A new study suggests marijuana could have powerful antibiotic properties. Researches in Canada have found cannabigerol (CBG) destroys certain strains of bacteria.
Cannabigerol is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It’s not as well-known as cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but CBG is quickly making a name for itself because of recent studies.
A research team at McMaster University found cannabigerol had antibiotic effects on mice. Researchers gave CBG to mice infected with the Staphylococcus aureus strains of bacteria – a strain that traditional antibiotics like methicillin fail to destroy.
Based on the results, researchers concluded that CBG was “marvelous at tackling bacteria,” suggesting that the cannabinoid has antibiotic properties.
The McMaster University research team examined 18 commercially available cannabinoids linked to antibiotic properties. Some of these cannabinoids have shown to be more effective at fighting infections than others.
Researchers mainly focused on cannabigerol (CBG) because it had the most promising activity. Researchers isolated the compound and synthesized it, making it easy to test the cannabinoid in large dosages:
“The one we focused on was a non-psychoactive cannabinoid called CBG, as it had the most promising activity. We synthesized that cannabinoid in mass quantity, which gave us sufficient compound to go deep into the research.”
After giving CBG to mice, researchers observed powerful MRSA fighting benefits. CBG not only prevented the formation of bacterial biofilm, but it also appeared to kill MRSA bacteria.
Researchers Successfully Treated MRSA Infections with CBG
To test the antibiotic effects of CBG, researchers gave mice the Staphylococcus aureus strain of bacteria, also known as an MRSA infection.
Then, researchers exposed the bacteria to CBG. Researchers found CBG prevented the formation of biofilm, which is the slimy film of bacteria that adheres to a surface.
CBG prevented the biofilm from attaching to surfaces and forming communities of microorganisms, leading to the next stages of the MRSA infection.
Then, researchers gave CBG directly to the mice and noticed additional antibiotic benefits. Not only did CBG prevent the formation of biofilm, but CBG also seemed to have genuine antibiotic benefits:
“CBG proved to be marvelous at tackling pathogenic bacteria,” explained the study’s lead author Eric Brown.
“The findings suggest a real therapeutic potential for cannabinoids as antibiotics.”
CBG might do more than just replace antibiotics: it could be more effective than traditional antibiotics. While antibiotics like methicillin fail to destroy MRSA infections, CBG appears to work against MRSA infections.
However, researchers cautioned that their research is early, and more studies are needed to confirm the antibiotic effects of CBG.
The Stigma Against Cannabis as Medicine is Waning
Cannabis has been linked with medicinal benefits for decades, yet a stigma against using cannabis has medicine.
According to the Canadian research team, that stigma is waning. Cannabis has been fully legal in Canada for two years, making it easy for researchers across the country to investigate the medicinal effects of cannabis.
“It opens a therapeutic window, but a narrow one, to develop this into a drug. The next steps are to try to make the compound better in that it is more specific to the bacteria and has a lower chance of toxicity.”
The McMaster University research team had studied the antibiotic and therapeutic benefits of cannabis since nationwide legalization two years ago:
“This research became top of mind for us, in part, because we are in Canada. There has been some stigma of investing in this kind of research, but there’s increasing anecdotal evidence of the medicinal use of cannabis. The stigma seems to be waning.”
Based on CBG’s ability to prevent the formation of biofilm, potentially treat MRSA infections, and kill MRSA bacteria, researchers will continue examining the compound for its powerful antibiotic and therapeutic benefits.
This latest CBG research opens the door for cannabis as a potential alternative antibiotic treatment – and it continues to erase the stigma around cannabis as medicine.