Cannabidiol From Cannabis Could Be A Powerful New Antibiotic

Photo by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash

New research has found that the non-psychoactive compound extracted from the cannabis plant or Cannabidiol could potentially become a powerful new antibiotic.

The research presented at the ASM Microbe, an annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, found that Cannabidiol is active against Gram-positive bacteria, including those responsible for many serious infections such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae, with a potency similar to that of established antibiotics such as vancomycin or daptomycin.

Cannabis is considered legal across ten states in America because it promises to be a new source of drugs due to its medicinal properties that researchers are still to develop. Furthermore, it has shown that people can benefit from it for a variety of illnesses.

Since becoming legal, CBD is found to be effective against inflammation, anxiety, and some cases of Parkinson’s disease. Recently, researchers published a study indicating that the drug can help former drug addicts transition back to regular day-to-day life with the aid of CBD drugs. Furthermore, it has encouraged a slew of enterprises and businesses to focus on Cannabis and CBD to create new products.

Today, researchers are adding CBD as a possible powerful antibiotic to the list of medical benefits that the drug can offer. In a study, scientists found that CBD killed all the strains of bacteria that they tested it with on a lab, including some that are highly resistant to existing antibiotics.

In the experiment, scientists used CBD as a topical antibiotic (medicine placed on the skin’s surface such as creams) against Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus—causes conditions including the hospital bug MRSA—and Streptococcus pneumoniae—which leads to pneumonia—as well as E. faecalis, which can be life-threatening in those with weak immune systems.

In addition to the results, the researchers also found that the bacteria did not become resistant to the drug after being exposed for 20 days: the period when bacteria can survive some currently used drugs.

Study leader Mark Blaskovich, a senior research chemist at the Centre for Superbug Solutions, told Newsweek: “We still don’t know how it works, and it may have a unique mechanism of action given it works against bacteria that have become resistant to other antibiotics, but we still don’t know how.”

“So far, we have only shown it works topically, on the skin surface. To be really useful, it would be good if we could show that it treated systemic infections e.g. pneumonia, or complicated tissue infections, where you have to give it orally or by intravenous dosing. A very preliminary study didn’t show that it works in these more difficult models.”

Nevertheless, the study’s findings pose as another possible benefit factor to the drug in light of the current “global crisis” that antibiotics are facing says the World Health Organization (WHO). Particularly, bacteria is growing immune with the current antibiotics that’s available to the general public.

Ever since the WHO announcement in 2015, pharmaceutical companies have been finding ways of devising new antibiotics from different sources to combat the impending crisis that’s threatening thousands of lives.

In related news, researchers discovered that antibiotics levels found in the world’s rivers were at unsafe levels. This is largely a result of human waste ending up in the water systems. However, scientists warn that it could boost the current problem with how bacteria are growing resistant to drugs because of wildlife intervention.

CBD could help close the door on the threat with further development, given that it is already proving to be a pharmaceutical investment because of its health benefits.

In other publications, CBD is found to be the most proven with its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to anti-seizure medications. Harvard Health Publishing wrote that “in numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first-ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.”

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