An exciting new study published in the “Journal of Natural Products”, stating that Cannabis can help fight Covid-19, has stoners rejoicing everywhere. Social media platforms have ignited with commentary and every news outlet in the country has run at least one headline. My first inclination was to run out into the streets with a megaphone, call for the cannabis community to unite, and pass a communal dutchie to the left-hand side. Thankfully, I don’t own a megaphone. That inclination may have been jumping the gun, just a little bit. While this groundbreaking new evidence has proven to be as viral as Covid itself, certain aspects of the information have quickly disseminated into the realm of common misconception. As part of Dizpot’s mission to provide “old school service” we proudly assume the responsibility of empowering our customers with the facts. Its just one more way we put the customer first. Here is the information you will need to benefit from Oregon State University’s findings that Cannabis can protect you in the on-going fight against Covid-19.
How it works: The Corona Virus is made up of microscopic spike proteins that attach themselves to the receptors in your healthy cells, especially the ones in your lungs. Then the spike proteins replicate and weaken the immune system. This study has identified three compounds in hemp called, CBG-A, THC-A, and CBD-A, that have the ability to bind to the receptors in your healthy cells, and guard them from the virus before it has the chance to hijack your body’s defenses.
There are a lot of people on Twitter asking questions like, “What strain of weed works best for protecting against Covid?”. Well, it was a minor buzzkill to find out that by smoking pot you will not imbibe the compounds. All three components are non-psychoactive forerunners found in the plant prior to the application of heat, and much like meeting Cheech and Chong during a dry period, they are way less fun because they can’t get you baked. So, any benefit Cannabis has in fighting the disease is likely nullified as soon as you turn it into smoke. Dr. Richard Van Breeman, the lead author of the study, and professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Oregon State University, says that the compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans. The findings are preliminary, but it is known that these compounds would have to be extracted in their raw form, from hemp, and delivered in treatments like CBD gummies, or tinctures. The synergistic effect of all three of these compounds together would generate a medication with the highest level of efficacy. This study is an important step for Cannabis research because it has identified a critical precedent for the need to study the complex pharmaceutical aspects of hemp.
There is a tinge of rebelliousness to this story that I find compelling. Dr. Breeman’s team was denied funding by the National Institute of Health under the assertion that there was “no proof of principle” to believe Cannabis would aid in any desirable way when it comes to stopping the spread of the Corona Virus.
Vice Magazine quoted him saying this:
“We did it anyway, and we've established this principle that small molecules including natural products, in this case from hemp, have the ability to stop the virus from infecting human cells.”
He basically used science to stick it to the man, and then established his own grounds for future research. What a trailblazer. Years of subsequent science will benefit from the liberties taken by him and his team.
Being that THC-A is a controlled substance, the research team was not actually allowed to purify it and study it by itself. However, there were traces of it in the hemp extract they looked at which is how they were able to identify it as beneficial in this particular application. It seems that even despite the pervasive legalization of Marijuana, bureaucracy and fragmentary legal processes inhibit the evolution of medications derived from the plant in all facets of its glory. In terms of straight CBD, we all know and love it for its anti-inflammatory properties. Dr. Breeman recommends using it to battle against “cytokine storms”, which is the cause of aggressive inflammation in the human body from Corona Virus.
Breeman seems optimistic about the future of hemp, “It's a complex plant. I think there will be other drugs that will eventually be discovered and developed from it. And perhaps we've just found some.” Dizpot has a rich history of participation in the Marijuana community and legislative attendance. This story serves as a reminder of how important it is to get involved and let your voice be heard so science can move uninhibited towards finding new ways for our beloved plant to change the world.