Can Cannabidiol Fight Drug-Resistant Gram-Positive Bacteria?


"Cannabidiol possesses surprisingly effective activity as an antibiotic, comparable to widely used antibiotics for gram-positive infections such as vancomycin and daptomycin, but with retention of activity against bacteria that have become resistant to these drugs", the investigators wrote. "The mixture of inherent antimicrobial exercise and the potential to scale back harm attributable to the inflammatory response to infections is especially attractive".

Cannabidiol was found to retain its activity against bacteria that have become resistant to other antibiotics, and under extended exposure to conditions that lead to resistance against certain antibiotics cannabidiol did not lose effectiveness.

Based on their findings reported at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology the researchers concluded, "Cannabidiol was remarkably effective at killing a range of Gram-positive (but not Gram-negative) bacteria, with broth microdilution MICs similar to clinical antibiotics such as vancomycin and daptomycin". It also successfully disrupted biofilms, a form of bacterial growth that usually causes infections that are hard to treat.

According to the research presented at the "ASM Microbe 2019" Cannabidiol has been approved by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of a form of epilepsy, and is being investigated for a number of other medical conditions, including, anxiety, pain, and inflammation. Overuse and misuse have resulted in infections that simply do not respond to traditional treatments.

Superbugs are bacteria that have grown resistant to traditional antibiotics, oftentimes leaving healthcare professionals scrambling to treat infections.

However, the study, conducted in collaboration with Botanic Pharmaceuticals Ltd., did show that CBD has antibiotic effects against several Gram-positive bacteria, including types of staph and strep bacteria.

Commenting on how the drug functions, Blaskovich says the team still do not know how it works: "What may be really exciting, but we don't know yet, is how it works".

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.

Blaskovich also stated that the results have only been observed in tests with mice, so people shouldn't be making the jump from traditional antibiotics to CBD just yet.

A growing number of infections, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea and salmonellosis, are becoming more hard to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective, the organization says.