A new study from Canada suggests that cannabis extracts containing THC and CBD could prevent the novel coronavirus from infecting human cells.
The study, published online at Preprints, was conducted by a team of biologists licensed to grow marijuana and hemp under a Health Canada research license. Using 13 different cannabis oils extracted from newly developed strains, the team discovered that certain oils containing the cannabinoids CBD and THC could lower human cell production of two key proteins that serve as gateways for COVID-19 virus to enter the body and cause infection.
Scientists believe that the novel coronavirus primarily spreads when infected individuals talk or breathe within six feet of other people. The moisture droplets that exit the infected person’s mouth travel by air and are inhaled or swallowed by other people in proximity. As the virus travels into a new host’s throat or sinuses (and possibly even the digestive system), it stabs its “corona” spikes into a cellular protein found throughout the body called ACE2.
Another protein made by the body, TMPRSS2, essentially turns the coronavirus spike into a chainsaw, ripping the cell open and allowing the virus to enter. Once the virus is inside of a human cell, it hijacks the cell’s DNA and forces the cell to produce so many copies of the virus that the cell eventually explodes, releasing a swarm of new coronaviruses that go on to infect even more of the host’s cells.
Studies that predate COVID-19 suggest that cannabinoids can “tune down” the genes that produce, regulate, and activate both ACE2 and TMPRSS2. In other words, weed oils could basically block the coronavirus from being able to infect people altogether.