I've been using CBD oil and capsules for quite a while. So I got excited yesterday when I saw reports of an Oregon State University study that found precursors to CBD, CBDA and CBGA, prevented Covid infection in a laboratory study of cells.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Hemp compounds identified by Oregon State University research via a chemical screening technique invented at OSU show the ability to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells.
Findings of the study led by Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute, were published today in the Journal of Natural Products.
Hemp, known scientifically as Cannabis sativa, is a source of fiber, food and animal feed, and multiple hemp extracts and compounds are added to cosmetics, body lotions, dietary supplements and food, van Breemen said.
Van Breemen and collaborators, including scientists at Oregon Health & Science University, found that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.
The compounds are cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, CBDA, and the spike protein is the same drug target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy. A drug target is any molecule critical to the process a disease follows, meaning its disruption can thwart infection or disease progression.
“These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” van Breemen said. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans. 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.”
Those two variants are also known the alpha and beta variant, respectively.
But since the news release spoke of CBGA and CBDA being precursors to CBD, this paragraph caused me to wonder whether the CBD drops and capsules I'd been taking were Covid fighters.
“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” van Breemen said. “They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2. CBDA and CBGA are produced by the hemp plant as precursors to CBD and CBG, which are familiar to many consumers. However, they are different from the acids and are not contained in hemp products.”
So last night I emailed the folks at Sunsoil, a Vermont company where I've been buying CBD, asking if their products contained CBDA and CBGA. They replied promptly today, referencing a news story I'd sent them about the OSU study.
Following the link in the email message, I checked out the lab results for the Sunsoil CBD drops I've been taking with 20 mg of CBD in a serving. Here's a table of what they contained.
The easiest way to look at this, assuming I'm reading the table correctly, which I think I am, is that the sample totaled 27.55 mg of Cannabinoids, with 22.43 mg being CBD. There was 1.83 mg of CBDA in the sample, and just a trace amount of CBGA, not enough to measure.
So, hey, almost 2 mg of CBDA is better than nothing, Covid-fighting-wise, but pretty minimal. That led me to a Google search for real CBDA or CBGA.
I focused on CBDA, since there seemed to be more sellers of this. Montkush has a detailed description of CBDA, which educated me about this CBD precursor. Excerpt:
What Is CBDA?
All cannabinoids in cannabis and hemp come from cannabigerolic acid (CBGa), the mother of all cannabinoids.
Plant enzymes then convert the CBGa into a combination of the three major cannabinoid precursor compounds: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). The combination will depend on the unique cannabis strain they are derived from.
CBDA is a non-psychoactive compound that serves as a precursor to CBD. More specifically, CBDA is decarboxylated to create CBD, meaning it is heated. This can happen instantly if smoked or vaped, or slowly if the plant material is left to dry in the sun or even at room temperature.
Cannabidiolic acid can, therefore, be thought of as raw CBD. CBDA is most often found in the live or raw hemp plants bred for high CBD levels.
Cannabidiolic acid is often consumed as CBD, but it can also be beneficial in its raw form. CBDA oil can be consumed or absorbed via tinctures, raw cannabis juice, topical creams, and raw CBDA oil.
To date, CBDA has attracted much less public attention and is seen less on the market. However, the raw juicing cannabis trend is bringing CBDA into the spotlight. People are wondering about the differences between CBD and CBDA and if CBDA is better than CBD.
So is it?
Let’s take a look.
The Differences Between CBDA & CBD
The major difference between CBDA and CBD is actually the amount of heat applied to the substance.
As we mentioned, the main difference is that CBDA is a precursor to CBD. You create CBD by heating CBDA or raw CBD.
While research in CBDA is in much earlier stages than even CBD, we know that they share some similarities.
Unfortunately, Monkush was sold out of CBDA. I signed up for an email alert for when it is expected to be available at the end of January.
I had better luck with Myriam's Hemp, which offered CBDA oil. I also got some from FluxxLab, even though their ordering process was frustrating. The box I had to check to agree to the terms of service didn't work with Safari or Chrome, but using Firefox enabled me to make an order.
Of course, the OSU study was just laboratory research. There's no evidence, so far as I know, that CBDA prevents Covid in humans. But I figure that taking some CBDA won't hurt me, and it may have a placebo effect.
I also read that CBDA has a much stronger antidepressant effect that CBD, so if I do get Covid, hopefully I won't feel as sad about that.