Can CBD be the next promising antibiotic?
According to a research presented by Australian scientists at the American Society for Microbiology, which took place in San Francisco from June 20-24 2019, “a cannabis product could be used as an antibiotic one day.” The Australian researchers found that Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, “had a similar potency to established antibiotics such as vancomycin and daptomycin, and did not lose effectiveness after extended treatment.”
A comprehensive study
Dr. Mark Blaskovich, author of the study, states “it needs a lot more work to show [CBD] would be useful to treat infections in humans.” His research was conducted at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Centre for Superbug Solutions in Brisbane, Australia. The study was conducted in collaboration with Botanix Pharmaceuticals, a drug company known for investigating uses of CBD for a range of skin conditions. Botanix also helped fund the research. The preliminary results showed that CBD worked “in vivo” or in animal models, as a topical treatment or on bacteria on the skin before surgery.
The study suggests that CBD has been “remarkably effective” at killing bacteria and specifically had antibiotic effects against gram positive species, which includes staph and strep bacteria. The study also notes that CBD was very effective against other strains that had become resistant to antibiotic drugs. Still, though the results are positive, folks should still consult their licensed physician and definitely not self-treat infections with CBD.
Dr. Blaskovich acknowledged that high grade CBD could come with other benefits besides it’s potential use as an antibiotic. “The other potentially exciting thing about treating infections with cannabidiol is that its known anti-inflammatory effects could help 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,” he said. He also states that further research would be required to show if CBD can be used versus internal infections, though it would have to appear in a pill form and be proven through multiple studies.
Take precautions now, though the future is near
“This is still early stage research in the lab – we don’t want people self medicating with CBD oil for infections – see a doctor and take antibiotics!” Dr. Blaskovich said. Cannabidiol or CBD, has attracted a lot of folks in the recent years for its therapeutic benefits without the “high” you typically get from marijuana use. Though with all the positives, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one CBD-infused medication – Epidiolex – which is prescribed to treat seizures related to childhood epilepsy. Dr. Blaskovich says that because CBD has gained approval from the FDA for Epidiolex, that the pathway to gain approval “should be much shorter than normal for a new antibiotic.”
Botanix and Dr. Blaskovich aim to begin the Phase 1 or 2 of the study by the end of this year, with phase 1 trials lasting several months and usually including 20-100 participants that are completely healthy or have a disease/condition to evaluate the safety of the drug, according to the FDA. Phase 2 will include several hundred people with a disease/condition to determine the efficacy and side effects of the medication. These studies usually last several months up to a couple of years.
Other experts cautioned that many different substances appear to show an “antibiotic effect” in lab dishes, also known as “in vitro” experiments, and yet not all positive findings translate to working with people.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, states that “just because [CBD] has antibiotic activity in an in vitro assay doesn’t mean it does in the human body.” Dr. Adalja was not involved with the aforementioned study.
Before we start acting upon these new findings, many more studies will be necessary to see if high grade CBD could be used as an antibiotic to treat infections. Scientists will need to determine a safe dosage necessary to “kill” the malicious bacteria in our body as well as the best delivery method to target such infections. Still, Dr Adalja says the research is very promising and “more evidence that there [are] a lot of untapped avenues of research with CBD.”
At this point, it might be quicker to make a list of conditions people haven’t mentioned that CBD has shown to treat. It seems like everyday there is a new article or product endorsement boasting cannabidiol’s therapeutic effects. It’s been proven to be an amazingly safe and effective treatment for various conditions and is now being backed by the medical community. See that article here. While Dr. Blaskovich’s research will need to be confirmed and replicated before we can give it praise for curing infections, it seems like we can see a bright future ahead for CBD.
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