The World Health Organization (WHO) has noticed a rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria and infectious diseases worldwide. The WHO has stated that these drug-resistant bacteria poses a threat to not only developing third-world countries and food security, but is currently responsible for over a million deaths a year worldwide. Although as more and more bacteria become resistant to “last resort” antibiotics, more scientists are looking into CBD to help treat these antibiotic-resistant bacteria and illnesses. 

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD is a natural property found in hemp which can possibly help with inflammation, anxiety, etc. CBD initially gained popularity worldwide when the natural cannabinoid was used to help different forms of childhood epilepsy, glaucoma, and much more. Since CBD can benefit our body’s endocannabinoid system, which keeps our bodies healthy by promoting homeostasis, doctors might be able to use this cannabinoid as a natural alternative to help treat these antibioticresistant bacteria. 

A new study from the University of Queensland Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Centre for Superbug Solutions, has found that CBD can potentially act as an antibiotic against a wide range of gram-positive bacteria. In the study, the University of Queensland Institute researchers also noticed that with the continued use of CBD to help treat antibioticresistant bacteria, that unlike most medications, CBD didn’t lose its effectiveness after extended treatment. 

How Is Bacteria Effected?

There are two types of disease-causing bacteria called gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Due to the structure of the bacteria’s cellular walls, most medications can only help treat one or the other type of bacteria. In the University’s tests, CBD was found effective against grampositive bacteria, like for example bacteria found in MRSA, strep, and more. 

Dr. Mark Blaskovich from the University of Queensland Institute exclaims that “CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects create multiple delivery options for the cannabinoid to help aid the body,” making it a promising new antibiotic worth more investigation and research. Blaskovich also explains that CBD’s “inherent antimicrobial activity and potential to reduce damage caused by the body’s inflammatory response to infections” is what is making more doctors open to studying CBD more.  

The Australian researchers also discovered that under extended exposure conditions that lead to resistence, common antibiotics like daptomycin and vancomycin were proven ineffective. Although with the continued use of CBD, the cannabinoid was still effective in treating the resistant bacteria present in both a live subject and a test tube. The study also discovered that CBD was also effective at disrupting biofilms, a form of bacteria growth that often leads to difficult to treat infections.   

In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved the distribution of CBD derived drug Epidiolex for the treatment of rare forms of childhood epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaunt syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Since then more researchers have also used the CBD derived drug to help relieve addiction, anxiety, and more.

The Queensland research team was funded by Botanix Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company that is developing a wide range of CBD products for prevalent skin disorders like psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, acne, and more. With their research, the Queensland team was surprised to see CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects worked for more than just skin conditions, but all throughout the body in a cellular level to possibly treat disease and other harmful bacteria. 

Even with these scientist’s groundbreaking findings with CBD, there is still more testing to be done before CBD becomes classified as an official antibiotic to use against resistant bacteria. It will take time to see how CBD can possibly treat harmful bacteria with clinical trials and other scientific research into CBD’s benefits against different forms of illnesses. 

Further Research Is Still Needed

Research has yet to be done on some of the most prevalent antibiotic-resistant bacteria like Salmonella typhi and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Both of these deadly diseases are typically composed of gramnegative bacteria that is difficult to treat with most prescription antibiotics. CBD has yet to be tested with strong resistant bacteria like these forms of tuberculosis and salmonella that have been known to cause regional epidemics in Pakistan, Russia, and different parts of Europe. 

Not only that, but CBD has yet to be tested on common illnesses like pneumonia that can contain both gram-positive and negative bacteria depending on the strain. Although since the most common strain of pneumonia, also known as Streptococcus pneumoniae, consists of gram-positive bacteria, CBD could possibly be used to help treat the dangerous bacteria if it ever becomes resistant to pharmaceutical antibiotics.

 Even though there has been a limited amount of research in general on CBD, more researchers are beginning to look into the full capabilities of CBD and other hemp-derived products. Hopefully, soon enough the world might be able to create more CBD derived medicines like Epidiolex to individuals in need who are suffering from dangerous diseases.