With antibiotic resistance reaching epidemic levels, medical professionals are doing all they can to fight the issue. Could CBD be the solution they need? Read on to find out.
Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to our health. These medicines help us fight infections when we’re sick so we can regain health but over time, the microbes in our body can start to build a resistance to antibiotics, rendering them powerless.
However, recent research has shown that CBD may be effective in reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance. Keep reading to find out more about antibiotic resistance and how CBD can help our bodies respond better to medical treatments.
The Growing Epidemic of Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance is a problem on the rise in America. It occurs when bacteria develop the ability to survive antibiotics designed to kill them or inhibit their growth. This happens due to changes in the DNA of the bacteria, or due to the acquisition of antibiotic resistance genes from other bacterial species through horizontal gene transfer. When this occurs, the antibiotic-resistant bacteria continue to grow and multiply, causing infection even when exposed to antibiotics. The result is that certain antibiotics can no longer be used to treat infections.
In recent years, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics has risen. This behavior contributes directly to the increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The more bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, the more resistant they can become.
In response to the increase in antibiotic resistance, doctors are prescribing medication more selectively. They are trying not to repeat the misstep of many medical professionals who previously prescribed antibiotics for minor conditions that would have otherwise cleared up by themselves. Now, doctors are making sure antibiotics are only prescribed when there is a clear need for them.
CBD and Antibiotic Resistance
Studies show that CBD may be effective in preventing antibiotic resistance. One study found that CBD was effective in addressing antibiotic resistance related to the treatment of MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), a bacteria that causes infection in different parts of the body and is particularly resistant to antibiotics. This study, conducted in 2008 by a group of Italian and British researchers, tested five different marijuana cannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBG, CBC, and CBN) to determine how effective they would be at treating six different strains of MRSA.
The study determined that all of the cannabinoids were somewhat effective in treating the condition, with some being exceptionally potent in fighting certain strains. It also provided evidence that cannabis has certain antimicrobial defenses that target bacterial cells. They were unable to determine the precise mechanism that kills the bugs, but more recent research has provided a few theories on how CBD helps fight infection.
CBD and the Cytochrome P450
Our metabolism is responsible for breaking down every substance that enters our bodies. Liver enzymes called cytochrome P450 (CYPs) are responsible for breaking down more than 60% of prescription medications on the market today, including some types of antibiotics. Researchers have found genetic differences in the effectiveness of CYP genes, which may explain why a particular medication works better on some than on others.
When CBD enters the body, it may interact with CYP enzymes in the liver. Results vary on depending on the dosage you’re taking, the form you’re ingesting, and your body’s metabolism, but studies show CBD can slow down the way enzymes process substances within the body.
Although research on the interaction between CBD and antibiotics are limited, effects of the compound have been studied to determine how it affects other drugs. For example, it has shown to be effective when used in conjunction with epilepsy and chemotherapy medications, allowing patients to decrease their dosage when taken alongside CBD. However, CBD has been shown to both increase and decrease the intensity of other drugs in your system (depending on the drug), so it’s important to keep that in mind when mixing medications with CBD.
CBD, The Immune System, and the ECS, Oh My!
Other theories on how CBD works to fight infections involve the compound’s relationships with the immune system and the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The relationship between the immune system and CBD is an interesting one. With autoimmune diseases, the body’s system attacks itself. It recognizes healthy cells as harmful and tries to eliminate them. This results in a breakdown of the body’s defense mechanisms, leaving the body vulnerable to illnesses. When CBD is introduced into the system of someone with an autoimmune disease, it works as an immune system suppressor. It calms the immune system down, making it less likely to attack healthy cells. In other instances, CBD seems to be an immune system stimulant. We can see this in its ability to help fight cancer cells and MRSA.
Although the relationship between the immune system and the endocannabinoid system is not fully known, there is no doubt that the two work together. The ECS reacts with endo and exo-cannabinoids to produce certain biological effects. Its activation could be an important factor in producing an effective or deficient immune system response against infectious diseases. When cannabinoids come into contact with infectious agents, they eliminate them in some cases and replicate them in others. This supports the idea that the activation of cannabinoid receptors can affect the functioning of the ECS, which in turn affects the immune system in unexpected ways. The immune system usually works to clear out infectious agents, but when the ECS is activated, results may differ, and infectious agents may survive. that the ECS will act in different ways depending on the type of bacteria that is being introduced into the system. Research has produced the following evidence in relation to how certain bacteria responded to cannabinoid compounds:
In Vivo vs. In Vitro: Studies showed that cannabinoids had an antibacterial effect on in vitro bacteria, but the opposite effect on in vivo bacteria. Similar results were found in the case of viral infections, where there were more positive results when samples were in vitro.
Parasites: Studies showed cannabinoids were able to inhibit the growth and invasion of parasitic cells both in vivo and in vitro.
Fungal Infections: More research is needed to establish the connection between ECS activation and fungal infections. So far, studies have produced evidence that cannabinoids can be effective in treating these types of infections in vitro, but are not as potent for in vivo infections.
CBD and the Hardest Diseases to Fight
When we think of diseases that see the most antibiotic resistance, MSRA is one that tops most lists. But there are several other diseases that are also particularly difficult to fight, and many of these have been effectively treated with the use of CBD. They include:
Tuberculosis: This bacterial disease affects the lungs. Symptoms can include chest pain, chills, fever, coughing, coughing up blood, fatigue, and more. CBD’s antimicrobial properties have made it particularly effective in the treatment of tuberculosis, combating many of the symptoms that manifest with the disease.
Gonorrhea: This sexually transmitted infection can cause severe reproductive complications if left untreated. Because some drugs are becoming less effective in treating the disease, the CDC has updated its treatment guidelines to slow drug resistance. Although modern medicine is still looking at the effectiveness of cannabinoids in the treatment of gonorrhea, it has been historically used to treat the disease, with reports dating as far back as the 17th century.
HIV: Known as one of the most antibiotic-resistant diseases, HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, rendering it unable to fight off infection and disease. Because HIV is highly drug-resistant, there are extremely limited medications available to treat it. Recent studies have shown the CBD is effective in treating HIV through its ability to suppress the immune system and keep it from attacking healthy cells. CBD has also been shown to help treat many symptoms associated with the disease.
CBD and Tolerance
Antibiotic resistance occurs when the body begins to build a tolerance to antibiotics. When this occurs, individuals need to take increased doses of the medicine, which can be both toxic and expensive. But what about CBD? Can you build up a tolerance to CBD as well?
The answer is no. You can build up a tolerance to THC, CBD’s sister compound, but not to CBD. This is because THC binds directly to the body’s endocannabinoid receptors. With continued use, the amount of cannabinoid receptors in the body begin to decrease, so you need more THC to get the same result.
CBD, on the other hand, does not bind with receptors in the same way THC does. In fact, it actually increases receptor activity. Because it has this effect, many users are able to decrease the amount of CBD they use over time.
Antibiotic resistance is reaching epidemic levels all over the world. If the problem continues, it could set our medical system back hundreds of years, resulting in a significant decrease in both life expectancy and quality of life. CBD may be the answer medical professionals are looking for. With more studies being conducted, we are hopeful that CBD will work to eliminate this problem and create a brighter future in the healthcare industry.
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