Can CBD and cannabis compounds be the future of coronavirus research?

Exciting news is emerging from the world of cannabis research. A new study has shown that cannabis compounds may prevent coronavirus from infecting human cells.

The research used human epithelial cells and focused on two cannabinoid acids, cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid or CBDA, which are found in hemp varietals of cannabis. 

The researchers at Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Centre found that both compounds effectively bind to the spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. As a result, they blocked the virus’s ability to enter cells and cause infections. 

The spike protein is also the target of COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy as it’s a critical molecule in the disease’s progression. Therefore, disrupting the spike protein can thwart infection.

“Any part of the infection and replication cycle is a potential target for antiviral intervention, and the connection of the spike protein’s receptor-binding domain to the human cell surface receptor ACE2 is a critical step in that cycle,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Richard Van Breemen. “That means cell entry inhibitors, like the acids from hemp, could be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing virus particles from infecting human cells. They bind to the spike proteins, so those proteins can’t bind to the ACE2 enzyme, which is abundant on the outer membrane of endothelial cells in the lungs and other organs.”

The scientists tested the compounds’ effect against the SARS-CoV-2 alpha variant B.1.1.7 and beta variant B.1.351 of the virus, and the hemp compounds performed equally well against both.

In essence, the findings show that these cannabis molecules can eradicate the coronavirus’s ability to enter healthy cells, at least in a laboratory setting. 

Van Breemen said that “Cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and many hemp extracts.” He continued, “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive and ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans.” The news potentially offers new avenues for both treating and preventing coronavirus infections.

Although, it’s important to note that we don’t yet know if cannabis compounds such as CBD could prevent COVID in people because the study used human cells rather than human participants. It also didn’t compare infection rates between groups of people who used the compounds to others that didn’t. Therefore, further research is necessary. 

However, the results are promising and indicate that hemp compounds such as those in organic CBD oil could be monumental in future COVID-19 treatment protocols.

What are the differences between CBD, CBGA, and CBDA?

The Cannabis sativa (C. sativa) plant contains an incredible range of compounds — around 500. Of these, at least 100 are cannabinoids that have unique therapeutic properties. 

Some cannabinoids such as THC and CBD have been studied considerably more than CBGA and CBDA. The reason is that experts don’t consider these acidic forms of cannabinoids to be pharmacologically active, and they don’t impact the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the same way. Therefore, most research has focused on CBD instead of CBDA and other compounds.


CBD is a versatile compound that’s now garnering as much attention as its more infamous cousin, THC. Many consumers are familiar with the cannabinoid THC or tetrahydrocannabinol because it can cause an intoxicating effect. 

However, it’s essential to understand the critical differences between cannabinoids. For example, THC and CBD share the same molecular formula, C21H30O2, and virtually the same molecular mass. But there’s a difference in just one atomic bond which means THC can elicit a cerebral high, whereas CBD does not. For this reason, CBD is legal in the UK, whereas THC is not. 

THC is the primary factor determining the legality of cannabis-based products. CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, a cultivar of C. sativa traditionally used for its fibre. Legally, hemp and hemp products like CBD must contain only trace levels of THC, below 0.2%. 

CBD is safe for most people and rarely causes side effects or problems. In fact, a World Health Organization report stated that “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” Additionally, “To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

CBD’s potential as a therapeutic agent is gaining attention for these reasons. Although CBD oil research is in its early stages, there is compelling scientific evidence of its effectiveness in addressing symptoms of some of the most serious epilepsy syndromes, including Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). 

People with these conditions often experience no positive impact from pharmacological treatments, and as a result, doctors are turning to CBD to improve patients’ lives.

Supporting this evidence is that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now approved a cannabis-derived CBD-based medication, Epidiolex. The medication often eases symptoms of severe forms of epilepsy.

Data from CBD research and clinical trials is increasing, and scientists now believe it has potential in treating a plethora of health issues, including:

  • anorexia
  • anxiety
  • cancer
  • cardiovascular disorders
  • chronic pain
  • emesis or nausea
  • epilepsy
  • glaucoma
  • inflammation
  • insomnia
  • metabolic syndrome-related disorders
  • multiple sclerosis
  • neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease
  • obesity
  • osteoporosis
  • schizophrenia


CBGA, or cannabigerolic acid, is the mother of all cannabinoids. Every cannabinoid in hemp and cannabis plants comes from CBGA. Without CBGA, there would be no THC, CBD, or CBDA.

Enzymes in the cannabis or hemp plant called synthases convert CBGA into three cannabinoid precursor compounds:

  • tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)
  • cannabichromenic acid (CBCA)
  • cannabidiolic acid (CBDA)

The ratio of these compounds depends on the plant’s unique strain. 

Experts know that CBGA is nonintoxicating but, research into this incredible compound is in its early stages. There is not nearly as much research into CBGA as other cannabinoids. However, this may be something that’s about to change following the new COVID-19 research.


Think of cannabidiolic acid or CBDA as raw CBD. It’s a nonintoxicating acid precursor that eventually becomes CBD. CBDA converts to CBD through a process called decarboxylation following heat or sunlight exposure during burning or drying. 

