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CBD Could Be Used as Antibiotic, Researchers Say

CBD Could Be Used as Antibiotic, Researchers Say

A cannabis product could be used as an antibiotic one day, Australian researchers say.

According to research presented at the American Society for Microbiology’s annual meeting, which takes place June 20-24 in San Francisco, the cannabis compound cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, holds potential for being used as an antibiotic one day.

Researchers found CBD “had a similar potency to established antibiotics such as vancomycin and daptomycin, and did not lose effectiveness after extended treatment.”

Dr. Mark Blaskovich, one of the researchers from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland, told the Daily News that studies showed CBD worked “in vivo” or in animal models, as a topical treatment or possibly on bacteria on the skin before surgery.

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Unlike some bacteria that have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, the researchers found that CBD did not lose effectiveness over time.

“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,” Blaskovich wrote to The News.

During the research, CBD was effective against every Gram-positive bacteria that was tested. CBD was selective for Gram-positive and not Gram-negative however, meaning the CBD would not be effective against the Gram-negative bacteria.

Gram-negative bacteria have a thin cell membrane, but it can be difficult to penetrate. This means they can be more difficult to treat with antibiotics, according to the American College of Healthcare Sciences.

Dr. Andrew Edwards, a non-clinical Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology at Imperial College London who was not involved in the research, emphasized CBD may not work as an antibiotic for those bacteria.

“It is not effective against Gram-negative bacteria, which are especially difficult to develop new antibiotics for because they have a very selective outer-membrane that prevents most drugs from entering the bacterial cell,” Edwards told Newsweek

In addition to its potential use as an antibiotic, Blaskovich said CBD could come with other benefits.

“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,” he said.

Blaskovich said further research is required to show if it could be used against internal infections, but that it could appear in a pill form of some kind if that was proven through studies.

Despite the promising studies, Blaskovich advised people to keep using approved medication until further research is done.

“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!” Blaskovich said.

Blaskovich said because CBD has gained approval as a drug in medication such as Epidiolex, which is used to treat seizures, the regulatory pathway to gain approval “should be much shorter than normal for a new antibiotic.”

Botanix, the company that funded the study, is aiming to begin a Phase 1 or 2 trial by the end of this year, Blaskovich said.

Phase 1 trials last several months, and usually include 20 to 100 participants who are healthy, or have a disease or condition to evaluate safety and dosage of a drug, according to the FDA. Phase 2 trials include up to several hundred people with a condition or disease to determine efficacy and side effects of a medication. These studies last several months to two years.

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