U.S. researchers have found that cannabinoid acids extracted from cannabis sativa prevented infection of human epithelial cells. They conclude cannabinoids may also have the potential to treat COVID-19.
Using a pseudovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, the scientists found that cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) effectively blocked infection from the alpha (B.1.1.7) and beta (B.1.351) variants.
The researchers are affiliated with the Linus Pauling Institute in Corvallis, Oregon and Molecular Microbiology & Immunology in Portland, Oregon.
“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” Richard van Breemen, principal investigator at the Linus Pauling Institute, said. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans,” he added in an interview with Oregon State University.
The research was published in the Journal of Natural Products, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
The scientists noted that the cannabinoids are orally bioavailable.
In October 2021, Italian researchers found that cannabidiol has the potential to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-induced cytotoxicity and inflammation. That research was featured in the journal Phytotherapy Research.