Cannabinoids and COVID – The internet is a-buzz following a few recently published studies suggesting that certain hemp compounds might block SARS-CoV-2 infection. Importantly, both studies took place in labs, which are far from approved human trials. Nonetheless, these findings hold exciting potential in our battle against COVID and its variants. Here’s what we know so far.
Cannabinoids and COVID: What Research Shows
Researchers at Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center published a study earlier this month with some interesting findings. Specifically, they found that two hemp-based cannabinoids, CBDa and CBGa, bind to coronavirus spike proteins thereby blocking the virus from penetrating human cells.
To conduct the study, researchers exposed the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to various botanical extracts including wild yam, red clover, hops, licorice, and cannabis. In doing, they found that CBDa and CBGa, both non-intoxicating hemp-based cannabinoids, block against COVID and two of its variants. Interestingly, they also found that licochalcone A, a licorice compound, also binds to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, though the team requires more funding to investigate further.
In another study published on January 12 of this year, researchers at the University of Waterloo’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences found that CBD increased kidney cell immunity thereby improving its ability to detect and destroy COVID genes. Notably, this was also a lab study and has not been peer-reviewed.
Important Considerations Regarding These Findings
Before we go any further, it’s important to highlight how far we are from understanding the implications of this research. These studies are in their early stages and far from conclusive. Essentially, they put some stuff in petri dishes then watched the action under a microscope. Obviously, humans are much more complicated than petri dishes, with a whole network of agents attempting teamwork. Remember that these studies require substantial peer review, so we must be careful not to overinflate findings or spread misinformation.
Having said that, we do know that cannabis compounds are safe to consume, having been part of human diets, rituals, and holistic medicines for centuries. As such, many consumers are more than ready to give it a go and hope for the best.
Acidic Versus Non-Acidic Cannabinoids
Importantly, the Oregon study found that raw cannabinoids held the highest affinity to COVID protein receptors. To be clear, raw, or acidic cannabinoids still contain their carboxyl atom (hence the “a” in the chemical’s abbreviation). What’s more, this atom can alter cannabinoid interaction, including cannabinoid interaction with viruses and other receptor cells.
Often, hemp processors remove this atom through a process called “decarboxylation,” which also occurs when someone smokes, vaporizes, or otherwise heats cannabinoid-containing products.
Notably, consumers often prefer decarboxylated cannabinoid products, which may be due to a more thorough understanding of decarbed compounds. However, recent research has sparked a newfound interest in acidic, raw hemp cannabinoid products. Finding raw cannabinoid distributors, on the other hand, might still be a bit behind.
Where to Find the Best CBDa and CBGa Supplier
There is an exploding interest in these hemp cannabinoids. As such, many hemp businesses are searching for the best CBDa and CBGa suppliers.
Notably, CBGa is the precursor to all other cannabinoids. As cannabis plants develop, CBGa transforms into other, more common compounds like CBDa and THCa. As such, finding farmers who focus on CBGa is rare – most prefer to let their plants develop a bit further before harvesting.
Fortunately, VCM farmers have a special knack for CBG and CBD cultivation. We grow select cultivars specially bred to produce high CBG hemp flowers then process and preserve them in both raw and decarboxylated form. One of our most exciting new products, the PGF powder called “Cannabinoid Delight” includes precisely calculated cannabinoids CBD, CBDa, CBG, and CBGa at a ratio of 1:1:1:1. It is our most diverse cannabinoid blend available and is specially designed for well-rounded, efficient absorption.
Final Thoughts About Cannabinoids and Covid
We admit, the two recent studies that suggest cannabinoids might block COVID infection are pretty exciting. However, they are certainly not conclusive. As such, we cannot recommend that anyone take hemp cannabinoids to treat or prevent COVID. We can say that hemp continues to dazzle us with its potential, and we’re honored to have a front seat.
Abby is a freelance cannabis writer and Founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace and training platform designed to connect cannabis creatives with businesses that need their services. Learn more at CannabisContent.net