CBD and antibiotic resistance

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance has become a really big deal all over the world. So what, you ask? I’ll tell you what the website says. “New resistance mechanisms [to bacteria] are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. A growing list of infections–such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhea, and foodborne diseases–are becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective.”

Basically, the reason for antibiotic resistance is a direct result of abuse of antibiotics. Overuse has caused stronger strains of bacteria to surface that infections medications can’t obliterate. Scary stuff, because, according to the WHO, “Without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.”

Is CBD the answer to antibiotic resistance?

Maybe. Although the verdict is out, there is growing evidence that CBD attacks pathogens that try to harm the body, which makes it a powerful antibiotic.

Cannabinoids, or CBD, have a long history of use as a medicine that dates back to ancient Egypt and China. Beginning in the 1950s, however, researchers started to study CBD as an antiseptic. That research expanded to isolate cannabinoids to determine their efficacy in other areas as well. In 2008, scientists from Italy and the United Kingdom found that the antibacterial power of CBD stood up to the deadly MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant staff infection.

Their study found that five cannabinoids in cannabis, CBC, CBD, CBG, THC, and CBN, were all effective at killing six different strains of MRSA, short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Because MRSA often is located on the skin, the researchers found that topicals were an effective topical treatment in addition to ingesting CBD oil as a dietary supplement.

Another discovery by the researchers is that CBD is better at fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria than any other antibiotic available.

How does CBD fight bacteria?

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That’s a really good question. One even the scientists don’t have a ready answer for. Simon Gibbons, one of the researchers from the UK says, “Everything points towards these compounds having been evolved by the plants as antimicrobial defenses that specifically target bacterial cells. But the actual mechanism by which they kill the bugs is still a mystery. We’ve tested whether the cannabinoids affect common antibiotic targets like fatty acid synthesis or the [DNA-bending enzyme] DNA gyrase, but they don’t. I really cannot hazard a guess how they do it, but their high potency as antibiotics suggests there must be a very specific mechanism.”

All of this is really good news, but it comes with a roadblock. Given the current ignorance associated with CBD and its Schedule 1 narcotic rating—meaning it’s believed to have absolutely no medical value—by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, it’s off limits for many new studies.

But, with the expanded interest in and awareness of CBD in so many areas—cosmetics, pain relief, epilepsy, cancer to name a few—how long will it be before opposition to its medicinal properties fades? The fact is the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria makes finding an alternative to antibiotics more urgent than ever before.

In the meantime, by taking CBD as a dietary supplement maybe a dropper a day can keep sickness at bay. Think about it.