A non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis (“marijuana”) may work as well as a ‘powerful antibiotic’ in treating Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as MRSA. The discovery comes amid the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is difficult to treat and potentially deadly. The findings join the recent discovery of a new antibiotic compound made by artificial intelligence earlier this month.
The research was recently published in the American Chemical Society’s Infectious Diseases, where researchers highlight cannabigerol (CBG) as the potentially beneficial compound. The research involved testing 18 different molecules found in cannabis for their potential to treat MRSA, a common and difficult-to-treat superbug that can cause deadly infections in humans.
The tested molecules included the commonly known psychoactive compound THC and CBD, the compound best known for its potential medicinal effects. The lesser-known CBG compound stood out among others, showing a ‘hidden antibiotic potential’ that led to additional testing.
Among other things, the researchers tested the use of CBG on mice that were infected with MRSA and found that the compound worked as well as a powerful antibiotic called vancomycin, which is typically used to treat this infection. Combining CBG with another drug enabled the bacteria to destroy gram-negative bacteria, as well, which it can’t target on its own due to the bacteria’s outer membrane.
The compound was also able to target what are known as dormant persistor MRSA bacteria and to prevent biofilm formations on surfaces. The findings indicate that CBG may be a promising new antibiotic substance that could potentially treat MRSA bacteria that is resistant to other known and common antibiotics.