A new study has found that the cannabinoids CBDa and CBGa may prevent and treat Covid-19, including new variants.
CBDa and CBGa are the precursors to more commonly known cannabinoids CBD and CBG, which are found in many hemp-derived products sold in health shops and online in the UK.
CBDa and CBGa can be more difficult to find, however. But there are a few options I’m aware of, which will be listed later on in this article.
But first, let’s take a look at what the study found, what CBDa and CBGa are, and then where you can find the two cannabinoids on sale in the UK.
What the new study found
Published Monday in the Journal of Natural Products, the study found that two cannabinoids – cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, CBDA – bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking “entry of live SARS-CoV-2 into cells” and preventing infection.
The researchers also found the cannabinoids to be “equally effective” against new 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.”
The study concluded: “Orally bioavailable and with a long history of safe human use, these cannabinoids, isolated or in hemp extracts, have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2.”
THCa, the precursor to THC, is also suspected to be active against the virus, although testing it was not possible due to the fact that THCa readily converts to THC, which is federally illegal in the U.S, upon heating.
Speaking to Vice, lead author of the study Dr. Richard van Breemen, said, ”We think the mixture of cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A), cannabigerolic acid (CBG-A), and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A) would be more effective than any one of them alone.”
It should be noted that the experiment was conducted in a test tube/petri dish and not in a human subject, which means, while the results are certainly promising, they may not translate to humans.
CBDa and CBGa explained
CBDa and CBGa are the acidic precursors to CBD and CBG. They convert (via decarboxylation) under heat, meaning smoking or vaping CBDa or CBGa will convert it to CBD and CBG.
Both CBDa and CBGa are common in hemp and in many hemp extracts, but most finished products will generally have decarbed cannabinoids rather than in their acidic form.
CBDa and CBGa have been found to have health-boosting properties in previous research, including anti-inflammatory effects. It’s even been reported that CBDa is a more potent anti-inflammatory than CBD.
Neither CBDa or CBGa are considered psychotropic or controlled substances in the UK. They both also have a good safety profile in humans.
Best way to consume cannabinoid acids for COVID
Commenting on how best to use cannabinoid acids for protection against COVID infection, Dr van Breemen said: “I envision oral administration in the form of a dietary supplement like a pill or an oil or a gummy, something like that.
“We all know that if we get exposed, we go to meet a friend and the friend tells us later they’ve tested positive for COVID. Then, we’re all worried about getting sick. That’s the time I would recommend taking a supplement that has the capability of preventing infection.
“But I don’t advocate these particular compounds as a treatment or cure for someone who’s hospitalized and severely ill.”
Will smoking CBD/CBG flower work?
CBDa and CBGa will convert under heat to CBD and CBG respectively. Therefore, smoking or vaping cannabis with CBDa or CBGa won’t be as effective as consuming the raw acidic cannabinoids.
However, when asked about the effects of smoking cannabis, Dr van Breeman has said he and his team of researchers “expect it would have a reduced effect.”
List of best CBDa and CBGa products in UK
These capsules from the ever reliable Ice Head Shop contain 10mg of CBDa each (30 capsules in a packet). The CBDa is part of a full spectrum hemp extract, which includes other cannabinoids, terpenes and other cannabis compounds.
Easy to take (best alongside fatty food) and precisely dosed, these CBDa capsules would be a wise addiction to your daily health care regime in light of recent research mentioned above.
This ‘artisanal’ CBDa oil has 500mg of CBD/CBDa (exact ratio not known) as well as traces amounts of additional cannabinoids including CBGa and CBG in a 20ml bottle.
Due to its cold-pressed nature, it has quite a strong cannabis flavour profile thanks to high levels of terpenes.
These full spectrum capsules are made from organic hemp with naturally high levels of CBDa (540mg/9.6mg per cap) and CBD (50mg/0.8mg per cap), along with additional cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other beneficial compounds.