Unhindered by prohibition, contemporary investigation continues to rediscover an increasingly long list of therapeutic applications for cannabis that prove ancient folkloric anecdotes scientifically true. That the humble marijuana plant may be one of the most powerful antibiotics available on Earth.

MARIJUANA- ANCIENT ANTIBIOTIC

Marijuana has been used as a medicine for millenia. The antiseptic, antibiotic, sedative and analgesic effects are well known in European, Ancient Egyptian, African and South American folk cultures to name just a few.

Cannabis was an indispensable internal and external application and was the first and foremost treatment for most chronic illnesses. Historically it has been used to successfully treat gonorrhea, tuberculosis, sepsis and dysentery. Even as recently as 1843 cases of bacteria caused tetanus and cholera, major killers of the time, were successfully treated with a crude hemp resin.

In their astonishingly comprehensive book Marijuana as a Medicament, professors Dr. J. Kabalik and Dr. F. Santavy of Palacky University in the Czech Republic examined the traditional use of cannabis as a medicine around the globe. Folkloric records typically emphasize the many therapeutic qualities of cannabis and do not mention the narcotic effects.

A commonly used medicine in the west up until 1942 when it was removed from the USpharmacopoeia, cannabis languished unappreciated and demonized until very recently. This powerful plant is emerging from behind a propaganda fuelled smokescreen of misunderstanding and fear to be appreciated once again as a primary medicine.

ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE- WHAT WENT WRONG?

It has been a case of too much of a good thing. Antibiotics, particularly the penicillin family are substances used to kill bacteria that cause harmful infections in humans. Antibiotics assist the immune system in conquering infection.

This is where the evolutionary drive of survival of the fittest is a hidden downfall. The few organisms left after antibiotic treatment are the most resistant of the bunch and go on to survive and burgeon. They then breed more resistant, stronger organisms that then require a more intensive antibiotic treatment. Then again and again, building resistance at every step. Antibiotics become less effective as time goes by. A vicious merry-go-round.

The situation is exacerbated by the overuse of antibiotics in everyday life.

MRSA cannabis antibiotic resistance bacteria infectionAntibiotics can be found in abundance in animal husbandry, cosmetics and household products like antibacterial surface sprays.

The catchtwenty two of trying to kill all the bugs is that nature makes them stronger in the face of adversity. Over cautious humans are creating the conditions wheresuper bugs can flourish.MRSA for example is a mutated form of the common Staph aureus.

In the seventy years since the first mass production of penicillin, resistant organisms have been adapting and mutating. Trouble first raised it's pocked marked head circa '62 in Vietnam when a form of penicillin resistant gonorrhea emerged. Jump forward to the present day and there now exists organisms resistant to Vancomycin, the strongest manufactured antibiotic available.

MRSA-EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH

MRSA is a family of antibiotic resistant bacteria that causes extremely difficult to heal and highly communicable infections in humans. Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus causes 10,000 deaths per year in the US alone and is becoming more resistant as the years progress.

Surviving an infection could mean radical amputation or years of rehabilitation. In the wake of the first ever WHO global report on antibiotic resistance, the problem is proving so bad that Dr. Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director General for the World Health Organisation Health Security department said last year that "Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is heading for a post-antibiotic era." And that "Common infections and minor injuries, which have been treatable for decades, can once again kill."

MRSA infects open wounds and can increase the risk of death by 60%. It is marauding hospitals and other health facilities where people come into close contact with each other. According to the latest CDC report there were 80,500 MRSA infections in US hospitals in 2011. It is one of the primary health concerns in the world.

The threat is so severe that in 2014 President Obama released an executive order and allocated 1.2 billion dollars in the annual budget to establish a task force whose mandate was to combat and develop an action plan to stop the spread of infectious MRSA.

CANNABIS-THE REDISCOVERED ANTIDOTE

Having evolved in nature with exceptional anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-desiccant abilities it stands to reason that these qualities of cannabis can be exploited by humans for therapeutic uses.

The cannabinoid and terpene drenched resins produced by cannabis act like the plant's immune system. These substances are known to reverse inflammation, behave as powerful antioxidants, and act in several beneficial psychological ways.

cannabis antidote anti-microbial therapeutic bugs treatment cannabinoids A groundbreaking 2008 study conducted by British and Italian scientists has rediscovered the folkloric antibacterial abilities of cannabis. The authors of the study Giovanni Appendino and Simon Gibbons discovered something extraordinary. Cannabinoids destroy harmful bacteria in a different way to man made antibiotics.

Cannabinoids are also resistant to the tricks super bugs use to evade traditional treatments. Professor Gibbons explains that "The cannabinoids even showed exceptional activity against the MRSA strain that makes extra amounts of proteins that give the bugs resistance to many antibiotics. Everything points towards these compounds having been evolved by the plants as antimicrobial defenses that specifically target bacterial cells."

Five of the most common cannabinoids found in marijuana were tested against six clinically relevant strains of MRSA including the scourge of hospitals, EMRSA. The cannabinoids, specifically, Cannabidiol(CBD), Cannabichromene(CBC), Cannabigerol(CBG), Cannabinol(CBN) and Delta nine-tetrahydrocannabinol(THC), were shown to be more effective than Vancomycin, the strongest, last resort antibiotic available.

Although not entirely understood the unique offensive characteristics of cannabinoids can provide a buffer zone before necessitating antibiotic use. Professor Appendino believes "The most practical application of cannabinoids would be as topical agents to treat ulcers and wounds in a hospital environment, decreasing the burden on antibiotics."

There was a time not long ago when a simple abrasion or minor infection could kill. Then in 1928 a scientific miracle. Alexander Fleming discovers Penicillin. By 1942 it is being prescribed to treat infections. 1944 sees mass production by the US war board.

Post war technocracy favours manufactured miracle drugs made by man for man and tends to ignore natural remedies that have been trusted for millenia.

In 2016 the decades long abuse of penicillin means those times may well be upon us again. The rise and rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria and microorganisms is a major threat to the human species.

Unhindered by prohibition, contemporary investigation continues to rediscover an increasingly long list of therapeutic applications for cannabis that prove ancient folkloric anecdotes scientifically true. That the humble marijuana plant may be one of the most powerful antibiotics available on Earth.

 

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