As time passes and more research comes to light regarding COVID-19, additional research is also needed for cannabis and its various cannabinoids. Through new data, cannabis has shown that it has more to offer than the stigma it has been clouded by. In this interview, Inesa Ponomariovaite, founder of Nesas Hemp and a holistic health coach, discusses the untapped medicinal properties of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and cannabigerolic acid (CGBA) for COVID-19 prevention and treatment and why CBDA is the top cannabinoid.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Inesa Ponomariovaite: I was born and raised in Lithuania where I experienced many challenges as a child. In my early 20s, I immigrated to the US and settled in Chicago, Illinois. By working extremely hard, I was able to make my dreams come true, including launching Nesas Hemp, which is the world's first living, organic cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) hemp extract. Like many children, my dream was to make the world a better place, which is exactly what I am trying to do with Nesas Hemp. The medicinal and therapeutic properties of CBDA are helping people live happier and healthier lives thanks to its ability to reduce chronic aches and pains, promote better sleep, improve digestion, help stabilize moods, and ease mental tension.
How did you get involved in the cannabis and hemp industries?
Ponomariovaite: As a holistic coach, I grew frustrated by the lack of high-quality, organic products that my clients could use. This frustration boiled over after my mom was diagnosed with cancer because none of the cannabidiol (CBD) products that she used lived up to their promise. As a result, I decided to begin doing my own research. After visiting multiple facilities and many of the biggest companies in the industry, I discovered that many of the cannabis products on the market didn’t help improve people’s mental and physical health. The products were often mass-produced, used low-quality cannabis, and didn’t do what they claimed. After discovering this, I immediately knew I couldn’t risk my mom’s health and I didn’t want others to be in the same situation. After spending thousands of hours researching cannabis, including discussions with the world’s top cannabis researchers, I was able to produce a safer, purer, and more effective hemp product. Today, I feel at peace knowing that my product meets the highest quality standards and is good enough for my mother and other patients to use.
Can you tell us about your company you founded called Nesas Hemp?
Ponomariovaite: I am the creator, founder, and CEO of Nesas Hemp. Nesas Hemp provides CBDA hemp extract to help people improve their mental and physical health. For those who haven’t heard of CBD before, it is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Unlike THC, which is the chemical responsible for most of cannabis’s psychoactive effects, CBD is derived directly from the hemp plant during the extraction process or manufactured in a laboratory and does not cause psychoactive effects—in other words, it won’t cause you to get high. For many, CBD is associated with the healing properties of cannabis, whereas THC is the psychoactive property found in the plant.
While CBD has become popular among people looking for alternative therapies, in recent years, more and more research has shown that CBDA is much more effective than CBD. The big difference between CBD and CBDA is that most CBD products use extreme temperatures and other harmful processes to extract cannabinoids from the hemp plant through the extraction process, to produce hemp extract, also known as hemp oil. CBDA on the other hand, is a natural precursor cannabinoid to CBD and is found in unheated raw cannabis flowers. In fact, CBD is a compound formed in cannabis plants under certain influences like heat or solvent processes and doesn’t appear naturally in the plant. Put more simply—CBD is derived from CBDA.
This small, but significant difference is the driving force behind why I created Nesas Hemp,full-spectrum CBDA hemp extract. We are one of the few companies in the US that offer customers certified organic hemp oil made with CBDA, rather than CBD. Our product has been certified by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registered laboratories and includes a safety seal to ensure the product is safe. Nesas Hemp is created through a unique process to preserve all the healing compounds of the hemp plant, which helps to restore the body to its natural state and promote healing.
Researchers from Oregon State University recently published a study in Journal of Nature Products (1,2) about two cannabinoids—cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and cannabigerolic acid (CBGA)—preventing COVID-19 infection. Can you tell us about some of the study’s findings?
