Researchers at Oregon State University have found that cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) “bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.” Yesterday, the researchers published their findings in a research paper, entitled “Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants” available here. According to Richard van Breemen, the leader of the study:
“Any part of the infection and replication cycle is a potential target for antiviral intervention, and the connection of the spike protein’s receptor binding domain to the human cell surface receptor ACE2 is a critical step in that cycle,” he said. “That means 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. They bind to the spike proteins so those proteins can’t bind to the ACE2 enzyme, which is abundant on the outer membrane of endothelial cells in the lungs and other organs.”
Read more at KVAL: OSU study: Compounds in hemp block COVID-19 from entering human cells.
While this is certainly exciting news for hemp industry, remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent dozens of warning letters to manufacturers of CBD products for making medical claims about their products. If claims are made about a CBGA or CBDA product’s ability to block COVID-19, even in light of this OSU report, the FDA will consider that product to be an unapproved drug. This is because the FDA determines what a drug is based on its intended use. Marketing claims, even those that simply mention a medical study without tying it to a specific product, can result in a product being classified as a drug. In the context of CBD, claims about CBD treating, preventing, curing, or mitigating COVID-19 have been a high priority for the FDA. It is very likely that the FDA will take the same approach to claims made about CBGA and CBDA, even in light of this incredible report from OSU.
If you have questions about how this OSU study impacts your ability to market hemp-derived products, contact our attorneys to set up a phone call.