The potential for a couple of hemp derived compounds to help in the COVID battle could be put to the test in the near future.
Last month we reported on research out of Oregon State University research indicating certain hemp compounds (cannabigerolic acid – CBGA – and cannabidiolic acid -CBDA) could prevent the coronavirus causing COVID-19 from invading human cells by binding to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
And just to get this out of the way – this doesn’t mean consuming commonly available hemp products could protect you from COVID. CBDA and CBGA are precursors to CBD and CBG, and are not present in most hemp products.
Additionally, a lot more scientific research needs to be undertaken, but the good news is some of that could kick off quite soon.
Dr. Richard van Breemen, who led the initial research, says preclinical trials will happen within a few months. This involves using cell cultures and/or animal models to test for efficacy and safety.
But this is just a first step in what will probably be quite a long process – so even if findings from the preclinical trial are favourable, this won’t be a slam dunk and there will be plenty of other hurdles needing to be cleared.
That hemp may turn out to be another useful tool in addressing the impacts of COVID isn’t really all that surprising given its many proven and claimed therapeutic attributes. Dr. van Breemen notes natural products are the source or inspiration of many prescription medicines.
“Hemp is particularly interesting because it is a rich source of unique natural products,” he said. “We’ve probably only investigated 10% of the natural products that nature provides to us so there are many more molecules to be discovered and many more investigations to be carried out to find out which diseases or types of infections these molecules might be helpful in preventing or treating.”
The researcher seems very pleased about the buzz his team’s research has generated.
“Never before have we seen such a worldwide response, and I’m just delighted that people are interested in the work we do.”
And no doubt many will be keeping tabs on how the team’s work progresses from here.
Dr. van Breemen is Principal Investigator at OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute and is also a researcher with the College of Pharmacy and OSU’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, from which the hemp extracts were obtained for the study.