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Cannabis Can Prevent COVID-19 Infections, New International Peer-Reviewed Study Discovers

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A new study has found at least two cannabis compounds that act as therapeutic agents to prevent coronavirus infections from occurring in the body – by stopping the virus from entering human cells.

The study is causing waves internationally, with the authors of the experiment arguing that compounds from the cannabis plant alongside proper vaccinations could be key to stemming the spread of the virus around the world, describing the compounds as “virus-neutralising”.

Researchers at the Oregon State University published ““Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants,” this week – you can find the study here.

Scientists found that two common cannabinoid acids – cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, also known as CBD – can actually bind with the spike protein found in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

In doing this, the cannabis compounds block any virus from entering human cells and subsequently infecting them.

This new find gives global researchers a potential new tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Screenshot via Oregan State University

Screenshot via Oregan State University

“With widespread use of cannabinoids, resistant variants could still arise, but the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment should create a more challenging environment with which SARS-CoV-2 must contend, reducing the likelihood of escape,” the study’s authors write.

The above diagram shows the process in a simple manner.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Natural Products, where researchers explained they were looking for a compound that would bind with the spike protein of the virus.

They used a technique known as affinity-selection mass spectrometry, and actually found a third compound that was also effective in blocking the coronavirus – THCA-A.

For those not aware, CBD and its associated compounds are commonly seen as the therapeutic side of cannabis, while THC is the psychoactive part that “gets you high”.

As such, THCA-A remains a restricted compound not readily available for study, so researchers weren’t able to look into it further.

Either way – these compounds will not be effective against COVID-19 if cannabis is being ingested via smoking, vaping or baking. To be effective in this regard, they need to be extracted directly from the hearty hemp plant.

However, researchers are positive and hopeful over these results, saying that it could potentially be used against other variants of the virus too.

“Our data show minimal impact of the variant lineages on the effectiveness of CBDA and CBGA, a trend that will hopefully extend to other existing and future variants,” they said. They hope to be able to administer the compounds orally, via a pill or liquid.

“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” Richard Van Breemen, first author on the study and Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, said.

While it is early days, Malta having just passed pioneering laws to regulate cannabis couldn’t have come at a better time.

Maybe it’s time for the government to set up a specific research lab looking into THCA-A now that the island has the framework for it…. especially if it helps the entire world get out of this seemingly never-ending pandemic, sooner rather than later.

Do you think cannabis could actually be useful in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus?

READ NEXT: WATCH: Fast Ferry Leaves Trail Of Black Smoke Along Sliema And St Julian's After Exhaust Pipe Damage

Johnathan is an award-winning Maltese journalist interested in social justice, politics, minority issues, music and food. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

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