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CBD Can Improve Effectiveness of Antibiotic Medication

A new study found that CBD could act as a “helper compound” with traditional antibiotics to more effectively treat staph infections.

Diseases caused by bacteria were the leading cause of death for Americans until antibiotics came along. The simple invention of penicillin in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming led to millions of lives being saved, with other antibiotics stopping similar untimely deaths. In recent years, bacteria have evolved and become resistant to some antibiotics, leading the medical community to search for novel answers to treat infections and boost the effectiveness of antibiotics.

According to a new Denmark study, cannabidiol (CBD) could assist in fighting this resistant bacteria in combination with traditional antibiotics. Researchers used CBD as a “helper compound” in conjunction with the antibiotic bacitracin to treat Staph infection and found they required less antibiotics overall in the process.

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Researchers explained that bacteria become resistant by overuse of antibiotics, meaning the less antibiotics we use, the less likely bacteria will thwart treatment. As a helper compound with traditional antibiotics, using CBD caused the staph infection to stop dividing as it normally would to spread throughout the body. In addition, this combination lowered the expression of key genes in the bacteria and caused the bacteria membrane to become unstable.

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Photo by Tinnakorn Jorruang/Getty Images

These effects meant less antibiotics were required to overcome the infections. Other studies have found flavonoids in certain teas and honey also increase the potential effectiveness of antibiotic medications, as CBD did in this study.

Published in Scientific Reports, the study is not the first to suggest CBD as a possible antibiotic agent.

Last year, an Austrian study found that CBD alone could treat Gram-positive bacteria, including those that cause pneumonia and MRSA. Even after CBD was exposed to the bacteria for more than 20 days, the bacteria did not become resistant to treatment. Typically, 20 days is the period of time in which bacteria start to resist traditional antibiotics.

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In both cases, scientists urged that more research is necessary before doctors start prescribing CBD alongside antibiotics.

Mark Blaskovich, lead author on the Austrian study, said last year, “We still don’t know how it works, and it may have a unique mechanism of action given it works against bacteria that have become resistant to other antibiotics, but we still don’t know how.”

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