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Does Cannabis Prevent Or Cure Covid?

A team of researchers at Oregon State University recently made headlines when they released the results of a study that examined cannabinoids’ impact on Covid. The results of the study, while favorable, were almost immediately taken out of context, and headlines suggesting that smoking cannabis prevents/cures cancer went viral. Those types of articles seemed to indicate that smoking any kind of cannabis was a great way to battle Covid.

However, that is not actually what the results of the study indicated. Furthermore, this is not the first time that this has happened regarding cannabis, Covid, a study, and media outlets and pundits spreading misinformation. The results of a study from 2021 yielded false headlines that ‘cannabis cures Covid.’ What the study actually found was that cannabis could be a potential treatment for some cases of Covid, however, more studies needed to be conducted before anything conclusive could be determined.

A study from 2020 yielded false headlines that ‘cannabis prevents Covid’ when in actuality the study found that cannabis could possess properties that could be a part of a comprehensive Covid-prevention strategy. As with the study from 2021, researchers were clear that more studies needed to be conducted before anything definitive could be declared.

What Did The Oregon State University Study Actually Determine?

Below is the exact abstract from regarding the study out of Oregon State University that went viral. We broke it up a bit to make it a little easier to read, and bolded one very important word for emphasis:

As a complement to vaccines, 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.

Affinity selection-mass spectrometry was used for the discovery of botanical ligands to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Cannabinoid acids from hemp (Cannabis sativa) were found to be allosteric as well as orthosteric ligands with micromolar affinity for the spike protein. 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.

Keep Studies In Perspective

As you can see above, the word ‘potential’ was bolded at the end of the abstract because it is extremely important. The researchers found that two minor cannabinoids (CBDA and CBGA), when mixed with Covid cells in a petri dish, have the potential to prevent and treat Covid based on a reduction of 50% of infection in a petri dish in a lab. That is obviously not the same thing as claiming that smoking cannabis absolutely prevents and cures Covid.

The researchers at Oregon State University also noted in their study findings that THCA showed similar potential in their computer models, however, they were not able to go beyond computer simulation because of non-hemp cannabis’ federal status as a prohibited substance. With that in mind, THCA has not been proven to prevent or treat or cure Covid either. Future research could yield more favorable info, however, that is not guaranteed.

It is worth noting that there is no real danger in trying the cannabinoids mentioned in the Oregon State study from a toxicity standpoint. As the researchers pointed out, the cannabinoids have a “long history of safe human use.” Just make sure to temper expectations, and definitely don’t rely solely on cannabis to help prevent or treat Covid. As always, talk to a trusted medical professional before starting a cannabis-based treatment. That is applicable for Covid and any other serious health condition.