Assessment of antiviral potencies of cannabinoids against SARS-CoV-2 using computational and in vitro approaches

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules“Effective treatment choices to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) are limited because of the absence of effective target-based therapeutics. The main object of the current research was to estimate the antiviral activity of cannabinoids (CBDs) against the human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

In the presented research work, we performed in silico and in vitro experiments to aid the sighting of lead CBDs for treating the viral infections of SARS-CoV-2. Virtual screening was carried out for interactions between 32 CBDs and the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro enzyme. Afterward, in vitro antiviral activity was carried out of five CBDs molecules against SARS-CoV-2.

Interestingly, among them, two CBDs molecules namely Δ (Yu et al., 2020 [9])-tetrahydrocannabinol (IC50 = 10.25 μM) and cannabidiol (IC50 = 7.91 μM) were observed to be more potent antiviral molecules against SARS-CoV-2 compared to the reference drugs lopinavir, chloroquine, and remdesivir (IC50 ranges of 8.16-13.15 μM). These molecules were found to have stable conformations with the active binding pocket of the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro by molecular dynamic simulation and density functional theory.

Our findings suggest cannabidiol and Δ (Yu et al., 2020 [9])-tetrahydrocannabinol are possible drugs against human coronavirus that might be used in combination or with other drug molecules to treat COVID-19 patients.”

“In summary, this report demonstrates the antiviral potencies of CBD and Δ9-THC against SARS-CoV-2. Based on privileged safety index CBD and Δ9-THC in human and their current in vitro potencies against SARS-CoV-2, it can be concluded that these compounds are potential antiviral molecules towards SARS-CoV-2 and may have worked as dual-acting against SARS-CoV-2, not only block the viral translation procedure by inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 Mpro but also reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines levels in lung cells by acting as agonists of CB-2 receptor. The successful in vitro work here of CBD and Δ9-THC lays the framework for their application in human clinical trials for the treatment of human coronavirus infections. Thus, CBD and Δ9-THC may be used in combination or with other drugs to treat COVID-19 patients.”

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