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Did Stoners Win Again? Could Cannabis Block Covid?

Cannabinoids are myriad chemicals found in cannabis. While THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, and CBD are likely the most well-known, cannabidiol, CBGA (cannabigerolic acid), and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) should also be on your radar. If early drug-screening research is to be believed, this is what it says: The now-viral study, which was published Monday in the Journal of Natural Products, reveals that these two cannabinoids may inhibit a vital step of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, infecting human cells.

    What’s new?

    Researchers from Oregon State University used a screening technique to look for chemical compounds that have specific characteristics that could make them suitable medications for treating or preventing Covid-19 infections. They uncovered two — CBGA and CBDA — that have the correct molecular make-up to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus’ spike protein from connecting to a cell and unlocking it, allowing the virus to infect and turn the cell into a viral factory.

    They next tested the chemicals in human epithelial cells in a petri dish – epithelial cells are the cells that coat the inside walls of body tissues like the lungs. Both chemicals appeared to inhibit the spike protein’s capacity to bind to epithelial cells in cell models, much like monoclonal antibodies, a well-known therapy for Covid-19 infections. This was true for both the coronavirus’s alpha and beta forms. Other variations were not tested by the researchers.

    Importantly, this research does not support the idea that smoking marijuana or consuming hemp-derived products such as CBD candies can protect or prevent Covid-19 infection.

    Why do these results matter?

    These kinds of drug screenings are commonplace; the goal is to look at medications or compounds that we currently know about and see if any of them have key characteristics that could make them effective weapons against a virus’s mechanisms or the progression of a disease. Scientists may be able to locate and create medications to combat infections more rapidly by going through the annals of what we know rather than attempting to discover or invent anything new because they have already been tested for safety and human usage to some extent.

    How CBGA and CBDA Work?

    CBDA and CBGA could be attractive therapeutic targets since they both appear to block the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein from attaching to an ACE2 receptor on the cell’s outer layer. When the spike protein binds to ACE2, it acts as a key in a lock, allowing the virus to enter the cell and begin working, transforming it into a viral factory and establishing a Covid-19 infection. It’s crucial to disrupting this pathway in order to prevent and treat Covid-19. One might theoretically prevent cells from becoming infected, but one could also limit an infection’s reach on the body’s cells. By screening for ligands among these molecules, the researchers were able to identify the two cannabinoid compounds.
    This research is preliminary, and more research is needed to confirm it. However, it has already sparked a lot of curiosity among the general public. According to the journal’s metrics tracking, which analyzes mentions of the study on the internet, the paper has been seen by 14 million people via Twitter alone at the time of writing.

    Meanwhile, back in the lab,The scientist are focused on expanding the research to examine how CBDA and CBGA compare to other Covid-19 variations.

    Source: National Library of Medicine

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