CORVALLIS, Ore. (Gray News) – Researchers at Oregon State University have identified hemp compounds that show the ability to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells.
According to the university, a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the COVID-19 spike protein, which stops the virus from infecting people.
OSU said this “spike protein is the same drug target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy.”
A disease or virus follows a specific process for infecting a person. A drug target is described as any molecule critical to that process that can be disrupted to stop infection or progression.
“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” said Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans.”
Van Breemen explained the research showed the hemp compounds were equally effective against the alpha and beta variants of COVID-19.
“Our data show CBDA and CBGA are effective against the two variants we looked at, and we hope that trend will extend to other existing and future variants,” van Breemen said.
OSU invented a chemical screening technique for the study led by van Breeman.
The research team screened a range of botanicals used as dietary supplements, including red clover, wild yam, hops and three species of licorice, the university reported.
“Cell entry inhibitors, like the acids from hemp, could be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing virus particles from infecting human cells,” van Breemen said, adding compounds that block virus-receptor interaction has been helpful for patients with other viral infections.
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