Recently, there’s been a ton of hype in the media about cannabis and Covid-19. Researchers affiliated with Oregon State University presented findings that cannabis compounds may have the potential to prevent Covid-19 infections – and the world went wild for it. With the world at a standstill due to the impact of the coronavirus, scientists have focused on developing proprietary technologies to deal with this global disaster. Although cannabis still carries a pervasive negative stigma, since the start of the pandemic, numerous scientific studies have explored its potential as a prevention or treatment option for the Covid-19 virus. So can smoking weed stop you from getting Covid-19?
While hemp has been cultivated for its healing properties for thousands of years, clickbait headlines about these recent studies misconstrue vital information about the true abilities of the powerful cannabis plant. Here at Blaz, we want to break the stigma about hemp. We think it’s important to be knowledgeable about hemp and its benefits. That’s why we put together this guide to cannabis basics, so you can understand the truth behind the viral cannabis Covid-19 studies. Can Cannabis Prevent Covid-19 Infection? It’s been over two years since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Both scientists and everyday people are on the lookout for prevention and treatment options from the virus. So what did the viral studies discover about the potential link between cannabis and Covid-19? Researchers at Oregon State University published a study showing that CBGA and CBDA, two cannabinoid acids, can stop Covid-19 infection by blocking the virus’ entry into cells. Additionally, researchers at the University of Chicago claimed CBD may be able to inhibit Covid-19 infection in both mice and human cells. Fantastic news, right? Any scientific studies about stopping Covid-19 feel encouraging these days. But wait a second, as this doesn’t mean you should light up some CBD flower to prevent Covid-19. Instead, these findings demonstrate the possibility for these cannabinoid acids to be utilized in medicines for Covid-19 prevention and treatment. We will have to wait for more research so that these cannabinoid acids can be developed into proprietary technologies. Understanding Cannabis Compounds So while the everyday person can’t smoke weed to stop or cure Covid-19, scientists have discovered that its compounds can potentially be used to prevent its infection. Let’s go over the key terms and concepts you need to learn to really understand the science behind hemp. We’ll discuss cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoid acids, terpenes, and the Entourage Effect, so you can stay knowledgeable on cannabis and Covid-19 prevention. Cannabinoid Legality But wait. Is any of this stuff actually legal in the United States? Well, though it’s quite complicated, it depends on who you are, where you live, and what you want to take. The Farm Bill, passed in 2018, created legislation that allows for the transportation of hemp-derived products across state lines. These products cannot contain more than 0.3% of the psychoactive cannabinoid Delta-9 THC. Residents of any age can purchase and use hemp-derived products. This means hemp-derived cannabinoids like CBD (Cannabidiol) and CBG (Cannabigerol) are legal in the United States, even where medical and recreational marijuana are illegal. Delta-9 THC is considered a Schedule 1 drug, though some states have legalized or decriminalized it. Cannabinoids Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that are produced by the cannabis plant, which contains over 100 known phytocannabinoids. Laboratories can also recreate cannabinoids through synthetic processes. The Endocannabinoid System Every human body has its own endocannabinoid system (ECS). It produces cannabinoids that bind with cannabinoid receptors along the nervous system. Despite the lack of significant research about the ECS, scientists think it influences homeostasis. This suggests that the ECS has an impact on regulating our mood, memory, appetite, and sleep. We can consume cannabinoids from plants to effect the ECS. Cannabinoid Acids Cannabinoids begin as acids. With the application of heat, they transform into cannabinoids. This is why you need to heat or burn cannabis flower to activate the effects of its cannabinoids. Cannabinoid acids are cannabis compounds at the focus of the Oregon State University study. Terpenes Besides cannabinoids and cannabinoid acids, there are other compounds found in hemp. Terpenes are aromatic compounds produced by plants. They have important purposes, like attracting pollinators or protecting the plant from predators. With their powerful scents and flavors, it’s not surprising that terpenes can benefit your health. Terpenes are known for their pain-relieving and calming effects. When you smoke hemp products, you receive the calming effects of terpenes. The Entourage Effect The Entourage Effect is the concept that marijuana compounds like cannabinoids, cannabinoid acids, and terpenes work better together than on their own. You can encounter this awesome effect by purchasing products that are marketed as “full-spectrum” cannabis extracts. CBD and CBG Benefits Because of its federal legality, CBD and CBG cannabinoid products derived from hemp are widely available. Scientists have conducted more research about these cannabinoids than their acids, which are the compounds at the center of the Oregon State University Covid-19 study. CBD CBD research has shown that this cannabinoid contains a variety of therapeutic benefits, whether it is used in over-the-counter or medicinal applications. There is significant research to suggest that cannabinoids like CBD may have favorable medicinal benefits. In fact, CBD’s potential pharmacological effects may work better than opioids or over-the-counter pain remedies at reducing pain. This is significant for people who struggle with the harsh side effects of medications. Two small studies have suggested that CBD may contain anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which may make it a possible pain relief solution. In these studies, scientists evaluated CBD’s influence on the nervous systems of rodents. As humans and rodents each have an endocannabinoid system, this research suggests that CBD might be the link between the ECS and the nervous system. A recent 2020 study demonstrated that the topical application of CBD oil might be beneficial in reducing neuropathy in humans. Overall, research on CBD has demonstrated the cannabinoid’s potential to reduce pain and inflammation. It is important to remember, however, that CBD is not considered a medicinal product unless it is specifically designated as a medicine.