New research has found that cannabis could revolutionise the way we treat bacterial skin infections.

Australian researchers at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) have discovered that CBD, a non-psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis, is active against the bacteria responsible for many serious infections such as golden staph and pneumonia, including bacteria that have become resistant to other antibiotics.

The research team, led by Dr Mark Blaskovich, collaborated with Botanix Pharmaceuticals to develop “BTX 1801,” a formula designed to maximise the antibacterial properties of CBD.

The data revealed the CBD formulation is effective at killing a range of bacteria, including several antibiotic-resistant strains.

The research also suggests BTX 1801 kills the bacteria quickly, in just a few hours, while continuous treatments also revealed the bacteria did not develop resistance against the novel CBD formulation.

While the data from the research is promising, the study’s authors remain cautious about making conclusions. The research has not been peer-reviewed, nor is it published in a journal. So far, it has only been demonstrated in laboratory conditions and on animal models (mice), so further work will have to be done to verify efficacy in human subjects.

Dr Blaskovich said:

“Given cannabidiol’s documented anti-inflammatory effects, existing safety data in humans, and potential for varied delivery routes, it is a promising new antibiotic worth further investigation.

“The combination of inherent antimicrobial activity and potential to reduce damage caused by the inflammatory response to infections is particularly attractive.

“What may be really exciting, but we don’t know yet, is how it works. If it kills bacteria by a new mechanism not used by existing antibiotics, that would be really exciting.”

The research was presented by Dr Blaskovich at ASM Microbe, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the world’s largest single life science society composed of more than 30,000 scientists and health professionals with the aim of promoting and advancing the microbial sciences.