Cannabidiol with its new and unbelievable medical properties is reaching new heights. Well-known for its potential in reducing epileptic seizures and other health issues like stress, anxiety, depression, and more, this cannabinoid has made another major milestone in the medical industry. New research has emerged on the antibacterial activity of this cannabinoid. But the latest study was done in this regard state that CBD may be the next superbug fighter even for antibiotic-resistant bacteria also known as superbugs.
In this study, the researchers tested CBD against a variety of bacteria, including the ones that have become resistant to antibiotics. This study was considered an important step as the levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is reaching high levels, according to the reports of WHO. Source
CBD As A Superbug Fighter
If you are unaware of the term superbugs, these are strains of bacteria that have become resistant to the majority of antibiotics. These resistant bacteria can cause diseases like pneumonia, skin infections and urinary tract infections to name a few.
Cannabidiol or CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid extracted from cannabis-based hemp plants. This cannabinoid is different from regular marijuana as it does not produce any high when consumed. So far, the FDA has approved Epidiolex, a CBD based medication for treating severe and rare forms of seizure. Although, it is promoted for relieving many other health benefits ranging from pain, inflammation, appetite, sleep and skin issues.
This study was presented on Sunday by Mark Blaskovich, PhD, senior research officer in the annual meeting of American Society for Microbiology. This research includes work in test tubes and animal models and should be viewed as preliminary until published.
“The first thing we looked at is CBD’s ability to kill bacteria,” he says. “In every case, CBD had a very similar potency to that of common antibiotics.”
The researchers firstly tested CBD against few strains of Staphylococcus bacteria, which causes skin infections and streptococcus bacteria which causes strep throat.
The effectiveness of CBD was compared to common antibiotics that are usually used to treat such infections such as vancomycin and daptomycin.
Furthermore, CBD also destroyed the biofilm (known as the layer of “goop”) around the bacteria which makes it difficult for the antibiotic to penetrate and kill the resistant bacteria.
Finally, Blaskovich conforms, “CBD is much less likely to cause resistance than the existing antibiotics”.
“It is selective for the type of bacteria,” he says.
CBD was found effective against gram-positive bacteria and not gram-negative ones. The first ones cause serious skin infections and pneumonia, among other conditions while the second one (including Salmonella and E.Coli) cause conditions like UTI, diarrhoea, etc.
There was one more study presented in the meeting in which the researchers tested topical CBD (CBD which is applied on the skin), to treat a skin infection on mice. As a result, CBD topical cut the number of bacteria after 48 hours of its application, although it did not clear the infection and this research is ongoing.
What The Future Holds?
The researchers could not say exactly how this cannabinoid may prove effective against superbug infection.
“We thought it might work by damaging the outer membrane of the bacteria, to make it leaky,” Blaskovich says. “It doesn’t seem to do that. It might be a completely new mechanism of action.”
According to Blaskovich, the results of the research are promising but in the early stages. He also warns people that it’s too early to self-treat infections with CBD.
This new study was funded by Botanix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., which is already researching uses of CBD for skin issues, and the Australian government, Blaskovich is a consultant for Botanix.
The Word Of Caution
Though, this study is at a preliminary stage but is also very promising.
Not only CBD showed effective against such resistant bacteria, but also disrupted the biofilm.
According to Brandon Novy, a microbiology researcher at Reed College in Portland, OR, “The biofilm is an important part of the whole infection process,”. “It helps the bacteria attach [to whatever surface or host] and survive.”
He himself also presented a preliminary study at the meeting, that showed the promising nature of CBD in fighting gram-negative infections as well.
Moreover, Amesh Adalja, MD at the Johns Hopkins Center For Health Security also considered this study important saying, ” It is an important study that deserves to be followed up on.
Though he was not involved in the new study but cautions that, “it is important to keep it all in context. I think it is a good thing that people are looking at the use of CBD for infectious uses in a systematic way.”
However, this work has so far been done in test tubes animals. There are many questions that remain unanswered, such as looking at whether it’s toxic, its best dose and the best way to deliver it, Adalja cautions.
The incredible properties of CBD have made it one of the highly researched cannabinoids in the last few years. This study though at a preliminary stage is definitely a promising one. Though a lot needs to be done in this regard we can conclude that CBD topicals can be used to treat different skin infections. If taken in proper dosages, this cannabinoid can be highly effective and free of any major side effects.