Marijuana ingredients show promise in battling superbugs

Sep 08, 2008

Substances in marijuana show promise for fighting deadly drug-resistant bacterial infections, including so-called "superbugs," without causing the drug's mood-altering effects, scientists in Italy and the United Kingdom are reporting.

Besides serving as infection-fighting drugs, the substances also could provide a more environmentally-friendly alternative to synthetic antibacterial substances now widely used in personal care items, including soaps and cosmetics, they say. Their study is scheduled for the Sept. 26 issue of ACS' monthly Journal of Natural Products.

In the new study, Giovanni Appendino and colleagues point out that scientists have known for years that marijuana contains antibacterial substances. However, little research has been done on those ingredients, including studies on their ability to fight antibiotic resistant infections, the scientists say.

To close that gap, researchers tested five major marijuana ingredients termed cannabinoids on different strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a "superbug" increasingly resistant to antibiotics. All five substances showed potent germ-killing activity against these drug-resistant strains, as did some synthetic non-natural cannabinoids, they say.

The scientists also showed that these substances appear to kill bacteria by different mechanisms than conventional antibiotics, making them more likely to avoid bacterial resistance, the scientists note. At least two of the substances have no known mood-altering effects, suggesting that they could be developed into marijuana-based drugs without causing a "high."

Article: dx.doi.org/10.1021/np8002673

Source: ACS

Explore further: Researchers use neutron scattering and supercomputing to study shape of a protein involved in cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

History holds valuable lessons in the war on drugs

Mar 04, 2015

Researchers say they're at the forefront of a new movement delving into the deep history of illicit drug use in Latin America and how it affects the rest of the world, a history that spans numerous fields ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.