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By: The Villages | Feb 02, 2022

Eat Hemp Greens to Protect Against Viruses

The peer-reviewed study revealed that a pair of cannabinoid acids block the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the emerging variants, from entering human cells. This occurs by binding to the virus’s spike protein, which is the same drug target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy. The cell entry point is where antibodies attack the virus. What does this mean in layman’s terms? These naturally occurring cannabinoids can help prevent and fight COVID-19 infections by blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.

The excitement that ensued after the publishing of the study led to a litany of social media shares with readers proclaiming sentiments like: “Avoid the shot, just smoke pot!” Unfortunately, many of these eager readers clicked those share buttons without taking the time to read past the headlines. The rub? The study did not include THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Rather, the findings focused on two compounds in cannabis sativa, or hemp, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), the raw forms of CBG and the more popular CBD.

The lead researcher, Dr. Richard Van Breeman, said in a news release: “These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts. They are not controlled substances like THC and have a good safety profile in humans. And our research showed the hemp compounds were equally effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including variant B.1.1.7 and variant B.1.351.”

Those two variants are also known as the alpha and beta variant, respectively.

He added, “These variants are well known for evading antibodies against early lineage SARS-CoV-2, which is obviously concerning given that current vaccination strategies rely on the early lineage spike protein as an antigen. Our data show CBDA and CBGA are effective against the two variants we looked at, and we hope that trend will extend to other existing and future variants.”

CBGA is often referred to as the “Mother of all cannabinoids” because it is the precursor to all other cannabinoids in hemp plants. Without CBGA, there is no CBD, CBDA or THC.

As such, young hemp plants contain higher amounts of CBGA than fully developed plants, cue hemp microgreens. CBDA is found in the stems, leaves and flowers of a hemp plant.

Research has shown, in addition to COVID-19 prevention, both CBDA and CDGA have been found helpful in battling inflammation, nausea, seizures and the spread of cancer cells. Earlier published research also identified cannflavins, a group of flavonoids unique to hemp, as a safe therapy against COVID-19.
Synergistically, these compounds have an enhanced effect then when isolated. This is yet another nod to eating hemp greens or hemp microgreens.

Of note, the “A” in these active compounds stands for an acid group, a carboxylic acid — that can be removed upon treatment. If the hemp plant is smoked, vaped or baked, the heat exposure removes the acid group. This decarboxylation process transforms CBD-A to CBD, CBG-A to CBG and so on. However, if hemp is consumed in its raw unprocessed state, the acidic cannabinoids remain intact. So, while the buzz may be high on THC and CBD oil, when it comes to keeping “The Vid” at bay, eating raw or slightly steamed hemp greens is the winner.

Villages Grown has launched a new line of Hemp Healthy Greens, so there are several ways you can add this awesome superfood into your diet and help protect yourself against COVID, including:
salads; salad dressings; cold sauces; garnishes; lightly steamed leaves; lightly sautéed leaves; juices; smoothies; and tinctures.

Hemp greens and hemp leaves can be refrigerated like any other herb or leafy vegetable. For best results, keep them in a crisper and consider wrapping them in kitchen cloth.

Hemp greens can be chopped up and used like any other herb, such as parsley or oregano, to add flavor and increase the nutrient profile of a dish.

You can find Villages Grown local produce and plant-forward artisanal items at the following retailers in The Villages:

The Villages Grown Retail Store at Brownwood Paddock Square, 2666 W Torch Lake Drive, The Villages;
Publix Super Markets throughout The Villages; Earth Fare, 655 N. Highway 27-441, Lady Lake; and Various restaurants within The Villages.

You also can now have Villages Grown produce boxes and healthy, ready-to-eat meals delivered right to your doorstep on a weekly basis through our partnership with Heirloom by Puff N’ Stuff. Visit https://orderheirloom.com/pages/villages-grown.

Jaime Giroux, Senior Technology Manager at The Villages Grown