You’ve probably seen the flurry of news reports proclaiming that “cannabis compounds may stop COVID-19 infection.”
Few companies are more committed to exploring the curative potential of cannabinoids than we are. After all, we were making CBD products long before it was fashionable or even unambiguously legal.
We were also among the first to theorize that cannabinoids might be helpful for COVID. In March 2020, Care By Design’s Tiffany Devitt co-authored this article with Martin Lee at Project CBD where they speculated that if COVID’s lethality was the result of a hyper-inflammatory cytokine storm, as Science Daily reported, then cannabidiol might help because of its anti-inflammatory properties.1,2
So, we would be delighted if cannabis compounds were shown to fight COVID.
But we’re going to be real with you. This much talked about new study does not say that smoking weed prevents or cures COVID. What the study does say (to be exact) is: “Cannabinoid acids from Cannabis sativa were found to be allosteric as well as orthosteric ligands with micromolar affinity for the spike protein.”
Huh? What exactly does that mean for you as a CBD consumer?
Basically, that means that these scientists looked at how CBDA, CBGA, and THCA, three non-psychoactive cannabinoid acids, interact with COVID molecules in a petri dish. The scientists observed that these cannabis compounds bind to the COVID virus proteins outside the human body, making it more difficult for the virus to penetrate human cells. It’s important to know though, that what happens in the petri dish, sometimes stays in the petri dish. It doesn’t always translate to animal models. And often what happens in animal models doesn’t translate to human models. The point is, the research is exciting, but we’re far from proving anything.
That brings us to the next question: What are CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) and CBGA (cannabigerolic acid)? Are they found in all hemp and cannabis products, or just some? When most people hear “cannabinoid” they think THC or CBD. CBDA and CBGA are among the hundreds of lesser-known or “minor” cannabinoids.3
Not all the “minors” are present in every strain and very few are included in products manufactured from cannabis or hemp plants. In fact, big hemp companies often advertise their products as “pure” or “isolate” CBD. In other words, they actually brag about the fact that they don’t include the beneficial terpenes, flavonoids, minor cannabinoids, and cannabinoid acids! Weird.
Cannabinoids also come in different forms. CBDA and THCA are the precursor or “acid” forms of CBD and THC.4 The conversion from the acid form to the neutral form happens when the substance is heated.5 Historically, there has been limited research on CBDA, THCA, and other cannabinoid acids but that’s quickly changing.6,7,8 Emerging pre-clinical data suggest they could be effective for nausea,9,10 inflammation,11,12 and – who knows – perhaps even COVID though it’s too early to tell.13,14,15
Despite their promise, the raw acid forms of cannabinoids are rarely included in CBD products. That’s because it’s expensive: Including them requires a dual-processing method where some of the CBD is heated and decarboxylated, and some of it is preserved in the acid form. Mixing numerous plant-derived cannabinoids in precise ratios and doses also requires a lot of testing and complex formulation, which take time, care, and expertise.
We think it’s worth it. Last year we reformulated our product line for the first time in eight years to include acidic cannabinoids, in particular, CBDA and THCA (neither of which is intoxicating). We’re proud to say Care By Design is one of the few brands in which you’ll find these important cannabis compounds today.
To sum it up, as we enter the third year of this global pandemic, here’s what we know:
So, moving into 2022, let’s be smart and be safe: Please take really good care of yourself and those around you, and fortify your health with a daily dose of high quality cannabinoids. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to offer you the very best in CBD care – and an always-honest-look at the research.
The Care By Design family
P.S. Want more? Click to download our Cannabis Wellness Guide here. It’s free.