Study: CBD May Hold Potential to Kill Superbug Causing Staph Infections

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SYDNEY, Australia – CBD already is being used to alleviate a wide variety of ailments, but a recent study may offer a surprising use for the cannabinoid. According to new research by Botanix Pharmaceuticals, a drug producer that concentrates on treating skin conditions, CBD may be effective in efficiently killing Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria that can lead to staph infections. BTX 1801, a formulation for CBD, uses Permetrex, a delivery system specifically engineered by Botanix to treat skin infections. 

The study was conducted by Dr. Mark Blaskovich at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Centre for Superbug Solutions with support from Innovative Connections, an Australian government program overseeing research grants. The study helps confirm previous research highlighting CBD’s potential to fight staph infection.


Staph infects victims through open wounds and often occurs in hospitals post-surgery. Staph affects more than 90,000 Americans each year and these superbugs increasingly are becoming resistant to traditional antibiotic medications. The problem has been a growing concern among medical professionals worldwide for years. Even new antibiotics in development are not expected to solve the problem.

“The pipeline of new antibiotics in clinical development is way too small to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance,” Dr. Blaskovich said. “Most of these agents are really only modifications of existing antibiotics and will not provide long-term solutions to the problem.”

Health officials in the U.S. have been seeking a solution for some time and are offering incentives to drug makers like Botanix to develop an effective treatment for Staph infections. 

“It is not surprising that the United States Food and Drug Administration has recently provided companies with attractive incentives to develop new antibiotics including expedited review of drug applications and introducing the qualified infectious disease products designation program which allows companies to gain an extra 5 years marketing exclusivity following drug approval,” Blaskovich said.

BTX 1801 is still in its trial phase and the next step for Botanix will be to identify optimal dosing for patients. Although the drug is not yet ready for market, Botanix founder and Executive Director Matt Callahan is pleased with the promise shown by the new drug.

“The implications and potential applications of these remarkable results are immense,” Callahan said. “The fact that cannabidiol kills resistant bacteria quickly when combined with the drug’s newly validated anti-inflammatory properties, gives us confidence that BTX 1801 has significant potential as a powerful new antimicrobial for use in skin and other infections.”