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Cannabis Based Medicine - The Super Antibiotics of the Future ?

Cannabis Based Medicine - The Super Antibiotics of the Future ?

ANTIBACTERIAL, ANTIBIOTIC POTENTIAL OF CANNABIS AGAINST BACTERIA / MRSA INFECTION

Photo Credit - Google Mosaic - Cannabinoids Battle Infection

Medical professionals are calling it a worldwide emergency. In this epidemic of uncontrollable bacterial infections, the elderly and immunocompromised are dropping like flies. It is now common for routine surgery and treatments to include bacterial infections, something that was somewhat a rarity in the past.  With the legalization of medical marijuana, clinical research has followed, delivering some very encouraging findings.  Some prominant researchers are starting to wonder, will the super antibiotics of the future be based on cannabinoids, the active substances found in Cannabis? 

 

“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era.  Common infections and minor injuries, which have been treatable for decades, can once again kill.” - Dr. Keiji Fukuda of the World Health Organization on the BBC

 

The first antibiotics came onto the market in 1911/1912 but they were quite toxic and some contained arsenic of all things.  Antibiotics were not widely prescribed until the 1930's.  During World War II, penicillin was used to save many a soldier.  Since then there have been a vast array of antibiotics have been developed and brought to market.  The major types are:

  • Penicillins -  penicillin and amoxicillin

  • Cephalosporins - cephalexin (Keflex)

  • Macrolides - erythromycin (E-Mycin), clarithromycin (Biaxin), and azithromycin (Zithromax)

  • Fluoroquinolones - ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), and ofloxacin (Floxin)

  • Sulfonamides - co-trimoxazole (Bactrim) and trimethoprim (Proloprim)

  • Tetracyclines -tetracycline (Sumycin, Panmycin) and doxycycline (Vibramycin)

  • Aminoglycosides - gentamicin (Garamycin) and tobramycin (Tobrex)

Unfortunately, some physicians and some of their clients took these antibiotics for every little upset and sickness.  In the evolutionary process, bacteria mutate as a way to survive, some of the random traits new traits are useful to adapt to an ever changing environment.  A minute fraction of the bacteria that are wiped out in the initial battle - with an antibiotic - were able to survive and eventually thrive.  These new "superbugs" can survive any of today's anti-biotics that are thrown at them.

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) causes over 10,000 deaths each year.  The CDC says that MRSA is a direct result of the over-prescription of antibiotics, which turned the common Staph aureus bacteria a monster - from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde.  MRSA complications result in an increase in the death of patients suffering from any illness by sixty percent.  MRSA is infections and is turning hospitals and medical facilities into dangerous places.

 

“One of the most practical application of cannabinoids would be as topical agents to treat ulcers and wounds in a hospital environment, decreasing the burden of antibiotics,” - Dr. Giovanni

 

MRSA used to prey upon people with lowered immune systems, but recently this bacteria type is invading healthy populations. Outbreaks include high schools, football teams, conventions, and cruise ships to name a few.  Though President Obama's record is extremely dodgy when it comes to improving health care in America, he nonetheless issued an executive order - to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria. $1.2 billion dollars was budgeted toward the cause.  Hopefully the money is not wasted.

 

MARIJUANA AS AN ANTIBACTERIAL AGENT -  RESEARCH FINDINGS

There have been several research studies and clinical trials that find - common marijuana can kill MRSA and many other bacterial species as well.   These findings have been expanded upon, to study the efficacy of plant main medical constituents, the cannabinoids (THC,CBD, etc.) and the terpenes (aromatic substances).  

Specifically, the team tested five of marijuana’s most common cannabinoids against six different MRSA strains of “clinical relevance”, including epidemic EMRSA strains, which are the ones responsible for hospital outbreaks. They found that every single one of the cannabinoids tested showed “potent activity” against a wide variety of the bacteria.  The following table illustrates the anti-bacterial effectiveness of cannabis compounds - and works better in several cases, as compared to common antibiotics.

 

Clinical Trial - Which Cannabinoid Kills Which Bacteria Strain

Photo Credit - Blogspot - Mature Cannabis Research

Cannabinoids have been found to have a wealth of medicinal properties, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-pain, and help bone and nerve tissue regenerate, among many other benefits.  

 

"Cannabis compounds were shown to shut down MRSA" - findings of Dr. Giovanni, Appendino Dr. Simon Gibbons.

 

The research suggests that cannabinoids were developed by the plant as a way to battle microbial infection of the plant - over millions of years.  The exceptional activity of cannabinoids remains despite the super-bug's latest adaptations, which might stand to reason.  The marijuana plant has been evolving ways to kill parasites like bacteria for millions of years while man, in his not so infinite wisdom has been playing around for less than a century.  