CBDA is abundant in live or raw hemp plants selected for high CBD levels. Although not as well-known as CBD, CBDA is now coming into the spotlight with the raw cannabis juicing trend. You can also find it in tinctures, topical creams, and raw CBDA oil.

Research shows that raw CBDA oil has unique potential as an effective anti-inflammatory agent. That said, one of the problems with using CBDA as a therapeutic compound is that it’s unstable and gradually decarboxylates, even at room temperature. Work is ongoing to determine ways to create a more stable CBDA compound.

Can I use CBD oil for COVID prevention?

So far, we know that naturally occurring compounds from the cannabis plant prevent coronavirus binding with human cells in laboratory research. But that doesn’t mean we’ve proven the value of CBD oil for COVID prevention — yet.

It’s an exciting first step that opens doors for further research into the value of cannabis compounds. Professor Van Breemen said that the eventual hope is to produce pills made from purified hemp extract, which could lower COVID-19 infection risk following exposure to the virus.

The cannabis compounds study shows that cannabis compounds may help treat infections like COVID in the future, but epidemiologists caution that we need more testing. Interestingly, Van Breeman noted that the study showed these cannabinoids were effective against new viral variants, which he said is a primary concern of health officials. 

Encouragingly, positive findings in research on cannabis compounds continue with another recent laboratory study. Researchers exposed kidney cells to COVID genes in the study, either alone or in combination with CBD. The scientists found that CBD increased the cells’ ability to detect the COVID genes and self-destruct before the virus could replicate, thus preventing the virus from spreading. Although not yet peer-reviewed, this is further compelling evidence underpinning the value of cannabis compounds as potential therapeutics.

The benefits of organic CBD oil

It’s still early days to say for sure if hemp supplements for preventing COVID-19 will be successful, but there are still numerous reasons to add CBD oil to your daily routine. 

The potential CBD health benefits include:

Easing anxiety and depression

People often turn to CBD for its calming abilities, which some research supports. 

A 2017 study looked at anxiety levels in 57 men during a simulated public speaking test. Some participants received a placebo, while others received various doses of CBD before their speeches. The men who took 300 milligrams of CBD noted significantly reduced anxiety during the test compared to the placebo group. 

Curiously, men who received 150 or 600 mg doses of CBD reported more anxiety during the test than the 300 mg group. This highlights the importance of finding a dose that works for you because of the personal effects of CBD. It’s best to start with a small dose and gradually increase the amount until you find a balance.

Reducing pain

CBD has shown some promise in reducing pain. For example, Sativex is an oral spray containing a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. In 2005, Canada approved the medication to treat neuropathic pain in people with multiple sclerosis. They again approved the spray in 2007 for cancer pain that did not respond to other medications. The UK also approved Sativex in 2010 as a botanical drug.

In one 2020 study, researchers used topical CBD or a placebo in people with symptomatic peripheral neuropathy, a condition that can occur with physical trauma. In the group that received topical CBD, the participants experienced a significant reduction in pain and itching sensations. Additionally, there were no adverse side effects.

Relieving arthritis symptoms

Arthritis is a group of conditions that are painful and often debilitating. They involve swelling and inflammation of the joints, leading to worsening pain, stiffness, and loss of motion. Treatment for arthritic conditions aims to restore some level of joint function and ease pain.

A 2006 study comparing Sativex with a placebo found that Sativex significantly improved sleep quality and pain during movement and rest in 58 participants with rheumatoid arthritis when compared to a placebo.  

The fantastic thing about using CBD for arthritis is that you can implement a double-pronged approach with both oral and topical products. When used in combination, this approach offers the maximum possible relief.

How to choose a quality CBD product

If you want to harness the natural power of CBD for yourself, it’s essential to buy CBD products from a reputable company, such as Purity Hemp. Choose a brand that’s committed to transparency and safe and stringent testing, so you’re guaranteed a quality product. 

People are often concerned about THC in hemp products and the potential for intoxication. However, products must contain less than 0.2% THC in the UK, and respected brands should have a third-party Certificate of Analysis (CoA) stating their products’ THC and CBD levels and other cannabinoid profiles. Don’t forget to double-check that the concentrations on the CoA match the product label, as inaccuracies are common in low-quality CBD products.

In addition, ensure that the laboratory is an ISO 17025 certified lab, meaning that they have sound quality management systems and are competent to provide testing.

Additionally, you may want to opt for broad-spectrum CBD oil because it boasts an impressive range of active cannabis components in addition to CBD. These include cannabinoids such as cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabinol (CBN), plus aromatic terpenes that give the hemp plant its fragrant aroma and flavonoids that affect its pigmentation. 

These compounds work synergistically, producing what’s known as the “entourage effect” as they interact. In other words, the natural components of the hemp plant work together to provide benefits above and beyond CBD alone.

Although Purity Hemp’s broad-spectrum CBD oil contains a plethora of cannabinoids, it has no detectable THC.

Unlock the power of cannabinoids with Purity Hemp

At Purity Hemp, we value traceability and transparency. Our products are made with safe and regulated processes, without synthetic pesticides and harmful chemicals. Plus, you’re guaranteed the highest standards from seed to shelf.

Adding Purity Hemp’s CBD oil to your daily ritual helps support your health and wellbeing with the natural power of hemp compounds.

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