New research published from the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia shows synthetic cannabidiol (CBD) can kill the Gram-negative bacteria that causes gonorrhea, meningitis and legionnaires disease. The research could lead to the first new antibiotics for resistant bacteria in 60 years.
Dr. Mark Blaskovich, associate professor at the UQ Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Associate, said that some Gram-negative bacteria possess an extra outer membrane which prevents antibiotics from breaking through. The new research shows CBD is effective at breaking down biofilms, slimy buildups of bacteria, that help microorganisms like MRSA survive antibiotic treatment. A previous study by Dr. Blaskovich suggested CBD could one day be used as an antibiotic, but at the time it was not effective against Gram-negative bacteria.
“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’,” said UQ Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Associate Professor Dr. Mark Blaskovich. “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.
The study was done in collaboration with Botanix Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Blaskovich said the collaboration led to speeding up the research, as Botanix contributed formulation expertise which led to the discovery of how differences in delivering CBD makes a difference in its effectiveness at killing bacteria. The collaboration led to Botanix being able to progress a topical CBD formula into trials that decolonizes MRSA before surgery.“The published data clearly establishes the potential of synthetic CBD antimicrobials,” said President and Executive Chairman of Botanix Vince Ippolito. “Our company is now primed to commercialize viable antimicrobial treatments, which we hope will reach more patients in the near future. This is a major breakthrough that the world needs now.”