Cannabidiol Can Beat Antibiotic Resistance

There have been many claims of health benefits for cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychoactive component of cannabis.  Now, a new application of CBD – antimicrobial activity – is described by Blaskovich et al. (Commun Biol. 2021; 4: 7).   CBD and CBD analogs were effective at killing multiple Gram-negative bacteria, such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Legionella pneumophila, as well as numerous Gram-positive bacteria including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile.  Data suggests that CBD kills bacteria by damaging their outer cell membranes, and the authors saw no indication of resistance to CBD after repeated exposure. Given increasing rates of resistance of pathogenic bacteria to traditional antibiotics, CBD and its analogs are potentially a desperately-needed new class of antibiotics.

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