World Antibiotic Awareness Week is almost upon us. Between 18 & 24 November 2019, The World Health Organization (WHO) hosts an annual International event to focus attention on the overuse of antibiotics. The world is facing a major crisis as more bacteria become resistant to existing antibiotics. It also affects the animals some of us eat. When you eat incorrectly prepared meat, for example, bacteria can enter your body.
This rapid increase in antibiotic resistance is alarming.and the lack of new drugs is a real concern. There are many things we can do to help.
Is CBD the future of antibiotics? The new superbug killer? It could be offering real hope in this vital area as it does in others.
What Are Antibiotics and Will CBD Be The Answer?
When I was four years old, I had no idea what antibiotics were. One night I woke my mother, screaming with excruciating pain in one of my small ears.
The doctor who came to see me explained I had a bacterial infection. He prescribed the new 'wonder drug' - Penicillin. I had no idea what a bacterial infection was, I just wanted the pain to stop and Penicillin achieved that quickly.
I overheard my parents talking about it later. Dad explained how Penicillin saved thousands of soldiers’ lives in WWII. The American and British governments tested it on wounded soldiers.
My pain eased soon after the first dose and I slept like a log the next night. The infection was history.
The wartime trials were a huge success. Penicillin was a wonder drug and it became available immediately after the War. Australia was the first country to make it accessible to the public. America followed suit on March 15, 1945.
Many large drug companies began developing new antibiotics after the war ended. They followed on from the success of Penicillin. Research targeted specific bacterial infections and they developed antibiotics to treat them. Could CBD be the solution to antibiotic resistance.
What’s Changed & Will CBD Help?
For the last 77 years antibiotics have been a thriving business for drug companies. It is a success story, but also part of the issue we face today.
In the last 30 years, drug companies have only released 11 new antibiotics. The last breakthrough came in 2015 with the drug Teixobactin however, more needs to be done in the fight against superbugs.
Bacteria are clever little critters. They have evolved and built resistance to antibiotics over the decades of overuse.
Some of the world’s nastiest bacterial infections like E.coli, Clostridium Difficile, Pneumonia, and Gonorrhea, are resistant to antibiotics. Anyone who gets a serious bacterial infection may suffer a longer illness, need hospital care and more expensive drugs. The development of new drugs is urgent.
The risk of a worldwide spread of a deadly bacterial infection is a serious concern. The likelihood of a pandemic increases each year.
Why Has it Changed?
Over-prescribing antibiotics is one of the most common reasons for resistance. Self-medicating is another issue. In many countries, antibiotics are available over the counter with no need for a prescription, which is bad news.
Misuse and overuse are abundant which makes the problem worse.
For decades farming has overused antibiotics by putting them into animal feed and water to promote growth and reduce food intake. The result is bacteria in animals build up resistance faster. Heavier beasts, eating less food means a higher return for the farmer but bad news for the planet.
In 2013 The FDA addressed this issue by introducing a transition process to remove antibiotics used by humans from their use in animals. If an animal was sick, only a Vet could still prescribe the antibiotics. This resulted in fewer doses of antibiotics helping reduce resistance. In 2017 the transition process finished successfully.
What About Superbugs, Could CBD Be The Answer?
The overuse of antibiotics has resulted in the creation of ‘Superbugs’, which resist current antibiotics making them difficult to treat. The bacteria have mutated to such a degree, the antibiotics don’t work any longer.
Have a look at A Most Unwanted List of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, in a recent report by Reuters. It explains in detail the issues we all face.
Livestock fed antibiotics develop resistant bacteria in their bodies which can enter your body through the food you eat and that is bad news for you.
So What’s Being Done With CBD?
There are new antibiotics in research and development, and the success of Teixobactin, discovered in 2015 is encouraging. It is a worldwide issue which requires international cooperation and teamwork. CBD is being researched currently as a viable solution to antibiotic resistance.
CBD Could Be The New Super Antibiotic
Often the search for a solution overlooks something under our noses. That’s what has happened with CBD. It's been around for centuries and has been successful in treating numerous medical and other conditions. Only now are we seeing how much it is capable of doing.
A new CBD study is underway, led by Dr. Mark Blaskovich, PhD. the senior research officer at the Centre for Superbug Solutions at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland in Australia. He is currently studying how CBD could become the new ‘super antibiotic’ for the future. This is great news as it could mean a whole new approach to treating dangerous bacterias.
Initial research is very positive. They have tested CBD against a wide variety of bacteria and the results are encouraging.
‘Including bacteria that have become resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics, CBD is remarkably effective at killing bacteria in lab experiments” Dr. Blaskovich explains. The research showed that CBD had antibiotic reactions against a number of bacteria, including those which have become resistant to other antibiotic drugs. The results are in the very early stages and researchers have warned people not use CBD to treat infections themselves.
"The first thing we looked at is CBD's ability to kill bacteria." Dr. Blaskovich says, “In every test, CBD had a similar success to that of common antibiotics."
The researchers tested CBD against strains of staphylococcus which is a bacteria that causes skin infections, and streptococcus, the cause of strep throat.
They compared how effective CBD was to antibiotics, such as Vancomycin and Daptomycin and the results were encouraging.
Dr. Blaskovich explained, “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.”
They discovered that CBD disrupted the biofilm. It is the layer that surrounds bacteria. The result is it makes it tougher for the antibiotic to infiltrate and kill the bacteria.
According to Dr, Blaskovich the lab studies showed, “CBD is much less likely to cause resistance than the existing antibiotics, and is selective for the type of bacteria.”You can read the report here.
Speed is of the utmost importance to find a solution to this 21st-century problem. Time is running out. Individually we may not be able to do much, but we can be responsible antibiotic users. That alone will help.
There needs to be more research into the medicinal and holistic benefits of Cannabis compounds. Cannabis has been effective in treating many ailments over centuries. It is a powerful medicinal tool we should be researching with all urgency. Look at some history: (Source).
Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy was a medical doctor working in India in the early 19th century. He discovered that cannabis extracts like CBD could ease some of the symptoms of cholera.
In the late 19th century, cannabis extracts were available in pharmacies and medical practices in America and Europe. Patients used them for stomach issues and a range of other medical complaints.
Later, researchers discovered that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) was the main source of cannabis’ medicinal benefits. It’s the compound that delivers the plant’s mind-altering side effects, but it also works with the parts of the brain which help reduce nausea and encourage hunger.
The U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved two drugs that contain THC: Marinol and Syndros. They are prescribed in tablet or liquid form and are effective in reducing nausea caused by chemotherapy treatment for cancer. They also combat the loss of appetite in HIV/AIDS sufferers.
There’s Nothing New Under The Sun!
As it says in the Bible – “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
It may be we have to look harder to find what may already be under our noses.