Study: CBD Effective at Killing Drug-Resistant Bacteria

A study published this week in the Communications Biology journal suggests that CBD could be used to kill Gram-negative bacteria. The bacteria is responsible for diseases such as gonorrhea, meningitis, and legionnaires disease.

The researchers note that synthetic CBD was used in the study.

The study was conducted by researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland and Botanix Pharmaceuticals Limited. It marks the first time the cannabinoid has been found to kill Gram-negative bacteria and, according to researchers, could lead to the first new class of antibiotics for resistant bacteria in 60 years.

The UQ Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Associate Professor Dr. Mark Blaskovich explained that some Gram-negative bacteria “have an extra outer membrane, an additional line of defense that makes it harder for antibiotics to penetrate.”

“Cannabidiol showed a low tendency to cause resistance in bacteria even when we sped up potential development by increasing concentrations of the antibiotic during ‘treatment.’ We think that cannabidiol kills bacteria by bursting their outer cell membranes, but we don’t know yet exactly how it does that, and need to do further research. This is particularly exciting because there have been no new molecular classes of antibiotics for Gram-negative infections discovered and approved since the 1960s, and we can now consider designing new analogs of CBD within improved properties.” – Blaskovich in a press release

Vince Ippolito, president and executive chairman of Botanix, described the research as a “major breakthrough that the world needs now.”

“…The published data clearly establishes the potential of synthetic cannabinoids as antimicrobials,” Ippolito said in a statement. “Our Company is now primed to commercialize viable antimicrobial treatments which we hope will reach more patients in the near future.”

Last year, a team led by Blaskovich found that CBD was a potential potent antibiotic, but at that time the researchers had not found it effective against Gram-negative bacteria.

Also in 2020, researchers at Canada’s McMaster University reported that cannabigerol (CBG) is capable of defeating MRSA, an infection infamously resistant to many traditional antibiotics, while a University of Southern Denmark study purported that combining traditional antibiotics with CBD could help fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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