A new study from Australia says cannabis could be an effective antibiotic.
A group of researchers from the University of Queensland recently presented data that suggests the non-intoxicating cannabis compound CBD has antibiotic properties. Of particular interest was CBD's ability to kill bacteria that are otherwise highly resistant to antibiotic treatments.
The findings are certainly exciting, but lead researcher Mark Blaskovich said the proven uses of a CBD antibiotic are currently limited.
"So far, we have only shown it works topically, on the skin surface," Blaskovich explained to Newsweek. "To be really useful, it would be good if we could show that it treated systemic infections e.g. pneumonia, or complicated tissue infections, where you have to give it orally or by intravenous dosing. A very preliminary study didn't show that it works in these more difficult models."
Blaskovich also stated that the results have only been observed in tests with mice, so people shouldn't be making the jump from traditional antibiotics to CBD just yet.
"Most of what we have shown has been done in test tubes—it needs a lot more work to show it would be useful to treat infections in humans," he explained. "It would be very dangerous to try to treat a serious infection with cannabidiol instead of one of the tried and tested antibiotics."
So more research on this subject is needed. Luckily, we'll be seeing followup studies sooner than later, according to Dr. Andrew Edwards - a Molecular Microbiology Lecturer at Imperial College London. Edwards, who was not involved with the study, said we can expect much more CBD research in the future because physicians are eager to begin using the cannabis compound, which is already seen as a safe substance.
"CBD is already well-characterized in terms of human use," he said. "This is important because if cannabidiol is found to be effective in treating infection it could be fast-tracked into clinics."