COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- You'd think that marijuana and the COVID-19 virus would have nothing in common, but new research by an Oregon study shows otherwise.
The Oregon State Global Health Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute announced Wednesday that two specific compounds in marijuana have the potential to prevent people from contacting COVID.
According to the study, the specific source of the compounds is hemp -- a marijuana or cannabis plant largely used as a source of fiber, food and animal feed, and provides compounds often added to cosmetics, body lotions, dietary supplements.
The lab study found that the two compounds -- cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) -- block the process by which COVID infects people.
A member of the Oregon State research team said that the compounds have a history of safe use and can be used to prevent and treat COVID infections.
Giving the CBDA and CBGA supplements to people and comparing infection rates in those who use the compounds to those who don’t, weren't part of the study.
However, at least one company is already using the compounds to teat COVID patients.
Nesa's Hemp, a Chicago-area natural health business, said that key to the compound's effectiveness is extracting it from living hemp plants instead of dead plants, which increases the quality of the acids and strengthens the human immune system.
Inesa Ponomariovaite, the company's founder, said that she was the first in the U.S. to develop the compounds and provide them to customers even before the pandemic.
"I sell it to around 25 to 30 people every month," she said. "It's had great results in easing COVID symptoms, particularly in people with breathing issues. It can prevent contracting COVID because it strengthens the immune system and contributes to overall good health. I knew that it worked even before the study."
Ponomariovaite said that the compounds -- taken by placing several drops under the tongue -- are considered a supplement and not food or a drug, and as such aren't regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration.
"What we need is peer review of that study, and more studies, before people will readily accept the possibilities," she said.
Renze Waddington, owner of The Epic Remedy medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado Springs, said that the research doesn't surprise him.
"Marijuana is an amazing plant," he said. "It can do a lot of things. But it's too soon to say if the study will send more customers flocking in. Those compounds are a lot more expensive than traditional CBD because they're more concentrated and pure. And most people couldn't get them anyway, because the state doesn't allow COVID as a reason to apply for or use a red card to get it."
Waddington said that recreational marijuana dispensaries, and possibly drug stores and pharmacies, are more likely to be eventual locations for the compounds.