Researcher explains how hemp compounds can forestall COVID-19

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – Promising results from new research shows there may be another way to prevent COVID-19 infections.

Researchers from Oregon State identified hemp compounds that could target and stop the virus from infecting people. They said a cannabinoid acid can keep COVID-19 from entering human cells by targeting the virus’s spike protein.

“This particular type of cannabinoid will actually bind pretty significantly to that spike protein and when it does that, it prevents the ability for it to go through the receptor and into the cell,” said the University of Arizona’s Dr. Todd Vanderah.

The spike protein is the same target used in vaccines and antibody treatments. Once approved, the hemp compounds could be another option for someone who doesn’t want to get the vaccine.

“Would this be something that if you had it onboard and you got exposure to the virus, could it reduce the amount of viral load? Yes,” Vanderah said. “I think it would be interesting and to some extent would be a little bit more like the vaccine except that it is not a vaccine. It’s something that would just be onboard in your body.”

That would be the disadvantage. The hemp compound would have to be in your body at all times to prevent the infection because you never know when you could be infected.

“Once infected with it, that’s a little bit different,” he said. “Once the virus gets access to the body, then it’s a bit of a different process.”

Vanderah said it would be hard to imagine that the hemp compound could replace the vaccine entirely, but it could add another level of protection.

“We know we’re going to be living with COVID for a long time, so why not get something out there aside from the vaccine,” he said.

The study is still in the early stages of research, so it could still be a couple of years before hemp compounds are approved for use against COVID-19.

That is unless the process is sped up, like what happened with the vaccines.

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