What Is Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria?
Antibiotic resistance is a global health threat, and cannabinoids may be a solution.
According to the World Health Organization, “Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.” Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a global problem that is growing at an astonishing rate. In the United States, it is one of the greatest issues concerning medications.
Statistics released by the CDC are rather disturbing. According to the report, no less than two million people are infected in the U.S. by antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year. At least 23,000 people die annually as a result of these infections. An unknown number of people perish each year due to complications arising from antibacterial resistance.
Curiously, antibiotic resistance bacteria predate the medical use of antibiotics by humans. Use of this medication has actually exacerbated the problem. Contributing factors to elevated antibacterial resistance include:
- An astronomic increase in the availability and use of antibiotics since the 1950s.
- Poor regulation of the sales of antibiotics in low-income and middle-income countries where the chances of making a purchase over the counter are high. In many cases, antibiotics are used in needless situations, and this only increases antibacterial resistance.
- Use of antibiotics in livestock.
- Environmental pollution.
The following may contribute to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria:
- Natural resistance among certain strains of bacteria.
- Genetic mutation.
- Acquisition of the resistant trait from a specific strain of bacteria.
There are several ways to help prevent antibiotic resistance, which include:
- Using antibiotics only when needed.
- Choosing narrow-spectrum antibiotics over their broad-spectrum counterparts.
- Obeying basic hygienic rules among hospital staff.
The rising rate at which antibiotic resistant bacteria grow is caused mainly by the use of antimicrobials in humans and animals alongside the spread of resistant strains between species. Intake of antibiotics increases the rate of selective pressure in some bacterial populations and triggers the death of vulnerable bacteria. Those that are left behind are strong and continue growing.
At least 700,000 global deaths can be credited to antibacterial resistance. It’s clear that alternative treatments are needed. It is past time to use what we already know about CBD and other cannabinoids and research it further.
Cannabinoids Are Effective Against Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
Because it is becoming increasingly difficult to tackle bacteria with antibiotics, patients and health care providers must seek alternatives. We have known for some time that taking too many antibiotics is risky. Studies have shown that cannabidiol (CBD) has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that relieve a variety of conditions.
CBD and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Research
A 2008 study carried out by Italian and British researchers showed the potent effects of cannabis on antibiotic resistant bacteria. In the study, five different cannabinoids were tested against six strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA or “staph infection”). Results showed that all cannabinoids proved potent against the various strains of bacteria. The cannabinoids involved in the study were tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD, cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC).
These cannabinoids showed exceptional activity against a number of bacterial strains including SA-1199B, which happens to be very resistant to a large number of pharmaceutical drugs. The cannabinoids also proved effective against EMRSA-15 and EMRSA-16.
But most recently … In March 2020, a research team at the University of Denmark published a study in Scientific Reports that proves CBD’s boosting effects on antibiotics.
“When we combined CBD and antibiotics, we saw a more powerful effect than when treating with antibiotics alone. So, in order to kill a certain number of bacteria, we needed less antibiotics,” researchers reported.
When they combined CBD with antibiotics to treat Staphylococcus aureus bacteria—a major bacitracin-resistant human pathogen that frequently causes community- and hospital-acquired disease—the bacteria died because they could no longer divide normally. Certain key genes that cause the bacteria production, were lowered.
The medical field is always changing. Since ancient times, cannabis has been regarded as a healing agent. In modern research and anecdotal situations, cannabinoids have increasingly proven to have therapeutic and preventative benefits for numerous diseases, disorders, and conditions. It is a promising solution for combating antimicrobial resistant strains of bacteria.
Currently, MRSA accounts for a large number of deaths in the U.S., more deaths than are caused by AIDS. It will only get worse with time.
For now, the U.S. government still places cannabis as a schedule I drug despite a long list of studies showcasing its positive health benefits. It is past time to rigorously research and develop the full potential of cannabinoids. Researchers are chomping at the bit to perform the studies. It is our federal legislation that continues to prevent funding for such research. Legislators must allow us to move forward to discover the new standard of safe medicinal care that we may discover in cannabinoids.
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