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New Study Suggests Some Cannabis Compounds May Prevent COVID-19 From Infecting Human Cells

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While vaccines are the gold standard to prevent COVID-19, researchers may have found another preventative in cannabis.

A new study has found that certain cannabis extracts may actually stop the coronavirus from infecting human cells, CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reported Thursday.

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Researchers have known for some time that marijuana and its relative, the hemp plant, contain dozens of biologically active compounds, most of which are not psychoactive or controlled like THC.

COVID VACCINE

Now, two of these non-psychoactive compounds, CBGA and CBDA, may turn out to help prevent the spread of COVID. That comes from a just-published study from Oregon State University and Oregon Health and Sciences University in the respected Journal of Natural Products.

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"CBDA and CBGA bind to specific locations on the virus spike protein, and these locations are necessary for the spike protein to interact and infect human cells. And if we can block that interaction by putting a barrier between the spike protein and the human cell, that can stop the spread of COVID," Oregon State's Dr. Richard Van Breemen said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Encouragingly, those compounds can be given in pill form and have been used safely in many nutritional supplements, as well as ayurvedic medicines from India.

"Because of the experience that we have already with the human consumption of products containing cannabinoids, I think we can move fairly quickly towards clinical studies of efficacy," Van Breeman said.

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Another important quality these compounds have is, because of their small size, they can penetrate the blood-brain barrier as well as other organs where the coronavirus can hide, which could make this a treatment for long COVID as well.

Dr. Max Gomez

Award-winning broadcast journalist Dr. Max Gomez rejoined WCBS-TV as a medical reporter in June 2007.More from Dr. Max Gomez

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