A new scientific study found that CBDA and CBGA inhibited the reproduction and reduced the spread of Covid-19 in lab tests. However, what works in a petri dish does not necessarily work in humans.
“In the wake of all the new-age cures for covid, let’s examine the facts before cannabinoids become the next Ivermectin.”
A scientific study published Jan 28th, 2022 in the National Library of Medicine sent tremors through the cannabis industry. Over the course of the next 48 hours, everyone from talk-show hosts to comedians took turns at making fun of the latest “Covid-cure” to cross our collective path.
Here’s the cliff notes: A research team comprised of staff and students from the Oregon Health & Science University and Oregon State University found that CBDA and CBGA prevented the replication and propagation of Covid-19 in initial lab tests.
What is CBDA and CBGA and how do they affect the Covid-19 virus?
CBDA and CBGA are the natural forms of the CBD and CBG cannabinoids. Both cannabinoids can be obtained from federally legal hemp or extracted from Cannabis (where allowed.)
The study found that these specific cannabinoids deterred the Covid-19 virus from inserting itself into human cells. At certain concentrations of potency, CBDA and CBGA were shown to reduce infections in lab tests by half. The study found that the potency of CBDA or CBGA needed to prevent infection in humans “…is high (lol) but might be clinically achievable.”
Pop culture’s take on the news “Cannabis cures Cvoid-19”
Less than 48hr’s later comedy writers had turned CBD into the next fad Covid-19 cure. Some of the better one-liners coming from late-night talk shows were:
“You know, it’s funny — all these crazy cures, I’m like ‘Oh, that’s ridiculous.’ Ivermectin, the horse dewormer… Bleach… And then somebody says marijuana prevents Covid, and I’m like ‘Oh, really? Do tell.’”
— Jimmy Kimmel
“In other words, the pot enters the body and asks Covid, ‘Are you a cell? You have to tell me if you’re a cell.’” — Stephen Colbert
“… All this time we’ve been listening to the C.D.C., when we should have been eating C.B.D.”
— Jimmy Kimmel
And just like that…
With the aid of late-night co-hosts comedians, a little-known study involving cannabinoids has transformed the narrative to, “Cannabis cures Covid.”
Is the new study exciting news? Sure! However let us examine and consider the full context of this report.
Clinical trials vs Study findings
First, let us look at what the researchers found, then, at what they did not find.
According to the aforementioned article, this study was not of the scale you might be assuming. No clinical trials were preformed to see if the cannabinoids deterred the spread of the Covid-19 virus in humans. The question of “Does CBDA block the production of Covid-19 cells?” hasn’t even been evaluated on lab mice.
The research team ran the cannabinoid compounds of CBDA and CBGA through a computer model. Put differently, they looked at the cannabinoid’s viability against Covid-19 transmission in a computer simulation.
With those results showing potential, the research team then performed a cell infiltration analyses. Basically, in a lab setting, the research team mixed active samples of the Covid-19 virus with CBDA, CBGA, or a neutral control in petri dishes. After 24 hours, the researchers found that the Covid-19 virus had reproduced at a drastically lower rate in the petri dishes with the CBDA and CBGA samples, compared to the control petri dish.
Is it just CBD & CBG, or do other cannabinoids show promising signs?
It is worth noting; The research team reported that the cannabinoid THCA, which is the raw form of THC, showed comparable potential to CBDA & CBGA in their computer model. However, because THCA is federally illegal, (because it is derived from Cannabis, not Hemp) and the scientists are required to comply with federal research funding rules, the team couldn’t move forward and test actual THCA in cell infiltration analyses, even though THCA is legal in the state where the study was carried out. THCA might be just as likely at preventing the replication and propagation of Covid-19 as CBDA and CBGA, or more, but we do not know because of federal government’s stance on Cannabis prohibition.
The exact wording of the study is encouraging, but nothing has been proven. In scientific terms, the Oregon study is intriguing—these findings are meant to elicit further research, perhaps branching out and using live animal test subjects. However, we are a long way from studies that evaluate the success of these cannabinoids at deterring the spread of Covid-19 in actual humans.
We are in the middle of a global pandemic, the likes of which our generation has never seen. In North America the mainstream & social media have championed insane “cures” like Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine while ridiculing the scientifically proven Covid-19 vaccine. The last thing that passionate cannabis enthusiasts want to see is their “Sacred plant” being associated with the likes of these hair-brained, non-proven, Covid-19 “cures.”
This study opens up the discussion for de-stigmatizing cannabinoids and their parent plants (Hemp & Cannabis), but this discussion comes with great risk. Firstly, there’s risk to public health, as people who would otherwise get vaccinated instead start chugging CBDA oil. Also, there is a potential risk that CBDA & CBGA extracts could get grouped in with drinking bleach, taking Ivermectin, or hydroxychloroquine, and be written off as just another over-promoted miracle cure that under-delivers.
TL;DR. Of course, try CBD— but don’t let it stop you from getting the vaccine.
The Oregon study should lead to more studies of the prospective use for cannabinoids—including CBDA, CBGA, and THCA—to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the cellular level. However, you shouldn’t skip a proven vaccine in favor of CBDA oil.