OSU study finds hemp products can prevent COVID-19 infection

Credit: CNN

CORVALLIS, Ore. — A new study from Oregon State University suggests certain hemp compounds could help protect you from COVID-19.

A study led by Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, says hemp contains two cannabinoid acids that bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, the same protein that infects human cells with COVID-19. Once combined, the acids block the protein from infecting the rest of the body’s cells, essentially ridding the body from contact with the virus.

The compounds that help block the virus are cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, CBDA. The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that the cannabinoid acids bind to is the same protein that COVID-19 vaccines target in preventing the virus. The study also found the acids help prevent the delta and omicron variants as well.

“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” said van Breemen. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans.”

Hemp, known scientifically as Cannabis sativa, is different from THC and typical marijuana. Hemp extracts and compounds are added to a variety of products, such as cosmetics, body lotions, dietary supplements, and food.

“I don’t think the compounds in hemp are the answer to the pandemic, but rather part of the solution,” says Van Breemen.

The study says smoking cannabis does not offer protection from the virus, whereas certain CBD and hemp products might help.

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