As researchers struggle to find treatments for COVID-19, a variety of unique medicinal options have come to light. Perhaps the most intriguing one, as of late, is cannabis: A new study found that cannabis compounds may prevent a COVID-19 infection.
Published this month in the Journal of Natural Products, the study explored the properties of cannabis compounds from hemp (Cannabis sativa, specifically). Researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University explained that a COVID-19 virus replicates in the body by first binding to the surface of a human cell. Then, it enters the cell, where it manipulates the environment into making more of the virus.
The researchers theorized that if they could find a substance that blocks the virus from entering the cell, it would prevent serious illness and possibly prevent sickness altogether. The team zeroed in on natural substances, noting that natural products make up some of the most successful drugs and medications in pharmacology. In the end, the researchers chose hemp, because the plant produces so many unique compounds with beneficial properties. Also, previous studies were successful in using plant compounds to thwart other viruses.
After conducting a series of experiments with healthy cells, COVID-19, and cannabis compounds, the team discovered something impressive. Two types of cannabis compounds in the hemp — cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) — successfully prevented COVID-19 from entering the cells. The two acids were able to bind to virus, which hindered its ability to bind to the surface of cells.
Does this mean that smoking marijuana prevents COVID-19?
Now, we know what you all are thinking, and it’s not true: Smoking marijuana does not prevent COVID-19. Instead, the study suggests that hemp compounds may become a COVID-19 treatment in the near future.
This is exciting news, because Cannabis sativa seed oil is safe and already used for its health benefits. You may find it in skincare products like Kiehl’s, because it provides moisture and strengthens the skin’s natural barrier. In addition, Cannabis sativa seed oil capsules are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and many people take it for arthritis.
Of course, more research needs to be done. Also, cannabis compounds will never be a replacement for COVID-19 prevention measures, such as getting your vaccine, wearing a high-quality mask, and practicing social distancing. Still, it’s good to know that a safe and effective treatment may be out there!
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