Study Finds Cannabinoids May Be a Promising Option for Combatting MRSA

A new study has found that “cannabinoids may be a promising alternative to antibiotic therapy for bovine biofilm-associated MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)”.


“Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a serious threat to human, animal, and plant health on a global scale”, states the study, published in the peer-reviewed journal International Microbiology. “Search and elimination techniques should be used to effectively counter the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections.”

Researchers note that “With only a few novel drugs in clinical development, the quest for plant-based alternatives to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance among bacteria has accelerated. In the present research, we examined the antibacterial properties of ten plant-derived ethanolic leaf extracts. ”

The most effective ethanolic leaf extract against MRSA in decreasing order of zone of inhibition was “Cannabis sativa L. > Syzygium cumini > Murraya koenigii > Eucalyptus sp. > while Aloe barbadensis, Azadirachta indica, had very little impact. Mangifera indica, Curcuma longa, Tinospora cordifolia, and Carica papaya did not exhibit inhibitory effects against MRSA”.

Hence, “Cannabis was selected for further experimental study.”

The two major cannabinoids detected for the study were cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), “which were majorly attributed to substantial inhibitory action against MRSA.”

Researchers state that:

The time-kill kinetics demonstrated a bactericidal action at 4 MIC over an 8-20-h time window with a 90% reduction in growth rate. The results from SEM, and light microscopy Giemsa staining revealed a reduction in cells in the treated group with increased AKP activity, indicating bacterial cell membrane breakdown.

Researchers conclude by stating:

These findings suggested cannabinoids may be a promising alternative to antibiotic therapy for bovine biofilm-associated MRSA.

A different study published last year in the journal Bioorganic Chemistry came to a similar conclusion, finding that the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) may be useful in combatting MRSA.

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