“ Logic is a wonderful invention. It is so wonderful that people often confuse it with reason. Reason, however, requires meaning. Logic only requires consistency. ” – Jane Haddam
For some time now, as viral news that has only just arrived in Italy , an interesting scientific publication has been circulating. More precisely, at Oregon State University, researchers found that in in vitro models, precursor acids of active cannabinoids bind to the SARS-CoV2 Spike protein, making it difficult for the virion’s gene information to enter the cell.
For those who chew a bit of biochemistry and are passionate about the world of cannabis, put it this way is already good news and very clear. However, a problem is arising, and it is a problem characteristic of this peculiar age.
On the headlines around the world, however, the news appears as “ Smoking weed prevents contagion! “ .
But the headlines in these papers match what does the University of Oregon research result mean? The answer is no! We’ll explain why below, but first: don’t be discouraged! While it is true that we must pay close attention to sensational headlines, it is also true that cannabis is being studied , achieving excellent results, to fight COVID.
The state of disclosure, scientific and otherwise, concerning psychoactive plants and molecules is always studded with myths and legends , together with research results capable of completely changing existing paradigms. Most of the time, however, you risk giving too much credit to legends that sound easy to understand and that distort a truth, damaging it in its disclosure.
-> So can cannabis help fight COVID-19 or not?
It is evident from the experimental data that cannabis can be very helpful . To tell the truth, perhaps more in treating the symptoms and aftermath of the “Long Covid” than in preventing infection, at least considering in what mode of use it is most widespread. You can learn more about the topic in this article dating back to April 2021 .
-> Then the search results in Oregon are wrong?
The results come from serious and in-depth research , which will certainly be a basis for future increasingly detailed studies regarding the phytocomplex of cannabis . It’s all about results
reliable. What is wrong is the interpretation of the news outlets . Ignoring the difference between active cannabinoids and the corresponding precursor acids is a mistake that in full pandemic emergency, which has lasted for two years, would deserve instant removal from the register of journalists.
Acidic or non-acidic, this is the dilemma
The molecules studied for their effectiveness in hindering the onset of the SARS-CoV2 infection are the CBD-A, CBG-A and THC-A. They are the precursor acids of the most famous molecules CBD (Cannabidiol), CBG (Cannabigerol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
At this point, someone might realize that in laboratory analyzes with HPLC of cannabis light samples, THC-A is counted together with THC to get the total amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol present in the sample. We have described this issue in this other article on cannabinoid decarboxylation .
The reason is simple: heat is enough to convert cannabinoid acids into active cannabinoids . Consequently, if following the study we know that the inactive acids of cannabinoids hinder the virus, we know little or nothing about the combustion products of cannabis.
So yes, galenic preparations of cannabis are absolutely possible to reduce the possibility of contagion. But not with the molecules that grab the most attention! Or rather … not really!
In vitro, but in vivo?
Another issue to clarify about sensationalism is that what appears in vitro is still far from being an ideal model for understanding what happens in vivo. This type of results would require in-depth research with tests first on the animal model and then on humans so that it can be said with certainty that these cannabis compounds prevent contagion. Well, the effectiveness of cannabinoids as generic antiviral drugs, as they are tested in particular against Hepatitis C, shouldn’t be underestimated either.
More noteworthy therefore remains the anti-inflammatory action of cannabinoids active on the hyperproduction of interleukins . Here too, however, we are dealing with hypotheses on in vitro models. But at least supported by experimental successes in subsequent phases, at least as regards different pathologies but always mediated by the bombardment of the same interleukins involved in the Spike protein .
There is still a very relevant issue. A large mass of anecdotal statements about the effectiveness of cannabis in mitigating the symptoms of COVID could push research on the subject very far, remembering that we are in fact in an emergency situation that persists. However, this does not seem to be possible yet due to the fear of exposure that prohibition has ingrained in cannabis users.
It is therefore very important to clarify the state of scientific disclosure regarding cannabis, as disinformation is precisely and has always been the main weapon of prohibition . A phrase attributed to Oscar Wilde fits perfectly here:
“Never argue with an idiot, he drags you to his level and beats you with experience”.