Can smoking weed prevent COVID-19?not completely

key takeaways

  • Researchers have found that certain acids in the cannabis plant can bind to COVID-19’s spike protein, protecting human cells from infection.
  • The acids CBGA and CBDA are not found in common cannabinoid products such as weed or CBD gummies.
  • Therapeutics are being researched to treat or prevent infections such as COVID-19.

A recent study found that certain molecules in cannabis may protect against COVID-19. Some corners of the internet are celebrating. So do some late night hosts.

But the data is not so clear-cut. While medical marijuana can provide users with relief, There is no evidence that smoking marijuana protects people from COVID-19.

but two compounds no Cannabidiolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), commonly found in cannabis products for human use, were the stars of the study.

“We found that the CBDA and CBGA that were active in our study were sensitive to heat,” Dr. Richard van Breemen, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at OSU and lead study author, told VigorTip. “They break down into other cannabinoids when exposed to heat, just like what happens when you smoke.”

More young people are using cannabis to cope with social isolation and anxiety

So by the time someone smokes the plant, these useful cannabinoids are long gone.The study was published in Journal of Natural Products in January.

what does this mean to you

Smoking marijuana products has not been found to protect against coronavirus. In fact, evidence suggests the opposite: Smoking and excessive marijuana use may damage lung health and make you more susceptible to COVID-19.

Cannabinoids and COVID-19 Protection

At a quick glance, the research seems to suggest that you may be more protected from COVID-19 if you use marijuana. But Van Bremen explained why that wasn’t the case.

It all comes down to the spike protein on COVID-19. “The kind of spike projection you see on viral pictures,” he said. “It’s the spike protein that interacts with human cells and starts an infection.”

To prevent infection, antibodies latch onto the spike protein, preventing its ability to enter human cells.

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Knowing this, van Breemen and colleagues hypothesized that small molecules — possibly from plant-based dietary supplements including cannabinoids — could also bind to the spike protein. “If they interact with the right binding affinity in the right places, they can also prevent interactions between the spike proteins in human cells, preventing infection,” he said.

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are any biologically active compound found in the cannabis plant. Some of the most common are cannabidiol (CBD), which is primarily used for relaxation and/or relief from conditions such as chronic pain and epilepsy; and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is primarily used in the high concentrations it produces. CBD is not responsible for high levels of THC.

This is exactly what happened. Researchers tested whether CBGA and CBDA could prevent COVID-19 in petri dishes containing human cells. In short, they found that the two compounds block the virus from entering cells and stop the virus from spreading.

Importantly, CBGA and CBDA are not commonly found in commercial hemp products. They are found in native plants and are chemical precursors to better-known cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. Once the plants are heated and dried to obtain products like weed, brownies or fudge, these acids are converted into CBD and THC.

Cannabinoids and COVID-19 Risk

If CBGA and CBDA do protect against COVID-19, one thing remains unclear: whether they will work in people. Watching cannabinoids inactivate COVID-19 in a petri dish is not the same as watching them inactivate COVID-19 in humans.

However, the effects of smoking on the human body are well documented. Marijuana use disorder and marijuana use have repeatedly been linked to COVID-19 risk during the pandemic. This may be due to the irritation of the throat and lungs from smoking, Its effects on the immune system, the potential for marijuana users to share with others, or exposure to toxic substances (such as tar) that have been linked to the development of several diseases.

That’s not to say that marijuana isn’t bad. Humans have used it for thousands of years—and it’s now legal in more places because of its health benefits, including pain treatment, epilepsy, and opioid detoxification.

If you are considering starting or continuing use, your best bet is to consult a doctor or health professional.

Is CBD a Potential Treatment?

This isn’t the first study to show that cannabinoids can be used as a COVID-19 treatment.

CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the body. Then, in January 2021, researchers published further evidence that cannabis compounds reduce inflammation in the lungs—a major possible complication of COVID-19.

Now, in January 2022, another study found that CBD disrupted COVID-19 infections, but not in the same way as CBGA and CBDA. Instead of affecting the virus’ ability to enter cells, CBD prevented the virus from replicating, thereby interfering with the virus’s ability to spread throughout the body.

Cannabis compound may help reduce lung inflammation in COVID-19

And this CBD effect wasn’t just observed in petri dishes. It also inhibited viral replication in mice. What’s more, the authors found that people who used CBD on a regular basis contracted COVID-19 at a different rate than those who didn’t. It turns out that more than 1,200 people taking medically prescribed oral CBD for epilepsy treatment tested positive for COVID-19 less frequently than people of similar background who did not take CBD.

But the authors note that the effects of these compounds depend on dose and purity. After all, commercial products containing cannabinoids are not always pure and reliable. More research is needed to determine what role cannabinoids can play in COVID-19 prevention and treatment.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means that you may have updated information as you read this article. For the latest updates on COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus news page.