Cannabis helps treat antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria

CBD to fight resistant bacteria?

As there is an increasing risk of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, alternative strategies are urgently needed to protect us from such dangerous pathogens and to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance. A combination of antibiotics and cannabidiol (CBD) enhanced the effects of the antibiotics. This means that fewer antibiotics are needed for treatment.

The current study by the University of Southern Denmark found that the combination of CBD and antibiotics has an enhanced effect. The results of the study were published in the scientific reports published in English.

Bacteria become resistant to antibiotics

Since Sir Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin in 1928, antibiotics have saved millions of people worldwide from fatal infections. Unfortunately, however, bacteria have developed mechanisms to protect themselves from the effects of antibiotics. You have become resistant.

How to boost antibiotics

As fewer and fewer antibiotics are available to treat resistant bacterial infections, there is a risk of falling back into a pre-antibiotic era. When looking for alternative strategies, the researchers now paid special attention to so-called helper connections. Such helper compounds are non-antibiotic compounds that can improve the effectiveness of antibiotics.

Does cannabidiol increase the effects of antibiotics?

It has long been suspected that cannabidiol (CBD) could act as such a helper compound. Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant. The new study has now been able to demonstrate such a potent effect of antibiotics through CBD.

Combination required fewer antibiotics for one treatment

When CBD was combined with antibiotics, a stronger effect was observed than with treatment with antibiotics alone, the research team reports. So fewer antibiotics were needed to kill a certain number of bacteria. In the study, CBD was used to enhance the effects of the antibiotic bacitracin against the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium.

Can infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria be treated?

Multi-resistant strains of this pathogen have already spread worldwide. In some countries, the treatment of bacterial infections with these resistant bacteria is already very problematic. As expected, this problem will expand further in the future. A combination of CBD and antibiotics could enable a novel treatment of infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

What were the effects of a combination of antibiotics and CBD?

When the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium was treated with a combination of CBD and antibiotics, various effects were observed. The bacteria were no longer able to divide normally. The expression of certain key genes (cell division and autolysis genes) in the bacteria was reduced and the bacterial membrane became unstable, the researchers report in a press release.

Excessive use of antibiotics must be avoided

According to the researchers, the excessive use of antibiotics is the main cause of the existing antibiotic resistance. If an antibiotic is combined with a helper substance that enhances the effectiveness of the antibiotic, less antibiotic would be required to achieve the same effect. This could help reduce the need for antibiotics and less resistant bacteria. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Claes Søndergaard Wassmann, Peter Højrup, Janne Kudsk Klitgaard: Cannabidiol is an effective helper compound in combination with bacitracin to kill Gram-positive bacteria, in Scientific Reports (published 05.03.2020), Scientific Reports
  • New study: Cannabis helps fight resistant bacteria, University of Southern Denmark (published 24.03.2020), SDU

Video: Changing the Games of Disease: Reversing Antibiotic Resistance (October 2021).