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.
With fewer antibiotics available to treat resistant bacterial infections, the possibility of entering a pre-antibiotic era is looming ahead.
Alternative strategies are being explored and helper compounds are attracting attention. Helper compounds are non-antibiotic compounds with the capability of enhancing the efficacy of antibiotics.
One such helper compound has been suspected to be cannabidiol (CBD); a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant. Now a research team has published a scientific study proving the effect of CBD. The study is published in the journal Scientific 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 less antibiotics, they say.
In the study, CBD was used to enhance the effect of the antibiotic bacitracin against Staphylococcus aureus bacteria; a major human pathogen that frequently causes community- and hospital-acquired disease.
When the researchers treated them with the combination in their study, they found that the bacteria could no longer divide normally. Also, the expression of certain key genes (cell division and autolysis genes) in the bacteria was lowered and the bacterial membrane became unstable.
According to the researchers, the combination of CBD and antibiotics may be a novel treatment of infections with antibiotic resistant bacteria..
If we combine an antibiotic with a helper compound, that enhances the effect of the antibiotic, we need less antibiotic to achieve the same effect. This may contribute to the development of fewer resistant bacteria, says the senior author.
Cannabis helps fight resistant bacteria
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