New Study Finds Cannabis Compounds Fight COVID Infection

Written by Nick Congleton

With COVID-19 still spreading and new variants outpacing vaccination rates, researchers are looking into alternative ways to treat and manage COVID. Recently, a group of researchers tested the potential of certain compounds found in the cannabis sativa plant for their potential in neutralizing the virus that causes COVID.

What they found was remarkable potential for treating and preventing COVID across all known strains. The cannabinoids, CBGA and CBDA both prevented the COVID virus from infecting healthy cells. [1]


Cannabis Compounds and COVID Protection

The authors of the recent study were looking for plant-based compounds that could bind to a protein on the COVID virus called a spike protein. The spike protein is used by the virus to bind to and infect healthy human cells. If a compound binds to the spike protein before it can attach to a cell, the virus become unable to cause infection. [1]

In their initial tests, the researchers placed a range of cannabinoids in a solution with the protein found in the COVID virus and the protein it binds to in human cells.  They found that CBDA, CBGA, and THCA all prevented the COVID proteins from binding to the cellular ones. [1].

From there, they continued their testing with only CBDA and CBGA because, “THCA-A is a controlled substance, insufficient quantities were available for determination of binding affinity or antiviral activity.” [1]

The researchers tested the infection-blocking capabilities of CBDA and CBGA with live SARS-CoV-2 virus and cells proven especially susceptible to infection.  Once again, they found that, “As in the pseudovirus neutralization assay, CBDA and CBGA prevented SARS-CoV-2 entry into Vero E6 cells…” [1]

In order to address the current and emerging variants of the COVID virus, the researchers also tested the cannabis compounds with several of the variants and found similar results. [1]


Will Consuming Cannabis Prevent COVID?

So, will consuming cannabis prevent COVID infection? Probably not. The research was conducted on CBDA and CBGA. These are the acids present in the cannabis plant prior to decarboxylation, the process of turning compounds like CBDA and THCA into the CBD and THC most people associate with cannabis. So, the usual methods of cannabis consumption probably won’t get you enough of the compounds in the study to make a difference in fighting COVID.

With that said, CBDA and CBGA are naturally present in cannabis flower before it is smoked or undergoes the process of decarboxylation for use in other products.  So, getting CBDA and CBGA from the cannabis plant shouldn’t be too difficult.  In fact, it should theoretically require fewer steps than extracting CBD for current products.


Potential for Future Treatments

More research is definitely needed, but the results are promising. If more research corroborates what this team found, it could point to a simple, natural way to fight COVID in addition to the existing vaccines and treatments.

Since CBDA and CBGA are found in the very same plants CBD is derived from, not only is the supply already readily available and well-tested for safety, it is legal on the federal level. Both compounds could be used in supplements much like CBD currently is, again allowing for a convenient and natural guard against the virus.



1- van Breemen RB, Muchiri RN, Bates TA, et al. Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants [published online ahead of print, 2022 Jan 10]. J Nat Prod. 2022;acs.jnatprod.1c00946. doi:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00946

About the author

Nick Congleton