CBD Antibiotic Effects: Everything You Need to Know

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The medicinal cannabis sector has its eyes on Cannabidiol (CBD) antibiotic effects, and here is everything you need to know about this new and exciting space. 

Does CBD really have antibiotic benefits?

From what we are beginning to learn, it does.

Cannabidiol (abbreviated as CBD) is one of the numerous therapeutic compounds (phytocannabinoids) that are found in cannabis. CBD is one of the two prominent therapeutic cannabinoids; the other is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which unlike CBD has psychoactive effects. This difference, of course, makes CBD preferable as a therapeutic compound.

Many studies, both preclinical and clinical, have been done to investigate the medicinal benefits of CBD. Notably, CBD has been shown to help in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Pain and inflammation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Tumor suppression
  • Poor sleep
  • Acne
  • Arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis

It is now emerging that CBD also helps in fighting bacterial infections. If this is true, CBD may help to stem the tide of antibiotic resistance that is increasingly becoming a concern. A few preclinical studies have shown that CBD has potential benefit in this area. Let’s look at what these studies have shown. 

CBD as a “Helper Compound” for Antibiotics

A study that was conducted by researchers from the University of Southern Denmark and published in the Journal Scientific Reports showed that CBD acts a “helper compound” to enhance the therapeutic effects of antibiotics. 

In this study, CBD was used alongside the antibiotic Bacitracin to treat gram positive bacteria- staph aureus. The study showed that when CBD was combined with Bacitracin the healing effect was greater. In the study, CBD reduced the amount of Bacitracin needed to treat the infection. 

When CBD in conjunction with bacitracin was given to patients battling staph aureus infection the bacteria stopped multiplying. Additionally, the cell membranes of the bacteria became unstable and weakened.

Apart from CBD, another phytocannabinoid known as CBG has also been shown to have antibacterial effects.

Staph aureus is a common type of bacteria that causes infections such as pneumonia, skin, and heart valve infections. 

History of Antibiotics 

Antibiotics (Penicillin) were first used to treat bacterial infections in 1928. Since then, different types of antibiotics have been developed to treat different forms of bacteria. Constant exposure to the same antibiotics over time has resulted in the development of antibiotic resistance. In the case of staph aureus, a multi-drug resistant staph aureus (MRSA), which is very difficult to treat, is the result. 

CBD’s Antibacterial Effects on Gram-negative Bacteria

In a study that was conducted by researchers from UK universities CBD was shown to have antibacterial effects against gram-negative bacteria. The study showed that CBD could be used to increase the effectiveness of antibiotics that target this kind of bacteria.

The researchers conducted a lab study where they investigated how CBD affects the release of membrane vesicles (MVs) from the cell membranes of gram-negative bacteria. The researchers found that CBD inhibits the release of MVs from the bacteria and in this way increased the effectiveness of antibiotics. The research concluded that CBD is an inhibitor of MV release from gram-negative bacteria. When combined with antibiotics, CBD produced a powerful anti-bacterial effect. 

The study also found that CBD potentiates the antibiotic action of Kanamycin against gram-positive bacteria without affecting MV release. The study concluded that CBD could be used as an adjuvant for antibiotic therapy and also helps in limiting antibiotic resistance. 

 CBD and Vancomycin

In another study, CBD was shown to be an effective gram-positive antibiotic when combined with vancomycin. In this study, synthetic CBD was tested in a lab setting for antibacterial effects. The study showed that CBD was as effective as vancomycin and daptomycin in the treatment of staph aureus and streptococcus infections. 

CBD also showed inhibitory effects on bacterial biofilms which contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance. CBD was effective in treating vancomycin-resistant bacteria.

However, the researchers concluded that further studies need to be conducted to give clear directions on CBD antibiotic effects. In some preclinical studies compounds that have shown therapeutic benefits in lab settings have failed to produce similar effects in clinical settings. With this in mind, we cannot make conclusive remarks on the benefits of CBD as an antibiotic agent in real-life settings. 

Does CBD interact with Other Drugs?

CBD interacts with drugs that are metabolized through liver enzymes in the cytochrome P450 pathway (CYP450). It interacts with these drugs in different ways; while it inhibits the actions of others it potentiates the actions of some. CBD affects how these drugs are broken down in the liver. When it slows down the breakdown of drugs it increases their effects. At the same time, when it speeds up the breakdown of some drugs it limits their effects. This means that if you combine CBD with some drugs you may experience stronger or weaker therapeutic effects based on how CBD interacts with them. 

Drugs that interact with CBD include antidepressants such as Prozac, benzodiazepines, and macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin and clarithromycin. 

Is CBD Good for Infections?

Recent studies have shown that CBD is promising as an antibiotic agent. In some of these studies, CBD has shown effectiveness in tackling superbug infections such as multi-drug resistant staph aureus (MRSA). However, larger clinical studies are needed to confirm the preliminary findings in this area. 

Meanwhile, this is everything you need to know about CBD antibiotic effects, we hope that this was insightful. 



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