Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia have found that the cannabinoid CBD can kill superbugs such as MRSA, as well as antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria that can cause gonorrhoea and legionnaire’s disease.
The UN has previously warned that drug-resistant diseases could kill 10 million people per year by 2050 if a solution can not be found, which makes these findings even more important.
Non-psychoactive CBD is one of the 147 known phytocannabinoids contained within cannabis and has been used widely to treat patients in the UK since a change in the law in 2015 which made it legal.
A leading expert in cannabis research says that it’s only a matter of time before GPs in the UK are prescribing it to their patients. Speaking exclusively to the Metro, Professor Mike Barnes said, ‘I think we are five years away, a pessimist might say ten years, I think that’s too much given the plethora of research at the moment. I think it is potentially really exciting and yet another thing that cannabis does, so we should embrace cannabis as a medicine because it does so many different things.’
The science is still in the development stages and CBD has so far only been shown to be effective as a topical application in the fight against superbugs. However, Professor Mike Barnes said it won’t be long before further breakthroughs are made.
“To put it very crudely, if you put CBD on a plate with bacteria it kills it very quickly, but if you put it in a tablet form it won’t kill it very quickly.” He said that this is because CBD binds to the plasma in the blood, leaving little left to help fight infection, but did add that with more research these challenges could be overcome.
Asked by the Metro how many lives he thought could be saved as a result of these findings, he replied, “I would have thought we’re looking at hundreds of thousands globally, but more particularly it helps the quality of life because persistent gonorrhoea is a very debilitating disease.”
“There’re the lives saved but perhaps more importantly there’s much bigger numbers of people who could be less debilitated.”
The research which was published last month by a collaboration between the University of Queensland and Botanix Pharmaceuticals LTD shows that they used a bio-synthetically produced cannabinoid CBD to permeate the membrane of drug-resistant cells and kill them. The bacteria Neisseria Gonorrhoea, which causes gonorrhoea and legionella, which in turn causes legionnaires disease and can also lead to meningitis was amongst them.