A new study has shown that the cannabis cannabinoid CBD helps fight resistant bacteria by improving the effectiveness of antibiotics.
Scientists at the University of Southern Denmark have published a new study in the journal Scientific Reports that shows how CBD can act as a "helper compound" to improve the effectiveness of antibiotics.
Since the discovery of penicillin by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928, antibiotics have saved millions of lives worldwide from deadly infections. Over time, however, bacteria have developed mechanisms to escape the effects of antibiotics and have become resistant to them.
Increase the effect of antibiotics
Due to increasing antibiotic resistance, new alternative strategies are being investigated and certain "helper compounds" are attracting attention. Helper compounds are non-antibiotic compounds with the ability to improve the effectiveness of antibiotics.
It is suspected that one such helper compound is cannabidiol (CBD); a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant.
Research by a team from the University of Southern Denmark has shown that the cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) can act as a helper compound to increase the effectiveness of antibiotics against drug-resistant Gram-positive bacteria.
A study led by Janne Kudsk Klitgaard, PhD, Associate Professor of Clinical Microbiology, found that the combination of CBD with the antibiotic bacitracin (BAC) has a stronger effect against bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus than BAC alone.
"Based on these observations, it is suggested that the combination of CBD and BAC represents a putative novel treatment in clinical settings for the treatment of infections with antibiotic-resistant Gram-positive bacteria," the researchers stated in their article published in Scientific Reports.
Bacterial clones are spreading worldwide.
In the study, CBD was used to enhance the effect of the antibiotic bacitracin against Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, an important human pathogen that causes diseases often transmitted in hospitals.
Multiresistant clones of this pathogen have spread worldwide. In some countries the treatment of bacterial infections with these resistant bacteria is difficult and the problem is expected to increase.
According to the researchers, the combination of CBD and antibiotics could represent a novel treatment for infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
How do the bacteria die?
Three things happened to the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria when the researchers treated them with the combination in their study The bacteria could no longer divide normally, the expression of certain key genes (cell division and autolysis genes) in the bacteria was reduced and the bacterial membrane became unstable.
According to the researchers, excessive use of antibiotics is the main cause of antibiotic resistance.
Janne Kudsk Klitgaard said: "If we combine an antibiotic with a helper compound that enhances the effect of the antibiotic, we need fewer antibiotics to achieve the same effect. This can help to develop less resistant bacteria. “