Compounds in cannabis are able to block SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from entering cells, according to a study published this week by researchers at Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Science University.
The compounds found in hemp — cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) — were identified during a chemical screening effort as having potential to combat coronavirus, the study said.
In the study — published Monday in the Journal of Nature Products — the researchers found that the cannabis compounds bound to spike proteins on the virus, and blocked a step the pathogen uses to infect people.
The researchers tested the effects of the compounds against the alpha and beta variants of COVID-19 in a lab, and did not compare infection rates in people who use the compounds to those who don’t.
Hemp is a source of fiber, and extracts can be used in cosmetics, body lotions, food, and industrial products such as rope, textiles, clothing, and insulation.
“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” said Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, according to Bloomberg.
“They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2,” he added.