When people develop what they think is an infection of some kind, the first thought they usually have is going to the doctor and get a prescription of antibiotics. Antibiotics were not an option before 1928 when Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. Antibiotics have been the go-to medicine for bacterial infections since then. However, over time, bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics.
Another medicine derived from marijuana and hemp plants is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a cannabinoid found in these plants. Research has been being conducted with CBD for many years now. Researchers have discovered that CBD appears to be able to boost antibiotics some bacteria have become resistant to. Instead of interfering with how antibiotics work, CBD may actually help them to work even better.
What Infections Do Antibiotics Treat?
Just because you have an infection does not necessarily mean antibiotics will cure it. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. They do not treat viral infections. Some of the infections antibiotics will treat are strep throat, urinary tract infections, some pneumonia, whooping cough, E Coli, and others. Your doctor will know whether the infection you have requires an antibiotic to help you get better or not.
Infections that antibiotics won’t treat are things like the common cold, flu, most coughs, sore throats, bronchitis, and stomach flu. All of these conditions are caused by viruses and antibiotics can not kill viruses. Many times these conditions simply must run their course. If you must see a doctor, they will likely recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen to fight fever associated with a viral infection. Acyclovir, amciclovir, and valacyclovir are just a few drugs they may prescribe to help fight a viral infection.
Why Are Bacteria Becoming Resistant To Antibiotics?
Germs are much like anything else that wants to continue living. They fight back. When they are attacked by antibiotics, they try to find new ways to survive. The defense strategies they develop are known as resistance mechanisms. These mechanisms develop by using instructions their DNA provides. Sometimes, resistance genes can be found within plasmids. Plasmids are small pieces of DNA that can carry genetic instructions from germ to germ. This allows some bacteria to share their DNA and helps other germs to also become resistant.
A germ can resist antibiotics by restricting access to entryways. They may change the entryways or limit their number of entryways. Gram-negative bacteria have an outer membrane layer. This membrane protects them from their environment. They use the membrane to selectively keep antibiotics from getting in. Germs can rid themselves of antibiotics by using pumps located in their cell walls.
It is thought when antibiotics are over-prescribed or prescribed when they should not be are two reasons why bacteria are becoming antibiotic-resistant. This can happen when proper testing of infection is not completed before antibiotics are prescribed. Sometimes patients will pressure their doctor to prescribe antibiotics when they are not really necessary to treat the bacterial infection they have or they have a viral infection that antibiotics will not treat at all.
Can Antibiotics Be Boosted?
Some studies have shown small doses of silver can be effective in boosting antibiotic effectiveness. A paper published in Science Translational Medicine stated that silver tremendously boosted the ability of many commonly prescribed antibiotics when tested in mice with lethal infections. It also stated that at least one resistant bacterium strain succumbed to antibiotics again after silver was introduced.
More research is being conducted to find other ways to boost antibiotics because it is feared that eventually, the world may be back in a pre-antibiotic dilemma. This would mean that common bacterial infections that are usually easily treated with antibiotics could become so immune to them they could once again become killers worldwide.
How Could CBD Boost Antibiotics?
The use of CBD has spread so wide and so fast, it has practically forced researchers to delve deeper into the many benefits people claim it has. There is proof that CBD does help to reduce or eliminate seizures in the rare forms of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. The CBD-derived drug Epidiolex is thus far the only one approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Research has shown CBD does have other benefits. One study from the European Journal of Pain showed with an animal model, when CBD is applied to the skin it could help reduce pain as well as the inflammation associated with arthritis. Another study showed that CBD could inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain. These are two of the hardest types of chronic pain to treat. Other claims involving CBD include using it for anxiety, sleeplessness, appetite, and others. Further studies with humans need to be conducted to fully prove all of these claims.
When it comes to bacteria and their growing resistance to antibiotics, CBD could hold promising benefits. Some researchers at the University of Denmark discovered when CBD is with combined antibiotics, they have a more aggressive effect in treating some infections than when antibiotics were used alone. In the study, researchers analyzed the way different compounds work to destroy certain bacteria. This included staphylococcus. Staphylococcus is a gram-positive bacteria known to cause pneumonia and bacteremia. Bacteremia is a bloodstream infection. They investigated treatment for gram-negative bacteria as well.
There are differences in gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Gram-positive bacteria possess a thick peptidoglycan layer, but no outer lipid membrane. Gram-negative bacteria possess a thin peptidoglycan layer but do have an outer lipid membrane.
As to how the combination of antibiotics and CBD work together, researchers saw that cell cultures treated with it underwent alterations in the morphology of their cells when they were compared with other treatments. The alterations included a lack of cell separation during the cell division. It also included down-regulation of the cell division gene ezrA. This offers hope concerning the global threat of antibiotic resistance. This discovery showed that fewer antibiotics were needed to kill a certain amount of bacteria. Still, more study is needed to understand how CBD and antibiotics work together in both animals and humans and if they may provide the same results. With the research provided so far, it does seem CBD could be very helpful in helping to boost the effectiveness of battling antibiotic-resistant bacteria.