The study was funded by Botanix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., which is researching uses of CBD for skin conditions, and the Australian government. Blaskovich is a consultant for Botanix.
He says the research results are promising but in early stages. He also warns people that it’s much too early to self-treat infections with CBD.
“The first thing we looked at is CBD’s ability to kill bacteria,” he says. “In every case, CBD had a very similar potency to that of common antibiotics.”
How It Might Work, Caveats
The CBD also disrupted the biofilm, the layer of ”goop” around bacteria that makes it more difficult for the antibiotic to penetrate and kill.
At the same meeting, Novy presented a preliminary study, finding that CBD also looks promising to fight some gram-negative infections.
In another study, also presented at the meeting, the researchers tested topical CBD to treat a skin infection on mice. It cut the number of bacteria after 48 hours, Blaskovich says, although it did not clear the infection. That research is ongoing.
They compared how effective CBD was compared to common antibiotics, such as vancomycin and daptomycin. “We looked at how quickly the CBD killed the bacteria. It’s quite fast, within 3 hours, which is pretty good. Vancomycin (Vancocin) kills over 6 to 8 hours.”
Methods: A spontaneous, anecdotal, retrospective study of 20 patients with two most frequent skin disorders: psoriasis (n: 5 patients), atopic dermatitis (n: 5) and resulting outcome scars (n: 10). The subjects were instructed to administer topical CBD-enriched ointment to lesioned skin areas twice daily for three months treatment.
Results: Based on skin evaluations (hydration, TEWL, elasticity), clinical questionnaires (SCORAD, ADI, PASI), and supported by photographic data and investigators’ clinical assessment, the results showed that topical treatment with CBD-enriched ointment significantly improved the skin parameters, the symptoms and also the PASI index score. No irritant or allergic reactions were documented during the period treatment.
Objective: To investigate the therapeutic effect of CBD-ointment administered on severe skin chronic diseases and/or on their outcome scars.
Conclusions: The topical administration of CBD ointment, without any THC, is a safe and effective non-invasive alternative for improve the quality of life in patients with some skin disorders, especially on inflammatory background.
It is important to note this new research has not been peer-reviewed or published in a journal, but has also only been demonstrated in laboratory conditions and animal models, so further work will have to be done to verify efficacy in human subjects. However, Botanix does have several similar formulations of CBD at various stages of human trialing. Most advanced is a CBD-derived compound labeled BTX 1503, which is designed to treat moderate to severe acne. This treatment delivered extraordinarily promising Phase 1 human trial results and is on track to commence larger Phase 2 studies this year.
We have known for some time that certain cannabinoids found in marijuana display impressive antibacterial properties. Of course, that doesn’t translate into these compounds immediately becoming effective antibiotics. Smoking marijuana, for example, has been found to potentially reduce the body’s ability to fight off certain bacterial infections.
Botanix Pharmaceuticals has been working on harnessing the antibacterial potential in CBD by creating an effective delivery system to treat a variety of skin diseases. Details of the company’s latest CBD formulation, called BTX 1801, have been presented by University of Queensland researcher Mark Blaskovich at the annual conference of the American Society for Microbiology in San Francisco.
The new data revealed the CBD formulation is effective at killing a range of bacteria, including several antibiotic-resistant strains. The research suggests BTX 1801 kills the bacteria quickly, in just a few hours, while continuous treatments also revealed the bacteria did not develop resistance against the novel CBD formulation.
New research presented at the the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology has demonstrated a novel topical formation containing cannabidiol (CBD) is effective at killing bacterial infections in the skin. The formulation was also found to kill certain antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The most significant limitation in CBD’s potential as an antibiotic is the fact it seems to be only effective at killing Gram-positive bacteria and not Gram-negative bacteria. This means CBD may never become the magic bullet against the broader rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but these new innovative ways to target specific bacterial skin infections suggest the marijuana-derived compound still offers promising novel therapeutic outcomes.