Since the discovery of penicillin in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming, antibiotics have saved millions of lives from fatal infections world-wide. However, with time bacteria have developed mechanisms to escape the effects of antibiotics — they have become resistant.
A University of Southern Denmark study suggests that combining antibiotics with CBD can help to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, Science Daily reports.
“When we combined CBD and antibiotics, we saw a more powerful effect than when treating with antibiotics alone. So, in order to kill a certain number of bacteria, we needed fewer antibiotics.”
“Cannabidiol is an effective helper compound in combination with bacitracin to kill Gram-positive bacteria.”—— Scientific Reports, Mar. 5, 2020
How to Boost Antibiotics
The researchers found that when using CBD as a helper compound the staph bacteria could no longer divide as it normally would, the expression of key genes in the bacteria was lowered, and the bacteria membrane became unstable – which resulted in fewer antibiotics required for treatment.
The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
In the study, CBD was used as a “helper compound” to enhance the effect of the antibiotic bacitracin against Staphylococcus aureus bacteria; a major human pathogen that frequently causes community- and hospital-acquired disease.
Janne Kudsk Klitgaard, one of the study authors, said that combining an antibiotic with a helper compound – such as CBD – could lead to overall less antibiotic use which could “contribute to the development of fewer resistant bacteria.”
According to the researchers, the combination of CBD and antibiotics may be a novel treatment of infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Three things happened with 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 lowered.
- The bacterial membrane became unstable.
Last year, Australian researchers found that CBD alone worked as a potent antibiotic killing all strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in a lab test. That study found that the bacteria did not become resistant to the CBD even after being exposed to it for 20 days – the period when bacteria can become antibiotic-resistant. However, the study didn’t find CBD to be effective for Gram-negative bacteria which have an outer membrane that prevents most drugs from entering the cell.
The study results were presented at the annual conference of the American Society for Microbiology, ASM Microbe 2019 in San Francisco. They have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
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