Scientists in Italy and the United Kingdom have reported that substances in marijuana show promise for fighting deadly drug-resistant bacterial infections, including so-called “superbugs,” without causing the drug’s mood-altering effects.
The substances, besides serving as infection-fighting drugs, could also provide a more environmentally-friendly alternative to synthetic antibacterial substances now widely used in personal care items, as per the researchers. The study appeared in an issue of ACS’ monthly Journal of Natural Products.
Giovanni Appendino and colleagues, in the study, pointed out that scientists have known for years that marijuana includes antibacterial substances but little research has been done on those ingredients, including studies on their ability to fight antibiotic resistant infections.
Researchers tested five major marijuana ingredients termed cannabinoids on different strains of a “superbug” increasingly resistant to antibiotics, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). All the five ingredients demonstrated potent germ-killing activity against these drug-resistant strains, as did some synthetic non-natural cannabinoids. It was also revealed that these substances appear to kill bacteria by different mechanisms than conventional antibiotics, making them more likely to avoid bacterial resistance.
“Antibacterial Cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: A Structure-Activity Study”
Giovanni Appendino, Simon Gibbons, Anna Giana, Alberto Pagani, Gianpaolo Grassi, Michael Stavri, Eileen Smith, and M. Mukhlesur Rahman