that, as indicated in previous comments on this post, the Forbes article will be interpreted to mean a) that smoking pot for the THC will work the same as CBD, and 2) who needs a vaccination if you smoke enough pot.
As a complement to vaccines, small-molecule therapeutic agents are needed to treat or prevent infections by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its variants, which cause COVID-19. Affinity selection-mass spectrometry was used for the discovery of botanical ligands to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Cannabinoid acids from hemp (Cannabis sativa) were found to be allosteric as well as orthosteric ligands with micromolar affinity for the spike protein. In follow-up virus neutralization assays, cannabigerolic acid and cannabidiolic acid prevented infection of human epithelial cells by a pseudovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and prevented entry of live SARS-CoV-2 into cells. Importantly, cannabigerolic acid and cannabidiolic acid were equally effective against the SARS-CoV-2 alpha variant B.1.1.7 and the beta variant B.1.351. 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.”


Guy January 14, 2022 at 9:22 am

If I understand the study correctly the cannabinoid that helps to prevent the viral infection is in part CBDA ,which is derived from the plant before the maturity of the bud ,at least that is how I understand it .There so many different components to the plant .We only have started to research the plant for all it’s properties.


sealintheselkirks January 13, 2022 at 1:20 pm

Judy, in these times of serious stress from so many directions a little humor (and a better read-through of what I wrote) would do you well.

As a medical grower who continues to learn about the plants in my garden and the properties of different strains, there are some that are extremely high in CBDs which is of course in the smoke you inhale that are absorbed directly into the lining/blood vessels of the lungs. Or baked into edibles. Or used in a tincture. Or cooked down into CBD topical paste that is also quite edible (using 100% organic coconut oil) that stirs into your morning dose of coffee or tea quite easily blending in with little or no aftertaste.

I doubt anyone reading my comment or this article would stop masking up, refuse to be vaccinated, or run off to the nearest bar to breathe heavily in the faces of the partying patrons because of this article’s findings. At least I would HOPE the people reading the RAG have that much sense! I expect most of them do from what I’ve seen over the years being the intelligent bunch of folks they are.

The right wingers, primarily alcohol drinkers not cannabis users, are probably not going to rush out and buy CBD oil any time soon, but this article continues to give reason to legalize this long-used human-cultivated plant for another medical purpose. The more it is studied, the more good seems to come from it.



The queen is a lizard January 14, 2022 at 9:37 am

This shit has been debunked so many times it’s amazing. Do 5 minutes of research on who wrote it before you publish it the Rag please.


Frank Gormlie January 14, 2022 at 10:03 am

I did and it looked pretty solid. BTW, did you read it?


sealintheselkirks January 14, 2022 at 5:52 pm

If queenly lizard did, it was only with blinders on. A bit of a hostile response there, ya know? That way you don’t have to actually pay attention and think about how these conclusions came about…

queenly lizard: wouldn’t it be nice if the DEA didn’t have plenipotentiary powers when it comes to the scientific study of cannabis? A scientist has to get specific approval from that corrupt agency beforehand. From other articles it seems to be dang hard since, you know, cannabis busts are still about 80% of their arrest totals…and they get to keep everything. What a racket! Sort of like regular cops and forfeiture but on a much larger scale…Don’t have to prove nothing, or give it back even if they are never convicted. Just try to get your house and car back. AHahahah!

But my numbers might be outdated by a couple years. Might be higher or lower percentage of arrests now.

Can’t get someone to understand something when it comes out of their wallet…boy does that sound familiar. A lot of that going on, eh?



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