Barrier gestures, vaccines, confinements… The Covid-19 seems to have the best of everything as the epidemic has been on the rise since the emergence of the Omicron variant. A new scientific discovery could change the game. Two compounds present in hemp –cannabigerolic acid, known as CBG-A, and cannabidiolic acid, known as CBD-A- are said to be able to prevent the Covid-19 enter healthy cells, according to a study by researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) and Oregon Health and Science University. Even better, these non-psychoactive acids would also be effective on Alpha and Beta variants.
The study, published Monday, January 10 in The Journal of Natural Products, looked at several plant extracts. Red clover, wild yam, hops and liquorice have been closely scrutinized to observe their potential affinity with the spike protein of Covid-19. The latter is a microscopic structure protruding from the body of the virus, featuring chemical receptors that have evolved to bind to the outer parts of human cells. If another chemical binds to these receptors, it can block them and thus render them ineffective.
The results of the study allowed scientists to identify that hemp was the herb that worked best to block SARS-Cov-2 spike protein receptors. In particular, cannabigerolic acids and cannabidiolic acids play the best role of barrier.
Abundant and safe compounds for humans
CBG-A and CBD-A are naturally present and abundant in hemp and hemp extracts, reports lead study author Richard van Breemen of OSU’s Global Hemp Innovation Center. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and they have a good safety profile in humans”, he adds. However, these compounds will not be able to be consumed through traditional methods of taking cannabis. These two acids will need to be harvested separately in order to make a specific drug.
It is during the growth of the cannabis plant that CBG-A takes shape, while CBD-A is often converted in CBD, the key ingredient in recreational and medicinal cannabis. “These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans”, details Richard van Breemen. These two acids have been very effective against the Alpha and Beta variants of the coronavirus; scientists believe they may also work against Omicron and future mutations.