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Research Is Showing That Cannabis Can Help Fight Infections

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A compound made by cannabis plants has been found to wipe out drug-resistant bacteria, suggesting that it could be used as a weapon  in the fight against superbugs.

Scientists looked at five cannabis compounds for their antibiotic properties and found that cannabigerol (CBG), was quite potent at killing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), one of the most common hospital superbugs we know of.

CBG is not psychoactive, and the lab showed that it killed common MRSA microbes and “persister” cells that are very resistant to antibiotics and that often drive repeat infections. How amazing is that? The compound also cleared up hard-to-shift “biofilms” of MRSA that can form on the skin and on medical implants.

As The Guardian points out,

Having seen how effective the substance was against bacteria in the lab, the researchers decided to test CBG’s ability to treat infections in animals. In a study that has not yet been published, they found that CBG cured mice of MRSA infections as effectively as vancomycin, a drug widely considered to be the last line of defence against drug-resistant microbes. The study is under review at the ACS Infectious Diseases journal.

Eric Brown, a microbiologist who led the work at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said cannabinoids were “clearly great drug-like compounds”, but noted it was early days in assessing the compounds for use in the clinic. “There is much work to do to explore the potential of the cannabinoids as antibiotics from the safety standpoint,” he said. (source)

This is big news, especially given the fact that superbugs are such a big problem, and the issue is only escalating. Antibiotic resistance in general has become a major threat to public health. In the study, the researchers describe how the rapid global spread of drug resistance, caused by microbes developing mutations that protect them against antibiotics, has driven an urgent need to explore new sources of drugs, who would have thought that cannabis may be the answer.

Furthermore,

Researchers in Australia have found that CBD, could one day be used as an antibiotic. They discovered that it is very effective at killing a number of bacteria, including bacteria that have become resistant to other common antibiotics.

The research was presented at the American Society for Microbiology’s annual meeting, which took place last month in San Francisco. Dr. Mark Blaskovich, one of the researchers from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland. His team have shown that  CBD works in animal models as a topical treatment or possibly on bacteria on the skin before surgery. He told the Daily News:

“In terms of resistance, that’s one of the exciting things we have found — unlike other common Gram-positive antibiotics like vancomycin or daptomycin, we found cannabidiol has a very low propensity to induce resistance, which hopefully means it would be safe to use without causing resistance to rapidly appear.” (source)

Besides antibiotic treatment, Blaskovich said CBD could come with other benefits, saying:

“The other potentially exciting thing about treating infections with cannabidiol is that its known anti-inflammatory effects could help treat the inflammation that accompanies infection at the same time as killing the bacteria. We’re looking to see if this helps infection wounds heal faster.” further studies are needed, but CBD could also oneday be used in a pill form against internal infections.”

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