Cannabis compound may play a key role in new antibiotics

In a new study, researchers have identified an antibacterial compound made by cannabis plants that may serve as a lead for new drug development.

They found that the chemical compound, or cannabinoid, called cannabigerol (CBG) is not only antibacterial but also effective against a resilient family of bacteria known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The research was conducted by a team at McMaster University

In this study, the team tested 18 commercially available cannabinoids and found they all showed antibiotic activity, some much more than others.

The one the researchers focused on was a non-psychoactive cannabinoid called CBG, as it had the most promising activity.

The team synthesized that cannabinoid in mass quantity which gave them sufficient compound to go deep into the research.

The research team found that CBG had antibacterial activity against drug-resistant MRSA.

It prevented the ability of that bacteria to form biofilms, which are communities of microorganisms that attach to each other and to surfaces; and it destroyed preformed biofilms and cells resistant to antibiotics.

CBG achieved this by targeting the cell membrane of the bacteria.

These findings in the laboratory were supported when mice with an MRSA infection were given CBG.

The team says CBG proved to be marvelous at tackling pathogenic bacteria. The findings suggest a real therapeutic potential for cannabinoids as antibiotics.

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 lead author of the study is Eric Brown, professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at McMaster.

The study is published in the journal American Chemical Society Infectious Diseases.

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