Could hemp be a secret ingredient in the fight against COVID-19?
Scientists at the school in Corvallis say they’ve determined that compounds contained in hemp show “the ability to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells.”
Those hemp compounds are commonly found in such products as make-up, lotions, dietary supplements and food, according to a news release from the university.
Researchers determined that two cannabinoid acids found in hemp can bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and prevent it from infecting people, much in the same way COVID-19 vaccines and treatments work.
Richard van Breemen, the lead researcher on the study, made sure to clarify where the specific compounds were found.
“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” he said. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans.”
Researchers say the compounds have been found to be effective in preventing both the alpha and beta variants from infecting the body and more studies are being done on additional variants.
Currently, there are only three COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized or approved for use in the U.S. to prevent the coronavirus: the two-dose mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.