CBD Kills Bacteria, But Not As a Substitute for Antibiotics
In more recent years, the cannabis–derived compound cannabidiol—more commonly known as CBD—has become increasingly popular as a treatment for a range of physical and mental ailments.
But there is a question hovering around the use of CBD: Can it be used in lieu of antibiotics to combat bacteria–caused illnesses and infections? The short answer is no.
While CBD may have some potential antibacterial properties, there is currently no scientific evidence to back up the claim that it can effectively treat bacterial infections. In fact, some experts contend that the assumption that CBD—which has been touted as an “all natural” alternative to antibiotics—might render antibiotics obsolete is actually quite dangerous. The issue, according to the experts, is that antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in the healthcare system.
Overprescription of antibiotics has resulted in a population–wide increase in bacteria that have become resistant to the drugs, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) estimating that more than two million people acquire antibiotic–resistant infections annually in the United States. This has prompted public health officials to sound the alarm, and to call for a conscious effort to reduce overprescription of antibiotics. In theory, CBD could play a role in replacing antibiotics in minor bacterial infections if one were to assume that it had antibacterial properties.
Tests conducted by researchers in the University of Macau found that when applied to certain kinds of bacteria, CBD could potentially kill the bacteria in question. While the study does indicate that some strains of bacteria can be killed off by CBD, it also stresses that more research is needed to determine the exact effect that it has on bacteria. Even if further studies do confirm that CBD could be an effective therapeutic treatment for certain types of bacterial infections, experts caution against using it as a replacement for antibiotics.
As noted by the National Institute of Health, CBD is not a suitable substitute for antibiotics; its efficacy against bacteria–caused illnesses has been overstated, and it may not be able to protect against potentially serious infections that can only be effectively managed through the use of antibiotics. Without further studies, it is unclear whether CBD can effectively treat bacterial infections or not. Until more research is conducted and conclusive evidence is presented in favor of its use for such purposes, CBD should not be heralded as a replacement for antibiotics. If you are facing a bacterial illness or infection, it is usually best to consult a physician and follow their recommended course of antibiotics over the use of CBD.