CBD Shows Promise As Topical Antibiotic

As Cannabidiol, or CBD, is being increasingly accepted as a useful treatment for anxiety, insomnia, and pain, research has been booming in search of other uses for the non-psychoactive compound. Now, as antibiotic resistance is becoming dangerously common, according to Australian researchers, CBD is showing potential as a topical solution. 

Finding that cannabidiol has similar potency to established antibiotics such as vancomycin and daptomycin and further doesn’t lose effectiveness after extended treatment, researchers are hopeful that the increasingly accepted cannabis product could become the next superbug fighter for resistant infections. With the research in its earliest stages, though, researchers can’t say exactly how the CBD works as an infection fighter and warn people not to start self-treating infections with CBD just yet. 

Dr. Mark Blaskovich, the senior researcher officer from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland, explained to the Daily News that new studies have shown CBD to be working on animals as a topical treatment, as well as for eliminating bacteria on the skin prior to surgery. “The first thing we looked at is CBD’s ability to kill bacteria,” he explained. “In every case, CBD had very similar potency to that of common antibiotics.” 

Most importantly, though, the research identified that CBD does not lose effectiveness over time, which is extremely important as some bacteria become increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Under extended exposure, cannabidiol did not lose effectiveness and further, it disrupted biofilms, a form of bacterial growth that leads to difficult-to-treat infections. 

Researchers then compared the effectiveness of CBD as a topical treatment to other common antibiotics and found CBD to complete effectiveness in three hours, as opposed to Vancomycin, which kills bacteria over a course of six to eight hours. However, Dr. Blaskovich found CBD to be selective in terms of which bacteria it can fight. It is specifically active against Gram-positive bacteria, including that responsible for serious infections such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumonia. 

As promising as this research looks, it is still in its earliest phases, so don’t start purging your medicine cabinet of traditional antibiotics just yet. As of now, the work thus far has not made it past test tubes and animals, so be sure to check back for updates. 

Emerald contributor since June 2019

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