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MRSA And Cannabis: What’s The Link?

Researchers believe they’ve uncovered another antibiotic element that cannabis offers, creating an additional tool in the weapon against healthcare associated infections.

“An interdisciplinary team of McMaster researchers found that the chemical compound, or cannabinoid, called cannabigerol (CBG) is not only antibacterial but also effective in mice against a resilient family of bacteria known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).”McMaster University

Could cannabis have a hand in treating Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections? Researchers at McMaster University believe they’ve uncovered another antibiotic element that cannabis offers, creating an additional tool in the weapon against the rise of healthcare associated infections (HAIs), which are costing hospitals and clinics billions of dollars.

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Looking at 18 commercially-available cannabinoids, the team identified a “non-psychoactive cannabinoid” called CBG, which offered the most promise. After synthetizing and recreating the element in mass quantities to study, the research team “found that CBG had antibacterial activity against drug-resistant MRSA,” targeting the cell’s membrane and eliminating the bacteria.

Study lead Eric Brown, Professor of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences, says:

CBG proved to be marvelous at tackling pathogenic bacteria… findings suggest real therapeutic potential for cannabinoids as antibiotics.

Noting that researchers had been looking into the antibiotic properties of cannabis for years, Brown noted that reducing the stigma in cannabis research could lead to more findings. “There has been some stigma of investing in this kind of research, but there’s increasing anecdotal evidence of the medicinal use of cannabis. The stigma seems to be waning.”

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Photo by wera Rodsawang/Getty Images

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about two in every 100 people carry MRSA, a bacterial infection that’s difficult to treat and easy to spread — especially in a healthcare setting. Costing hospitals around $10 billion a year to treat in the United States at an average of $60,000 per patient, MRSA infections often are difficult to control as they can lead to outbreaks.

RELATED: Could CBD Eventually Become An Antibiotic?

Being studied at a faster pace than ever before, several studies have already looked into the antibiotic effects of cannabis on the human body, with many concluding that cannabis offered great promise in treating infection in new ways. Often referred to as “antimicrobial,”  a 2017 study published in the journal Neuroimmunomodulation found that cannabis research is the key the fight against many infectious diseases. The study stated: 

“Contact with cannabinoid compounds can affect different types of infectious agents, by allowing their replication or by eliminating them. This supports the idea of existing cannabinoid receptors infecting pathogens and that their activation may be responsible for previously mentioned effects, pointing to a new biological function of ECS activation.”

With new research coming each year, scientists and doctors across the globe are looking into how cannabis can help treat infection without the side effects of many drugs currently on the market and the results look promising.



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