 

“The actual mechanism by which they kill the bugs is still a mystery, I really cannot hazard a guess how they do it, but their high potency as antibiotics suggests there must be a very specific mechanism.” - Dr. Gibbons

 

 

BURIED HISTORY - CANNABIS AS AN ANTIBIOTIC

 

The Many Cannabis Medicines Available in America 1900-1933

 

While these "new" findings provide great excitement to this generation of medical researchers, cannabis has been used for not centuries, but millennia.  Even in America, marijuana and hemp were for the first three centuries of its existence. The weed was legal up until the 1930's when lobby groups seeking to get rid of the competition - which was pulp and paper and big oil - who succeeded in convincing a gullible public that marijuana was an evil narcotic and public enemy #1.  Interestingly, the Fed never convinced the medical community it was bad and the board of US Pharmacopeia resisted removing Cannabis from it's list of medicines / therapies.

 

"Cannabis resin was successful in treating both tetanus and cholera." - 1843 London’s Provincial Medical Journal

 

The annals of history is chalked full with references to medical marijuana traditions which include its use as an antibiotic and treatment for chronic injuries and especially women's problems, such as cramps, erratic temper, gynecological issues and pain. Scholars say that in ancient Egypt, papyruses show hemp being used as an antiseptic. African tribes in the middle of nowhere use cannabis for its analgesic, sedative and antibiotic properties to this very day.  In South American folk medicine, marijuana was used to treat gonorrhea and TB.

 

“Within a few months, Cannabis oil had done what years of antibiotics had failed to do, it had given me my life back, I was completely debilitated, I could not walk or talk and I was in a wheelchair being spoon-fed. I took a shot in the dark and started using cannabis oil and it worked.” Author, Shelley White

 

A Southern Rhodesia research group reported that marijuana medicines are  a remedy for anthrax, sepsis, dysentery, malaria and for tropical quinine-malarial haemoglobinuria.  According to the CDC, each year there are 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease caused by the spirochete bacteria or borrelia burgdorferi - transmitted by insect, tick.  About 40 percent of Lyme sufferers have chronic conditions.

 

“The decarboxylation process, which heats marijuana to a point where the THC becomes psychoactive, it can be concluded that it is not feasible to perform decarboxylation of cannabinoids, without significant loss of terpene components.” - paraphrasing Dr. Hazekamp

 

Next up: A look into the research literature, CBD, THC, cannabis medicines, terpenes and their antibacterial properties.

 

MMJDOCTORONLINE Notes:  If you want to try medical marijuana to treat a disease or symptom, you're going to need a licensed doctor's 420 recommendation.  Fortunately, this process is easily completed online in a few minutes. Just fill out the form here and your application will be processed real time.  We also provide cultivation permits, renew recommendations and Marijuana ID cards.  A bonus feature that clients can keep up to date from anywhere there is internet.  MMJDoctoronline documents are accepted by law enforcement, clinics, dispensaries, cannabis clubs and other licensed retailers of cannabis based medicines in the State of California.

 

FURTHER READING

Cannabinoids, immune system and cytokine network.

Cannabinoids have demonstrated a clear role as important modulators in a variety of disorders including diseases of the immune system. The evaluation of the biological consequences of drug-induced cytokine changes becomes important, considering the impact of cytokines on immune system and envisaging their influence in cancer, inflammation, autoimmune disease, brain injury, hematopoietic colony formation.

Presence and functional regulation of cannabinoid receptors in immune cells.

This article reviews the literature relating to the distribution and function of cannabinoid receptors in the immune system and queries their involvement in the immunomodulatory effect of cannabinoids, THC, CBD, etc. Over the last 30 years, research on drug-abusing humans and animals injected with a variety of cannabinoids, as well as in vitro models - immune cell cultures, demonstrated that marijuana and cannabinoids are immunomodulators. Cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, found in immune cells, suggesting they mediate the effects of cannabinoids on the immune system.

Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study.

When factored together, these observations suggest that the prenyl moiety of cannabinoids serves mainly as a modulator of lipid affinity at the cellular level.  Cannabinoids high potency definitely suggests a specific, but as yet elusive, mechanism of for their profound activity.

Cannabinoids and Viral Infections

Cannabinoids are found to be profoundly anti-inflammatory and impaired Ca2+-dependent enzyme systems which lie at the core of inflammatory and cell-autonomous antiviral response. When viral-induced host responses lead to immunopathology in rodents model for MS, TMEV-IDD, or in a chronic infection of the nervous system caused by a nL virus, BDV, cannabinoid treatment was found to be beneficial.

Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects

Scientific evidence is presented for non-cannabinoid plant components (such as terpenes) as an antidotes to the intoxicating effects of THC that may improve its therapeutic index. Methods to investigating the entourage effect in future experiments may follow. Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid synergy, if shown, point to an extensive pipeline of new therapeutic product possibilities.

 

"Calamus root might be the best antidote for the negative effects of cannabis. . . . if one smokes a small amount of calamus root powder with the cannabis, the toxic side effects of the drug will be completely negated."

 

Cannabis and Bacterial Infections

Detailed animal studies and in vitro.

Marijuana, immunity and infection.

These intriguing results demonstrate that under certain conditions, cannabinoids are immunomodulatory and enhance the disease( treatment) process. However, more study is needed to determine both the health risk of marijuana abuse and the role of the cannabinoid receptor/ligand system in immune regulation and homeostasis.

Cannabinoids Raw Data - Antibacterial Effectiveness against Selected Microorganisms - Not for Laymen

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