The University of South Carolina researchers claim that cannabinoids have the potential to be a more effective alternative to antibiotics in treating a wide variety of infectious diseases, including multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. The team has found that certain cannabinoids, when applied to the skin, have the ability to destroy the tuberculosis pathogen known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. What’s more, the findings suggest that these cannabinoids may have applications in treating infections caused by bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, which are resistant to antibiotics.

What if a cannabis compound can kill bacteria by acting as an antibiotic? Sounds like a sci-fi movie, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Scientists are currently studying whether certain compounds found in cannabis can treat infections and other diseases.

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  • Research has shown that CBD can kill strains of bacteria that cause gonorrhea and other infections/diseases.
  • Gonorrhea is the second most common STI in Australia.

The public is well aware of the many health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). Retailers and pharmacies advertise this cannabis-based preparation as anti-inflammatory and analgesic. A new study by the University of Queensland and Botanix Pharmaceuticals Limited suggests this compound may do more. In fact, according to their publication in UQ News, CBD can kill the bacteria that cause a number of diseases, including gonorrhea, meningitis, and Legionnaires’ disease. This discovery could completely change the way we fight bacterial infections by opening up a new class of antibiotics. This is the first time in six decades that a new class has been introduced that will revolutionize natural solutions for these conditions. Dr. Mark Blaskovich, associate professor at UQ’s Institute for Molecular Biosciences, has found that CBD is able to kill many strains of bacteria, including those that cause gonorrhea. He pointed out, For the first time, CBD has been shown to kill certain types of gram-negative bacteria. These bacteria have an extra outer membrane, an extra line of defense that makes it difficult for antibiotics to penetrate. Given that gonorrhoea is the second most important sexually transmitted infection in Australia after chlamydia, this progress is significant. Before this study, doctors struggled to treat gonorrhea because of the antibiotic resistance of this strain. However, the defense does not oppose the use of CBD. It’s no secret that CBD is used to support and heal the immune system, but research has shown that other gram-positive bacteria also respond to it. For example, although MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is also resistant to antibiotics, CBD is quite effective in neutralizing it. When CBD is injected into a bacterium, it destroys a cluster of bacteria called a biofilm. The activity of the biofilm is very similar to that of dental plaque, which is why MRSA is so resistant to treatment. To understand how the bacteria changed, the research team created a replica of the patient’s two-week treatment in their lab and used CBD to kill the bacteria, Dr. Blaskovich said, Cannabidiol showed a slight tendency to induce resistance in bacteria, even when we accelerated its development potential by increasing the concentration of antibiotics during treatment. Based on what they say, the professor suggested, We think cannabidiol kills bacteria by breaking down their outer cell membranes, but we don’t know exactly how it does that yet, and we need to do more research. However, this does not mean that the researchers have stopped there. They also discovered that a small change in the molecular structure of this natural compound produces its chemical equivalents. When they used chemical analogs to treat the bacteria, Dr. Blaskovich noted, This is particularly interesting because no new molecular class of antibiotics has been discovered and approved for Gram-negative infections since the 1960s, and we can now look forward to the development of new CBD analogues with improved properties. This study provides an excellent opportunity to further investigate the use of CBD in antibacterial treatment. The spread of the pandemic only makes this need more apparent. Vince Ippolito, president and executive chairman of Botanix, is optimistic, noting, Congratulations to Dr. Blaskovich and his team for conducting this important study – the published data clearly confirms the potential of synthetic cannabinoids as antimicrobials. Ippolito also said that they are ready to create useful CBD-based treatments in the future, adding that this discovery is the breakthrough the world needs right now. Together, Botanix and the Institute have made far more progress than if Dr. Blaskovich and his team had worked without them. Botanix specializes in creating formulations that help better determine how CBD affects bacteria. In addition, Botanix can now use CBD to develop a topical formula that it uses in clinical trials to eliminate MRSA before patients undergo surgery. The results of these trials should be visible within a year, so that other bacterial infections can also be treated. Dr Blaskovich added: We have now established that cannabidiol is effective against these Gram-negative bacteria; we are studying the mechanism of action, improving the activity, and looking for other similar molecules to pave the way for a new class of antibiotics. The full study is available at doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01530-y.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does cannabis have antibiotic properties?

The topic of antibiotics is a common one in the media, and many people wonder if there are any ways to prevent or treat infections without resorting to traditional drugs. For those who are suffering from an infection, finding the right antibiotic can be a lifesaver. However, traditional antibiotics are responsible for killing off the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can have a detrimental effect on the natural balance of the body. As a result, some people argue that the best way to get rid of a bacterial infection is to take an antibiotic that is designed to kill off the bacteria without affecting the beneficial bacteria that keep the body healthy. Physicians have long classified the cannabis plant as a “schedule one” substance, meaning it is not recognized as having any medicinal value, and so it cannot be prescribed by a doctor for therapeutic purposes. This classification has caused many to lose hope in ever finding a medicinal application for the drug. However, a new study conducted by a team of researchers in Israel may have just changed the way we think of the plant and its effects on the body.

Is CBG antimicrobial?

A paper published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy reported that the common cannabinoid compound cannabigerol (CBG) is “highly antimicrobial”. The research was conducted by the scientists at the University of South Florida School of Pharmacy, and published in the academic journal. This cannabinoid is found in every well-bred marijuana plant, yet its antimicrobial properties have never been studied until now. There is a lot of hype surrounding the natural healing ability of cannabinoids. These molecules are found in marijuana and other plants, so it’s clear the market is intrigued. However, most studies have focused on cannabinoid-like molecules found in the cannabis plant, not on the active ingredient in the cannabis plant itself.

Is CBD an antibiotic?

A new study suggests that the cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) could be an effective antibiotic. Researchers at the University of South Florida stated that CBD has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is a derivative of cannabis and has been shown to act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety compound. While many studies have yet to be performed, early research has shown that CBD is an antibiotic. This offers promise in the treatment of bacterial infections, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and pneumonia.

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