Australian scientist studying cannabis

Australian research shows that CBD could be used to treat Gonorrhoea, Meningitis and Legionnaires Disease


New research from the University of Queensland and Botanix Pharmaceuticals has found that CBD can kill a range of gram-negative bacteria responsible for Gonorrhoea, Meningitis and Legionnaires disease.

Gram-negative bacteria are bacteria that have an extra outer membrane. This makes them more difficult to kill, as gram-negative bacteria is often extremely resistant to antibiotics.

The new research was partially overseen by UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Associate Professor Mark Blaskovich and his team at the Centre for Superbug Solutions. They worked alongside ASX-listed Botanix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:BOT), publishing their research in the journal Communications Biology on Tuesday. 

The study saw researchers monitoring bacteria through a two-week CBD treatment. This led researchers to conclude that CBD was effective at treating several types of gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria

This included gram-negative bacteria Neisseria Gonorrhoea, which causes sexually-transmitted illness Gonorrhoea. Gonorrhoea is often very difficult to treat, as it has no reliable antibiotic treatment and develops resistance very quickly. It is also Australia’s second most common STI. 

Researchers also monitored gram-positive bacteria methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which can cause skin infections, pneumonia, and sepsis. MRSA is difficult to treat, as it can survive antibiotic treatments by building up a thick film of bacteria (biofilm).

According to Dr. Blaskovich, it is this biofilm that CBD has the power to kill.

Dr. Blaskovich and his team believe that cannabidiol kills bacteria by bursting its outer cell membranes. However, further research is needed to back up this theory and fully explain how the process occurs. 

In the meantime, this research has exciting possibilities in medicine, as this research could see CBD used to develop a new class of antibiotics. 

This is particularly exciting because there have been no new molecular classes of antibiotics for Gram-negative infections discovered and approved since the 1960s.
– Dr. Blaskovich

As a result of the research, Botanix is currently conducting clinical trials on a topical CBD formulation that could be used to pre-emptively treat MRSA before surgery. The results of these trials will be available later this year.

The results of this research and Botanix’s clinical trials may lead to cannabis-based treatments for gonorrhoea, legionnaires disease and meningitis. 

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