Efficacy of hemp cannabinoids on COVID-19 will be tested ‘very soon,’ researcher says

Pre-clinical studies testing hemp-derived cannabinoids to block COVID-19 from entering human cells will occur within a few months, according to the Oregon State University scientist who led groundbreaking research.

Richard van Breeman, a researcher with Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, the College of Pharmacy and the Linus Pauling Institute, announced Monday that trials could involve both cell cultures and animal models to test the safety and efficacy of a new drug candidate.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires pre-clinical studies before any human clinical trials can begin, van Breeman said.

“We need pre-clinical trials to prove the efficacy of what we discovered, and I think that will happen very soon, in the next few months,” he said.

The study, released earlier this month, has drawn significant attention worldwide, including contacts from several companies interested in collaborating with Oregon State for further work on the CBDA and CBGA compounds from hemp, acids that are abundant in hemp and hemp extracts.

The university has not said where it is sourcing the hemp compounds for its research.

The news of the pre-clinical trials follows a warning by researchers and industry leaders cautioning cannabis entrepreneurs against promoting cannabinoid products based on the early research findings.