Ponomariovaite: I always knew that the initial form of cannabinoids CBDA and cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) were much more effective than regular CBD at improving people’s mental and physical health, including their immune system. That’s why I created Nesas hemp extract years ago, while the entire industry was focused on CBD. The study done by researchers at Oregon State University underscores what I’ve known for years—CBDA has medicinal properties. The big takeaway from this study, however, is that the compounds that help prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells are CBGA and CBDA, not the generic CBD compounds that are found in so many hemp products today. That's because CBGA and CBDA are produced using raw, living hemp, which ensures the healthy compounds that naturally occur in the plant end up in the final product that is eventually consumed by people. Regular CBD products are often made by burning the plant, which is not only carcinogenic but also damages the molecular structure of the plant and changes its medicinal properties. In fact, research shows CBDA is 1,000 times more potent than CBD and helps reduce inflammation, improve digestion, improve sleep, and can stabilize moods.
How do you feel this helps cannabis shed its negative image?
Ponomariovaite: This study adds to the growing body of evidence that shows CBDA has medicinal properties that can help people live happier and healthier lives. I have seen firsthand the benefits of CBDA that have helped people improve their health, from relieving chronic aches and pains to easing their mental tension and improving their mood. I expect that more studies like this will continue to show us that CBDA is an effective alternative to traditional pharmaceutical drugs that often have unwanted side effects.
How did providing COVID-19 patients with the cannabinoid, CBDA, help them get better?
Ponomariovaite: While I was not part of the study, nor am I a doctor, people who have had COVID-19 and used our CBDA hemp extra have reported improvement in their breathing, fewer body aches, and faster recovery times. Some people that used our hemp extract consistently before getting COVID-19 also reported very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
Why is CBDA better to use than other traditional CBD or other cannabinoid products?
Ponomariovaite: There has been a lot of research over the past few years that shows CBDA is more effective than regular CBD. One study indicated that CBDA was shown to have an affinity as compared to processed CBD (5). The 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptor is the active target for the popular class of antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Several studies also report CBDA is a superior anti-nausea and anti-emetic agent compared to CBD. The action of CBDA on the serotonin system measures 1,000 times more potent than that of CBD, and so may play an important role in helping cancer patients survive treatment and feel better while reducing potential drug interactions and side effects. CBDA and THCA can begin breaking down at high temperatures (above the boiling point of water) and exposure to the elements; therefore, products containing CBDA must be produced, shipped, and stored gently, in cool, airtight containers without exposure to daylight. When it comes to hemp for health, the wisdom is in the living plant, with the quality and purity shown best in the certificate of authentication (CoA) essay numbers. The best products will always be the ones with the best balance of the right compounds and none of the wrong ones.
Have you seen other benefits to using cannabis in the COVID-19 pandemic?
Ponomariovaite: Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans have reported increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness and it’s likely to only get worse as the pandemic drags on. In fact, last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that at least 41 percent of US adults struggled with their mental health, with 31 percent reporting anxiety symptoms because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pharmaceuticals, such as sleep aids and anti-anxiety or anti-depression medications might be effective for some; however, the negative side effects and the possibility of addiction are common fears and occurrences. Because of the negative side effects from over-the-counter medications, many Americans are choosing alternative therapies such as hemp-based products that include CBD and, more recently, CBDA. While CBD has become popular among people looking for alternative therapies, in recent years, more and more research has shown that CBDA is much more effective than CBD.
Since launching the product, it has been used by thousands of people worldwide to help them deal with a wide range of mental health challenges, including helping to promote better sleep, stabilize their moods, ease mental tension, increase focus, and help cope with stress. The health benefits offered by Nesas Hemp are also backed by a growing body of research that shows products that use CBDA can help improve the amount of serotonin activity in the brain, which helps to moderate emotions and balance people’s moods. CBDA has also been shown to have 100 times the serotonin receptor (5-HT) affinity compared to processed CBD.
What would you like to see change in the cannabis industry in the next 5 years?
Ponomariovaite: I would love to see more people understand the medicinal and therapeutic value of CBDA. Our world is inundated with traditional pharmaceutical drugs, and I firmly believe that there are plenty of alternative therapies such as CBDA that can help people live happier and healthier lives without the negative side effects caused by traditional drugs. I would also like to see the cannabis industry put people ahead of profits and produce better quality products. This will likely require more regulation and a push from consumers for more transparency.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Ponomariovaite: I hope more and more people will soon realize how powerful CBDA is for the mind, body, and soul, and that if used consistently, it can help people live happier and healthier lives. To learn more about Nesas Hemp and why CBDA is better for you than CBD please visit my website or follow us on Instagram or Facebook.