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CBD and Antibiotics - The “helper compound”

Introduction to antibiotics

Antibiotics, also knows as antibacterials are an integral medicine that doctors are required to prescribe several times everyday. They are principally used in treating bacterial infections. Viruses (such as COVID-19) require anti-viral medication, a different class of medication entirely.

Antibiotics work by either killing or slowing down the growth of bacteria. Side effects can include diarrhoea, an upset stomach and nausea. CBD oil could work in conjunction with antibiotics in order to reduce side effects such as nausea.

"A post-antibiotic world is imminent given the increasing incidence of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria"

The role of antibiotics is to stop bacteria from reproducing, or to destroy them before they can cause serious infection and symptoms. Before bacteria can multiply and cause symptoms, the immune system can usually cope and fight off infection. In certain cases the immune system can’t cope and antibiotics are useful in this scenario. CBD however has antimicrobial properties and is safe to use even if you don’t have an infection and don’t have antibiotics. Diseases such as gastritis, septicaemia and H. Pylori all require antibiotics to ensure survival. Two hundred years ago, these conditions may have been fatal - today they can be treated safely in the hospital.

How does CBD come into all this ?

We know that CBD offers a multitude of medicinal / healing properties. A paper published by scientists at the university of Southern Denmark claims that CBD can act as a 'helper compound' to improve the rate at which antibiotics work.

We have explored how CBD can alleviate symptoms of Covid but lets explore why it can help with antibiotics.

Why do we need CBD as a helper compound?

Due to the increase in antibiotic resistance, new alternative strategies are being explored and certain ‘helper compounds’ are starting to become more popular with the hopes of developing alternative, effective therapies when antibiotics fail. The authors of the study stated that “ When they combined CBD and antibiotics in lab testing, we saw a more powerful effect than when treating with antibiotics alone. So, in order to kill a certain number of bacteria, we need less antibiotics.” This increase in clinical efficiency could pave the way for new treatments - to the joy of patients and doctors everywhere!

The nitty gritty of CBD as an antibacterial

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.

Three things happened with the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, when the researchers treated them with the combination in their study:

1. the bacteria could no longer divide normally

2. the expression of certain key genes (cell division and autopsies genes) in the bacteria was lowered and made the bacterial membrane unstable.

3. This resulted in the lysis - or cell death - of the bacteria.

When studied under lab conditions, the researchers were able to observe how CBG - a substance chemically similar to CBD - was able to kill the common MRSA microbes and “persisted” cells that are otherwise resistant to antibiotics and will often lead to repeat infections. After seeing this in a Petri dish it was swiftly moved into animal studies. MRSA cases cause the NHS extensive worry due to its hardiness, and is a pertinent factor to think about when prescribing antibiotics. A doctor must always guide the patient to follow through with the antibiotics regiments in order to prevent an MRSA infection. The use of CBD could further prevent the progression of the bacteria to a MRSA infection.

A post-antibiotic world is imminent given the increasing incidence of antibiotic resistant strains. With this emerges the desire to seek out alternative classes of potent antimicrobial medication.