Researchers led by Giovanni Appendino (Piemonte Orientale University) and Simon Gibbons (School of Pharmacy at the University of London) have discovered that certain cannabinoids show significant antibacterial effects, even against methicillin-reistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Two of the most promising compounds are not psychoactive and can be obtained from hemp.
Even semi-purified versions of the compounds appear affective against skin-borne bacteria, sugesting that topical treatments can be developed quickly. In addition to treating chronic skin infections and reducing the likelihold that MRSA will invade the body. The compounds also show promise as preservatives to replace conventional preservatives which have health and environmental impacts. More research is required to determine if the cannabinoids are effective as a systemic antibacterial.
The mechanism by which these compounds kill bacteria is still not understood. Earlier work by Gibbons suggests that resistance to plant antibacterial agents is rare.
The full paper is available for download: Antibacterial Cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: A Structure−Activity Study