Since the pandemic started, we’ve been reading articles about CBD and COVID-19 almost every week. We’re used to reading how CBD can apparently remedy a plethora of medical issues, however, we take these articles with a pinch of salt. They rarely have real medical backing to them, and when you dig deep, you can usually find a group that commissioned the article for economic gain.
We’re excited to write this article because it’s our first time covering COVID-19 and CBD, and if CBD helps with fighting COVID-19. The trigger point that caused us to bring CBD and COVID-19 up to our blog readers was new medical research coming out earlier this month (January) from the University of Chicago.
Although we’ll be presenting medical research, accompanied by sources, it’s important to place weight on how early this research is. We’ve looked into the quality of the tests, and they are suitable for discussion, but they are by no means conclusive medical tests. Unfortunately, the findings in this article are not a blessing to smoke CBD flowers everyday until the pandemic is over! However, research is showing us that if taken in the correct way/quantity, CBD might reduce the severity of COVID-19 infection and perhaps even reduce the spread.
The Most Recent Research Into Fighting COVID-19 With CBD
On Jan 20 2022, researchers at the University of Chicago published a medical paper titled, “Cannabidiol inhibits SARS-COV-2 replication through induction of the host ER stress and innate immune responses”. In the paper, scientists discuss their findings after running tests on humans, not animals, to identify any benefits from taking CBD to treat COVID19. Their findings suggested that human beings who are taking very high doses of CBD were much less likely to contract COVID-19.
In the “discussion” section of the paper (page 8), they write “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.”
These statements are all very new, and further information will help us understand more about the parts that seem vague such as size, frequency of dose etc. One thing that was mentioned by the researchers in this paper that excites us about any positive news coming from CBD is how accessible CBD now is. In most parts of the world, CBD products with a range of minor cannabinoids are available over the counter, or online. If the research we've been looking at takes off, it would be a very positive step in treatment options for COVID-19 as there are very few phylactical drug options for preventing COVID -19.
Another Successful Medical Study Into Cannabinoids Treating COVID-19
The medical paper published by the scientists from the University of Chicago that looked into the potential for CBD to block coronavirus compounds from entering human cells was built off of some research that came in early this month. 10 days before, on Jan 10, 2022, Richard Van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Centre, came out with some significant CBD & COVID-19 findings. His paper was titled “Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-COV-2 and the Emerging Variants”.
Breemen wrote this paper with a robust list of other qualified professionals, to discover that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, significantly dropping the risk of viral infection in people. Cannabinoid acids were identified to be of potential interest in lowering COVID-19 transmission. It sounds like something that might be hard to offer people, but these acidic cannabinoids are fairly simple for good manufacturers to make - The Goods have a range of CBDa Diamonds that are made of pure acidic CBD.
The pair of acidic cannabinoids Breemen and collaborators found to be of interest are CBGa and CBDa. Both these cannabinoids are relatively easy to produce as there exist cannabis genetics that will yield high levels of each cannabinoid and plenty of extractors that could achieve a high purity concentrate. They are also not controlled substances in most parts of the world despite being cannabis derived. It must be said that not all CBDa or CBGa will be equal and it is important to trust in a source that understands cannabis to a chemical level. For all things extracts we trust The Goods and hopefully they’ll add to their acidic cannabinoid range so we can offer CBGa, not just CBDa.
What Are The Studies Saying About COVID-19 Variants & Cannabinoids
One thing that concerns many of us is the rapid pace at which COVID-19 mutates and presents new variants. Already, we are seeing some variants of COVID-19 showing vaccine resistance, which is deeply troubling. It took a long time to produce the vaccines that exist to day to fight a range of COVID-19 variants that is unfortunately increasing. For this reason, it is important for us to determine if the recent findings regarding the potential for CBD and acidic cannabinoids to reduce the risk of infection relate to all variants.
When speaking with Oregon State University, Breemen stated, “And 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.”. These two variants that Breemen lists out are some of the most prevalent, otherwise known as the alpha and beta variant.
He continues to say “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.
Breemen thinks that there is a risk that future COVID-19 variants could be resistant to acidic cannabinoids, however with all the treatment options that are now available compared to the start of the pandemic, we are better equipped to fight off these new variants.
How Did Scientists Discover A Relationship Between CBD and COVID-19?
Breemen discovered the potential uses of acidic cannabinoids in preventing COVID-19 infection whilst conducting a mass spectrometry-based screening technique to analyse a range of natural supplements, including red clover, hops and yam. Breemen has been performing mass spectrometry with his own proprietary method on other compounds in an effort to find drugs that could target the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and has written previous papers on this.
His more recent findings have shown that CBDa and CBGa have the potential to prevent infection of human epithelial cells by the COVID-19 spike protein and prevent the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into human cells. He is placing heavy emphasis on the potential for CBDa and CBGa in reducing infection rates due to their long history of safe use in humans, and abundance of access.
Breemen conducted affinity selection mass spectrometer (AS-MS) on a range of natural compounds, which involves incubating the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with a mixture of possible ligands - a small molecule that binds to a larger molecule, in this case hemp extract.
Breemen says, “We identified several cannabinoid ligands and ranked them by affinity to the spike protein”. “The two cannabinoids with the highest affinities for the spike protein were CBDa and CBGa, and they were confirmed to block infection”.
Final Thoughts On CBD, Cannabinoids and COVID-19
We’ve held off from discussing the potentials for CBD, and other minor cannabinoids to offer potential assistance with the COVID-19 virus. This is partly due to the legislative impositions that make it difficult for us as a cannabis group to discuss the potentials for products we sell to offer therapeutic benefits. However, the findings of Breeman and several other scientists looking at cannabis compounds and their effect on this virus are providing us with the medical papers needed to present you with the facts. Nothing has been fully concluded yet, however these findings are a big deal and could be the start in us understanding how cannabinoids could be used in viral situations.