A study published this week by researchers at Oregon State University found that some hemp compounds have the ability to prevent the virus from entering human cells.
The findings of the study led by Richard van Breemen, a researcher at Oregon State's Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute, were published this week in the Journal of Natural Products.
Hemp as medicine
Hemp is widely used. For example, it is used in construction, in animal feeds and in many extracts. The substance can often also be found as an additive in cosmetics, body lotions, food supplements and edibles. Van Breemen: “We have identified several cannabinoid ligands and ranked them according to their affinity with the spike protein. The cannabinoids CBDA and CBGA blocked the infection. These components, which can be taken orally, have the potential to prevent and treat coronavirus infection.” Of course, there are still many steps between this research and the development of a drug.
The differences between CBD, CBDA and CBGA
CBD, short for cannabidiol, does not cause psychoactive effects. It's probably what you see at some pharmacies, health food stores, or pharmacies. It is a very versatile compound, making it ideal for oils, gummies, lotions, creams and other products. Hemp contains a lot of CBD. But CBD is not the compound tested in the Oregon State study. CBD is activated in hemp plants from its original form – CBDA.
CBDA, known as cannabidiolic acid, is secreted in the stems, leaves and flowers of a cannabis plant. Actually, it is the raw form of CBD. When the plant undergoes activation (a process involving heat), the acid is removed from the CBDA, activating CBD.
They have similar compounds, but CBDA is not as versatile. It is usually extracted by pressing plant material and can be added to food, drinks or used in tinctures, concentrated herbal extracts.
CBGA, known as cannabigerolic acid, is considered the “mother cannabinoid” because without CBD there is no CBD, CBDA or THC. CBGA compounds are similar to other cannabinoids, but have not been studied nearly as often as the others. It's not intoxicating. Enzymes called synthases are responsible for converting CBGA into molecules such as THCA, the crude, unactivated molecule that converts to THC after heat is applied.
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