LIFESTYLE

Can smoking weed provide protection against COVID-19? Researchers smash misconception

Amid the rising cases of COVID-19 across the globe, researchers have been working relentlessly towards discovering new treatments and preventative measured against the virus. Misconceptions have also been spread about how smoking cannabis or weed might provide protection against COVID-19.

A new research has suggested that two compounds found in cannabis can provide protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Though these two compounds have medicinal properties, smoking of cannabis or weed will not prevent one from contracting COVID-19.

The researchers from the Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy, and Linus Pauling Institute conducted this study, which has been published in the Journal of Natural Products. The study clearly states that despite the misconceptions, smoking weed can in no way protect you from COVID-19 infections.

Richard van Breemen, alongside other scientists at Oregon Health and Science University, mentioned in the study that they found a pair of cannabinoid acids binds to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which can essentially block a critical step in the biological process COVID-19 uses to infect people.

Breemen, while talking to The Chronicle Online, said, “These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts. They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans.”

He further added, “And our research showed the hemp compounds were equally effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant B.1.351, first detected in South Africa.”

The compounds mentioned in the study that can protect against COVID-19 are Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), and Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). These compounds can bind to the spike protein, which is the target used by COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapies.

The third wave is expected to reach its peak in several countries such as the US and Britain over the coming weeks, while the number of Omicron cases has significantly increased in India as well, leading to a massive surge in daily COVID-19 cases.

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