UK expert says we should see CBD antibiotics in five years

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Neurologist and medical cannabis expert Mike Barnes, MD, says it’s only a matter of time before doctors start prescribing CBD as an antibiotic. Speaking to the UK’s Metro News yesterday, he said “I think we’re five years plus away, a pessimist might say 10 years, I think that’s too much given the plethora of research at the moment.”

He’s referring, specifically, to a landmark study published last month that said “CBD represents the prototypical member of an exciting structural class of antibiotics.” The American-Australian-New Zealand group of researchers came to that conclusion for two main reasons:

They found that CBD kills more kinds of bacteria than previously thought – some two dozen – including those considered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to be the most dangerous superbugs out there: MRSA, multidrug-resistant Strep pneumonia, C. difficileand the so-called Super Gonorrhea.

Second, and crucially, they “demonstrate that CBD does not lead to resistance after repeated exposure.” We see just how important drug resistance is in the context of the coronavirus. As the virus evolves it can develop different capabilities; for example, to be more contagious and, especially worrisome, the potential ability to evade – resist – vaccines.

Dr. Barnes notes the final issue that’s preventing CBD from going online as an antibitoic right now: you can’t take it orally because it binds to proteins in the blood – it’s ‘captured’ by the blood – leaving too little to go after the pathogen. (The researchers demonstrated CBD’s killing ability by exposing the bacteria to it directly – on a petri plate and then topically in an induced infection in a mouse.)

But with just a bit more research and engineering, Barnes says he’s confident such a treatment would be approved by UK regulators, allowing many previously untreatable infections to be dealt with, and soon:

To get something that helps against this antibiotic resistant gonorrhea, which is a WHO top priority, you would hope that it would be fast-tracked through the approval system to get this onto the market as soon as possible.

And Barnes knows a thing or two about getting a new medicine to the public. He was the expert the UK government relied on to okay the CBD-THC drug Sativex, which alleviates the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

When asked how many lives he thought CBD-based antibiotics could save, he said:

I would have thought we’re looking at hundreds of thousands globally but more particularly it helps the quality of life because persistent gonorrhea is a very debilitating disease.

There’re the lives saved but perhaps more importantly there’s much bigger numbers of people who could be less debilitated.

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