Researchers are closing in on yet another medical use for cannabidiol (CBD), the popular cannabis compound that doesn't get you high.
During Sunday's annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, Mark Blaskovich, a senior research chemist from the University of Queensland, presented his finding that CBD is "remarkably effective" at killing a range of bacteria, including several antibiotic-resistant strains — meaning we may have a new weapon in the war against superbugs.
Through his study – which was funded in part by drug-discovery company Botanix Pharmaceuticals – Blaskovich found that a synthetic form of CBD was able to kill several types of Gram-positive bacteria in the lab, including ones that can lead to MRSA and pneumonia. It was also effective at treating a skin infection in mice.
However, the CBD wasn't effective against Gram-negative bacteria, which are generally more resistant to antibiotics.
Blaskovich's study may have yielded promising results so far, but it's very much in the early stages — his work has yet to be peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal, and even he isn't quite sure what's allowing the CBD to kill the bacteria.
"It needs a lot more work to show [that CBD] would be useful to treat infections in humans," he told Live Science. "It would be very dangerous to try to treat a serious infection with cannabidiol instead of one of the tried and tested antibiotics."
READ MORE: Could CBD Fight Superbugs? Marijuana Compound Shows Promise As an Antibiotic. [Live Science]
More on antibiotic resistance: Sneaky Bacteria Can Swap Genes, Making Them Immune to Antibiotics