Cannabinoids May Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Researchers at Oregon State University have found that several cannabinoid acids show micromolar affinity for the spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2. The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 is believed to bind to angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) receptors on the surface of cells, and to then infect cells. By occupying and neutralizing the spike protein, cannabinoid acids could potentially prevent the virus from attaching to and subsequently infecting human cells.


The two cannabinoid acids with the highest affinities for the spike protein were cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). These two compounds are the precursors to the more well-known cannabinoids cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG), respectively, which lose their carboxyl side chain through the process of decarboxylation, which occurs when cannabis is exposed to light and heat. Both CBDA and CBGA were shown to block infection of live coronavirus samples, including the alpha and beta variants.


The study’s authors note that “concentrations needed to block infection by 50% of viruses is high but might be clinically achievable,” and that the bioavailability of CBDA appears to be greater than CBD. Data on the bioavailability of CBGA is not currently available. Relevant studies suggest that a dosage sufficient to block infection by 50% of viruses could be well-tolerated, but more studies are needed.


To read the complete article, see The Journal of Natural Products here.

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