By / March 31, 2020

Cannabidiol could support antibiotics and boost their effectiveness

Since Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, antibiotics have saved millions of people from fatal infections worldwide. However, over time, bacteria have developed mechanisms to avoid the effects of antibiotics and become resistant to them. Because of that, scientists are looking to alternatives that could be used together with current medicines in treatment, or which could serve as a building block to new breakthroughs.

Recent research studies have proven that Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the many chemical compounds extracted from the Cannabis Sativa, could be used as a natural remedy for many common ailments. This makes Cannabidiol (CBD) a potential option for the development of new medicines.

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Cannabidiol (CBD) as a possible antibiotic for future treatments

One of the compounds researchers think it could support the antibiotic effect is cannabidiol (CBD), which is a cannabinoid derived from hemp. One of the research teams from the University of Southern Denmark has published a scientific study confirming that indeed cannabidiol (CBD) enhances the antibiotic effect of antibiotics when used together.

“When we combined cannabidiol (CBD) and antibiotics in medical treatment, we saw a stronger effect than when patients were treated only with antibiotics. So, in order to kill a certain number of bacteria, we needed fewer antibiotics,” described the research author Janne Kudsk Klitgaard.

In the study, cannabidiol (CBD) was used to enhance the effect of the bacitracin antibiotic on Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria, a pathogen that is usually acquired in a hospital, and which is responsible for many diseases. Also, it is estimated that 10 to 50% of the population is constantly or periodically carrying these bacteria without any symptoms of the disease.

Cannabidiol (CBD) and antibiotics show remarkable results when used together

According to scientists, the combination of cannabidiol (CBD) and antibiotics may be a new revolutionary way of treating infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. When the researchers treated Staphylococcus aureus bacteria with a combination of cannabidiol (CBD) and antibiotic, three things happened:

  • The bacteria could no longer reproduce normally
  • The expression of some key genes (cell division and autolysis genes) in bacteria was reduced
  • The bacterial membrane became unstable

According to some scientists, currently, the overuse of antibiotics in modern society is the main cause of antibiotic resistance. However, if we combine an antibiotic with an auxiliary compound that enhances the effect of the antibiotic, then less antibiotic is needed to achieve the same effect. Janne Kudsk Klitgaard claimed that cannabidiol (CBD) can not only help in the fight against Staphylococcus aureus bacteria but can also contribute to weakening their resistance to antibiotics.

All these results could lead to new breakthroughs in the near future, giving medics a new and unexpected tool in their arsenal against bacteria. In addition, if CBD is proven to weaken bacteria resistance to antibiotics by a big margin, it could extend the lifespan and effectiveness of current antibiotics, giving the population a big relief for years to come.


(Featured image by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash)

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