Australian Scientists Find CBD Antibiotics Killed Bacteria Including Antibiotic-Resistant Strains

Australian scientists explore CBD antibiotics and how they might kill superbugs.Scientists in Australia found that CBD antibiotics killed bacteria including antibiotic-resistant strains. What’s more, those same strains didn’t develop any resistance to CBD antibiotics over time. That has created the possibility of a whole new class of drug to fight “superbugs”.

“We still don’t know how it works,” said lead researcher Mark Blaskovich. “It may have a unique mechanism of action given it works against bacteria that have become resistant to other antibiotics. We still don’t know how.”

Researchers tested the CBD antibiotics on “Gram-positive” bacteria. This family of bacteria includes staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus pneumonia, and E. faecalis. These can be life-threatening, especially in those with weak immune systems.

“So far, we have only shown it works topically, on the skin surface,” Blaskovich said. True CBD antibiotics would have to be developed to patients from the inside. “To be really useful, it would be good if we could show that it treated systemic infections.”

Research Still in Early Days

Dr. Andrew Edwards teaches at Imperial College London in the UK and reviewed the study. He emphasized that this type of research is still in its early stages. He also noted it’s only been shown to work with Gram-positive bacteria.

“It is not effective against Gram-negative bacteria, which are especially difficult to develop new antibiotics for,” Dr. Edwards said. “They have a very selective outer-membrane that prevents most drugs from entering the bacterial cell.”

Still, he sees a lot of potential for CBD antibiotics.

“The antibacterial properties of cannabidiol hadn’t been appreciated previously,” he said. “It’s significant that there appears to be activity against antibiotic-resistant strains.”

He added that if the research does work out, CBD antibiotics could hit the market sooner than other pharmaceuticals. “CBD is already well-characterized in terms of human use. This is important because… it could be fast-tracked into clinics.”

Scientists said the hardest part of the CBD antibiotic research was securing the permits (cannabis is still illegal in Australia). That isn’t so much of a problem in Canada, where cannabis is legalized. Already there are several research projects underway. One cannabis research project is investigating whether or not cannabis can replace opioids for pain relief in retired NHL players. Another scientist has recommend a collaborative health model for cannabis research. Now that researchers can openly talk about CBD use, they can share information to fast-track any advances. New drugs such as CBD antibiotics will be helping patients even faster.

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