A promising new study has recently been published that shows how hemp compounds can potentially help to combat Coronavirus by inhibiting the virus from binding with ACE-2 receptors.
Researchers from the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Oregon State University recently teamed up in an effort to demonstrate whether hemp compounds have any impact on the ability to prevent and treat infection of SARS-CoV-2 and all of its variants.
The collaboration was headed by Dr. Richard B van Breemen, who is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University.
What The Research Shows
According to Dr. van Breeman, the research was very encouraging. “Our data show CBDA and CBGA are effective against the two variants we looked at, and we hope that trend will extend to other existing and future variants.”
He further explained how cannabinoid compounds can potentially inhibit infection. “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 cells.”
Additional information about these studies with detailed graphic figures can be found on the Journal of Natural Products website.
There are hundreds of different hemp compounds, which are known as phytocannabinoids. These cannabinoids are specially designed to interact with our own endogenous cannabinoid receptors that operate as part of the endocannabinoid system. Every single vertebrate mammal has an endocannabinoid system, and its compounds are associated with a wide variety of properties.
What Are These Compounds?
You may be wondering, what are they? All cannabinoids start out as a singular compound, called cannabigerol (CBG), that eventually degrades into several different molecules. These include cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These molecules further degrade into additional cannabinoids, and each compound is associated with different characteristics, based on how they individually interact with cannabinoid receptors.
So far, scientists have isolated at least two different cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2, although many speculate at the potential existence of more. Slight alterations in the structures of various cannabinoids is what determines how they interact with CB receptors, such as whether they have a higher affinity to bond with one or both, and this affects their properties.
When CB receptors are activated, they produce neurotransmitters that are called endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids function by mitigating instances of imbalance within individual body systems, as the primary purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate homeostasis throughout the body so that everything is operating at peak effectiveness.
Hemp compounds start out as cannabinoid acids, specifically cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA. Once CBGA degrades, it turns into tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).
Definition of Cannabinoid Acid
The NIH defines cannabinoid acids as: a structurally heterogeneous group of compounds some of which are endogenous molecules and others that are metabolites of phytocannabinoids.
THCA, CBCA, and CBDA eventually convert into THC, CBC, and CBD, and these compounds are able to interact with our internal CB receptors after undergoing a process of decarboxylation (typically through heat), prior to ingestion.
The compounds in hemp, as well as the CB receptors in the endocannabinoid system, function as ligand-receptor complexes. This describes when two or molecules bind together, typically a smaller molecule with a larger molecule.
The ligands that operate as part of the endocannabinoid system are classified as G-protein coupled receptor (GPCRs),which convert external messages into intracellular responses, and can be activated by a variety of signals, including hormonal, visual, taste, or olfactory.
What Does This Do?
So, what does this really do? It is a process that allows cells to react to external stimuli. The ability to bind separate molecules is something which enables the body to respond to foreign threats, such as viral infection.
Spike proteins are structures that form on the surface of a virus and can play an integral role in the entry of viral particles. The research conducted by Dr. van Breeman’s team showed that hemp compounds were able to help prevent infection of human cells by binding with SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins, which stops the spike proteins from interacting with ACE-2 receptors. These receptors are a primary target in treatments for inhibiting viral infection because they are considered the first point of entry for spike proteins to bind with.
With regard to hemp compounds, the study states that “small-molecule therapeutic agents are needed to treat or prevent infections by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its variants, which cause COVID-19.”
Recent Studies Further Explain
“In follow-up virus neutralization assays, cannabigerolic acid and cannabidiolic acid prevented infection of human epithelial cells by a pseudovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and prevented entry of live SARS-CoV-2 into cells. Importantly, cannabigerolic acid and cannabidiolic acid were equally effective against the SARS-CoV-2 alpha variant B.1.1.7 and the beta variant B.1.351. Orally bioavailable and with a long history of safe human use, these cannabinoids, isolated or in hemp extracts, have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2.”
This is great news for consumers of hemp extract, as everyone across the globe is anxious to incorporate any safe compound that could possibly help to prevent infection of SARS-CoV-2 as well as treating it.
The information shared within this article was gathered from trusted medical journals online, and the sources are linked within this article. Our intention is to share this information with our viewers in a structured layout which might help answer some common questions. We are not making any medical claims about our products or providing medical advise in any way. Always consult your physician to verify information.
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