Antibiotics made with cannabis could soon be prescribed on the NHS - how they work

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 3:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2021, 3:56 pm
Antibiotics made with cannabis could soon be prescribed on the NHS - how they work (Photo: Shutterstock)

A cannabis-based antibiotic could be subscribed by the NHS in just five years, according to a leading neurologist.

Research by the University of Queensland, has found that CBD, the main non-psychoactive component of marijuana, has the ability to talk and kill bacteria responsible for gonorrhoea, meningitis and legionnaires disease.

The study’s findings have been hailed as a medical breakthrough, as the UN warned that drug-resistant disease could kill 10 million people per year by 2050 unless a solution is found.

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‘Only a matter of time’

The research was conducted by the University of Queensland and Botanix Pharmaceuticals Limited, and saw synthetically produced CBD successfully penetrate the protective membranes of several bacteria and kill them.

One of the bacterial membranes was neisseria gonnorrhea, which is responsible for causing gonorrhoea as well as leionell, which causes legionnaire’s disease and bacteria that causes meningitis.

The CBD was particularly good at breaking down biofilm - the slimy build up of bacteria, such as dental plaque on the surface of teeth - which help bacteria such as MRSA survive antibiotic treatments.

Speaking to the Metro, medical cannabis expert Professor Mike Barnes says it's only a matter of time before GPs start prescribing CBS pills to fight off infections.

“I think we’re five years plus away, a pessimist might say 10 years, I think that’s too much given the plethora of research at the moment,” he commented.

“I think it’s potentially really exciting and yet another thing that cannabis does, so we should embrace cannabis as a medicine because it does so many different things.”

Despite the new research, there is still a lot of work to be done to further the development of CBD medical treatments.

Professor Barnes added: “To put very crudely, if you put CBD on a plate with bacteria it kills it very quickly, but if you put it in a tablet form it won’t kill it very quickly.”

However, he remained confident that the treatment would eventually be improved by UK regulators. He said: “To get something that helps against this antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea, which is a WHO top priority, you would hope that it would be fast-tracked through the approval system to get this onto the market as soon as possible.”