With over 60% of the population having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, it is increasingly likely that the vast majority of the world will have some sort of protection against the virus (1). That said, skepticism around vaccines and displeasure with mandate protocols has slowed the rollout of vaccinations in various countries around the world. There is growing concern that we will never reach complete vaccination status due to this backlash. Researchers, however, continue to encourage vaccination as well as assess alternative ways to reduce the rate of infection through the combination of vaccination and less traditional medical practices.
Today, there is new evidence to suggest a link between cannabinoid acids found in hemp plants to combat COVID-19 infection (2). In this article, we explore this study in more detail as well as the benefits of CBD products.
What are Cannabinoid Acids?
Firstly, let’s take a closer look at cannabinoid acids. Cannabinoid acids are chemical compounds found in hemp plants. When exposed to heat or left over a period of time, the cannabinoid acids supplement cannabidiol and the health benefits of CBD consumption. Cannabinoid acids are now found in oils, tinctures, and other CBD products to offer additional healthy properties over and above the CBD itself. These acids do this by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in different ways to the cannabidiol cannabinoid compound. For example, cannabidiolic acid regulates the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme to reduce inflammation that occurs after an injury or infection (3). In such ways, the combination of cannabinoid acids in CBD products can further support one’s health and wellbeing.
The Link Between Cannabinoid Acids and COVID-19
But, what about cannabinoid acids and COVID-19? We mentioned a possible link between the two and will review a recent study that highlights the cannabinoids’ abilities to combat COVID-19 infection (4).
Scientists at the Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy, and Linus Pauling Institute noted that cannabinoid acids may bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. This activity may inhibit the virus’s ability to easily spread from one individual to the next, subsequently fighting the rate of infection. The researchers go on to mention that cannabinoid acids found in hemp plants “were equally effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including [alpha] variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and [beta] variant B.1.351, first detected in South Africa.”
These medical professionals state that the way in which the cannabinoid acids target the spike protein reflects similar behavior to that of the vaccine. In a nutshell, “cell entry inhibitors, like the acids from hemp, could be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing virus particles from infecting human cells.”
These comments, published in authoritative research journals, indicate that individuals could benefit from complimenting their vaccination and daily safety routines with cannabinoid acids found in hemp plants to reduce the risk of infection as well as lessen the impact of infection (5). While more research is needed to conclusively prove such claims, the growing evidence is a positive report to note among CBD consumers.
How to Consume Cannabinoid Acids
As mentioned above, the most common method to consume or experience the benefits of cannabinoid acids is CBD. This can be done in the following ways:
- Baked treats
The ways in which you choose to consume CBD does not particularly impact the potential benefits of consumption, however, the concentration of CBD and quality of product play a crucial role in ensuring that you choose the best CBD products on the market for the best results.
The Benefits of Using CBD
Over and above a possible connection between cannabinoid acids and combatting COVID-19 infection, CBD offers several health benefits to consumers. Below, we list the most notable benefits of CBD with cannabinoid acids:
May Relieve Pain
The most widely recognized benefit of CBD is pain relief. Historical records indicate CBD use for pain dating back centuries (6). More recent evidence highlights that CBD’s effects on the endocannabinoid system can reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters to relieve pain (7). Other reports also note that CBD may be an effective tool to alleviate anxiety and stress, which are common causes of chronic pain (8). The evidence that CBD can support individuals suffering from pain continues to pile up, and one could justify the use of CBD to reduce painful symptoms associated with COVID-19 infection.
May Combat Cancer Symptoms
CBD may help cancer patients deal with uncomfortable symptoms such as nausea and pain. A review has found evidence that those consuming CBD felt decreased feelings of pain when suffering from cancer (9). Furthermore, CBD may help the body fight free radicals and subsequent cancer cell growth. While there is no evidence to suggest that CBD can cure cancer, its link between use and the prevention of cancer growth in recent studies indicates that it could be a supportive contribution to healthy lifestyle habits (10).
May Benefit the Heart
There is also growing support that CBD consumption is beneficial for heart health. Small studies have been particularly interested in the ways that CBD influences blood pressure. One of these studies found that cannabidiol reduced blood pressure among subjects experiencing high blood pressure levels (11). As blood pressure plays a significant role in your heart health, often an indication of how healthy your heart currently is, the use of CBD to regulate appropriate blood pressure levels is an extremely positive finding. While more research is needed to conclusively substantiate the link between CBD cannabinoid acids and better heart health, the growing evidence strongly lies in favor of CBD consumption.
Can Improve Quality of Sleep
While more research is needed to conclusively support this benefit, growing evidence argues that CBD consumption can improve one’s quality of sleep. Cannabinoid acids may offset the uncomfortable symptoms of common sleep disorders based on clinical reviews of cannabinoid therapies to aid one’s sleep-wake cycle (12).
Are There Any Risks?
All medicinal practices come with risks, however, CBD poses a very low chance of adverse side effects. For one thing, CBD does not contain any of the intoxicating psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Therefore, users will not experience the typical ‘high’ associated with marijuana use. Furthermore, side effects are of little concern as they can be easily rectified in the odd chance of experiencing them from use.
Note the following side effects, and reduce or stop your CBD consumption if you experience these effects frequently:
- Changes to appetite
Should You Consume Cannabis to Combat a COVID-19 Infection?
Cannabis consumption, specifically CBD, can be a powerful strategy to support your health and wellbeing as research continues to showcase the many benefits associated with the cannabinoid and its cannabinoid acids. CBD consumption, alongside vaccination, a healthy diet and lifestyle, and regular exercise could greatly benefit the body. That said, the market is saturated with CBD products and many of them are low quality. Be sure to purchase your CBD products from reputable manufacturers. This will ensure that, if you do choose to consume CBD, you minimize risks and maximize efficacy.