A 1938 issue of Popular Mechanics Magazine praised hemp, a form of cannabis, calling it “the new billion-dollar crop,” adding that more than 25,000 products can be produced from the fibrous plant, including food, fuel, clothing, cordage, and even dynamite. By now, just about everyone knows that the cannabis plant has promising medical potential to treat various ailments, especially seizure disorders. Who would have ever thought that cannabis could be a potent weapon in the arsenal to prevent the spread of Covid-19?
That’s what a study released Friday by Oregon State University researchers suggests. The study indicates that compounds in cannabis sativa may stop the coronavirus from entering human cells. Conducted by the university’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, under the direction of Richard van Breeman, the study found that “a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people,” according to a media advisory released by Oregon State.
The acids used in COVID-19 antibody therapy and vaccines are the same as the cannabinoid acids found in weed and were found to be just as effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, according to researchers. The acids were also effective against the alpha and beta variants.
But don’t rush out to hotbox weed in your car or place a nug behind your facemask just yet. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans,” the release said. And more research is required before cannabis treatments for Covid become a reality.
Breeman says that utilizing compounds that prevent virus interceptor interaction has been effective in helping patients with different viral infections, including hepatitis and HIV-1.
While the discovery that these compounds in cannabis have an uncanny ability to bind to the spike protein that enables novel coronavirus to invade human cells and spread quickly, there is zero indication that smoking or ingesting ganja has any covid prevention effect.
So keep that N95 mask on when out in public, wash your hands frequently, and follow the covid prevention protocols of healthcare professionals for your safety and the safety of those around you.
Vivian McPeak is a Seattle based social justice activist, media personality, and writer. Vivian is the president of Seattle Events, a Non-Profit Organization, producer of the Seattle HEMPFEST®, the world’s largest annual cannabis policy reform rally. The recipient of the High Times Magazine 2012 Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award and DOPE Magazine 2016 Emery Award for lifetime achievement, and in 2016 he was named one of the “50 Most Influential People” by Seattle Magazine. Vivian has appeared on numerous television and cable news networks, including FOX News, CNN, & NBC. McPeak is the host of Hempresent, a weekly radio podcast on Cannabis Radio with listeners on multiple continents.