Cannabis and Covid-19? Study Says It Could Reduce Infection Rates

Cannabis and Covid-19? Study Says It Could Reduce Infection Rates

Posted by Lori Ann Reese on 01/12/2022 in News

Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Covid-19 and Cannabis Study 2022

Oregon State University researchers have found that two cannabinoids may provide adequate protection against Covid-19. In the study, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), which are normally derived from hemp, appeared to protect cells against Covid-19 infection.  Everyone is talking about the study and how cannabis and Covid-19 may provide a solution. 

The study didn’t test the results on humans in the form of supplements. But in laboratory tests, both CBGA and CBDA were tested against Covid-19 and variant strains of the virus. Not only could these two cannabinoids help reduce Covid-19 infection rates, but they may also offer some protection against other coronavirus strains, including SARS-CoV-2. 

On January 11, 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that infection rates for the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 were record-breaking. The WHO indicated that the highest numbers of new cases were reported in the United States. There have been 4.6 million new patients diagnosed with the Omicron variant in the U.S. Out of just over 14 million cases worldwide in the first week of January 2022. 

The current average weekly death toll from Covid-10, Delta, and Omicron variants remains at approximately 48,000 people per week worldwide. In the past thirty days, 59% of cases were due to the Omicron variant.

The memes from regular cannabis users being “marked safe from Covid-19” have already started circulating on the internet. But how the cannabinoids work to enhance protection against coronaviruses is very interesting. And it may give the world a new weapon in the fight against rising infection rates for Covid-19 and subsequent variants of the virus. 

Covid-19 and Cannabis Study

How Could Cannabis and Covid-19 Be a Turning Point in the Pandemic?

Hospitalization rates are lower for the new Delta and Omicron variants of Covid-19. That is thanks in part to increasing immunization rates in most countries. But while booster vaccinations seem to be the suggested solution, some health authorities have already raised the alarm. Ongoing boosters annually (or several times annually) may not be a long-term solution. Or sustainable in terms of producing the vaccines in most countries. COvidCOvid

What about an oral cannabinoid supplement? Something that could be administered in a capsule or tablet form that would provide additional protection against infection? That would help ease the burden on healthcare systems by potentially reducing infection rates. The preventative supplement would also be more economical to produce and distribute. 

Covid-19 and variants of the virus are not yet globally endemic. But health authorities in many countries expect infection rates to pass that threshold eventually. When a virus becomes endemic, it means that it will not go away. But reducing infection rates becomes the top priority and best line of defense. 

The study “Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants” was published on January 10, 2022. What is very exciting about the findings from the Oregon State University researchers is the potential for both prevention and treatment of Covid-19 cases. The study suggests that patients infected with Covid-19 and variants of the virus may also benefit from being treated. And that the cannabinoids may help reduce the duration and severity of the virus for patients. 

Cannabinoids Could Be a New Effective Weapon in the Fight Against Covid-19

What researchers found was that CBGA and CBDA may provide a natural barrier that helps prevent Covid-19 from entering the cells. And it may be more effective than other treatment options, including vaccines that attempt to build antibodies for each new variant. 

What this also means is that a supplement containing both cannabinoids could:

  • Help reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19 or variants of the virus. 
  • Lower the cellular load of the virus in human cells. That could make the virus less contagious or communicable if present in lower concentrations. This could slow down transmission rates and help protect vulnerable populations (people with immune-compromised health conditions).
  • Slow down or stop the virus from replicating within the body. This could make symptoms of the virus less life-threatening for patients who become infected. 

In more simple terms, when the Covid-19 virus (and variants) infect the body, CBGA and CBDA could act as a shield. What is not known is whether a single dose would provide long-term protection or whether ongoing supplements would be required. But given the fact that the cannabinoids are easily (and affordably) produced, a daily supplement is not outside the realm of possibility. 

The two cannabinoids are not contraindicated with most prescription medications (meaning they would not conflict with other pharmaceuticals). That would make CBGA and CBDA a good solution, even for patients with other underlying health conditions. The two cannabinoids are also not psychoactive, unlike marijuana.  That would also make cannabis and Covid-19 a winning combination for all age groups. Including prevention and treatment for minors. 

Omicron Delta Cannabinoid Supplements

Before You Pack a Bowl to Protect Yourself From Covid-19

There may be a stampede to dispensaries after the release of the clinical study. But before you rush to pack a bowl in the hopes of protecting yourself from Covid-19, there are a few things you should know. 

Smoking weed won’t protect you against Covid-19 or the Delta and Omicron variants. The antiviral protection from CBGA and CBDA comes from the cannabinoid acids. When you smoke a strain that has high CBGA and CBDA content, it is converted to cannabidiol (CBD). Which may have immune-boosting properties, but the bud would lose the antiviral properties reported in the study. 

Administrations of CBGA and CBDA as a liquid or oral solution (tincture) through sublingual uptake may be effective. Or in capsule or tablet form as a supplement. Does that mean antiviral edibles may be available soon? It’s too early to tell. But the research of cannabis and Covid-19 is promising as a new and possibly more effective approach. One that could lower infection rates and promote patient recovery. 

And save lives. 

 

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