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Does Medical Cannabis Work For Meningitis?

By Terry Hacienda, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

Given the great risk of fatality and serious brain damage that can occur with meningitis, it’s in the best interest of patients to maximize all the available alternative medications that can work well with conventional treatment.

This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.

Meningitis is a condition characterized by inflammation that occurs within the brain’s protective membranes. It’s caused by a viral or bacterial infection of the fluid around the brain and the spinal cord, which causes swelling.

Other possible causes of meningitis include drugs, injuries, various infections, and cancer. Because of the many possible causes of meningitis, there are several names for this condition including bacterial meningitis, viral meningitis, fungal meningitis, parasitic meningitis, and many others. The symptoms can show up within a few days or in as little as a few hours, and it can include fever, confusion, stiff neck, and severe headaches.

Bacterial meningitis can be extremely fatal if diagnosis and antibiotic treatment has been delayed. The longer treatment is delayed, the more it can cause permanent brain damage or even death. This condition has also been associated with other complications such as memory and hearing loss, learning difficulties (especially among children), kidney failure, problems with gait, and shock. According to the World Health Organization, untreated meningitis has a high fatality rate

Depending on the cause of the condition, treatment may vary though it usually includes intravenous antibiotics, corticosteroids, bed rest, and medications to counter the fever and body aches. However, due to the sensitive nature of this condition, the use of other alternative medications such as cannabis can help prevent further complications. How Cannabis Helps The human endocannabinoid system is responsible for helping suppress inflammation while improving neuroprotection and immunodilation. Even though there are very few studies documenting the use of cannabis specifically for meningitis, there have been other case studies suggesting that cannabis can be a powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral agent for treating the symptoms of this condition.

 

There’s a 2021 study, however, conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland together with Botanix Pharmaceuticals Limited. They found that cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive compound in marijuana, was effective in treating many different types of bacteria. “This is the first time CBD has been shown to kill some types of Gram-negative bacteria. These bacteria have an extra outer membrane, an additional line of defence that makes it harder for antibiotics to penetrate,” explains Dr. Blaskovich, Associate Professor at the University of Queensland.

“Our company is now primed to commercialize viable antimicrobial treatments which we hope will reach more patients in the near future. This is a major breakthrough that the world needs now,” he said. “Those Phase 2a clinical results are expected early this year and we hope that this will pave the way for treatments for gonorrhea, meningitis, and legionnaires disease,” he adds.

Blaskovich has been involved in other similar studies, and in 2019 he presented the findings of his analysis on CBD for treatment-resistant bacteria. “The first thing we looked at is CBD’s ability to kill bacteria,” Blaskovich says. “In every case, CBD had a very similar potency to that of common antibiotics.” Together with his team, they looked at how CBD worked compared to common antibiotics such has daptomycin and vancomycin. “We looked at how quickly the CBD killed the bacteria. It’s quite fast, within 3 hours, which is pretty good. Vancomycin kills over 6 to 8 hours.”

They also discovered that CBD was effective in breaking the biofilm around bacteria which makes it harder for antibiotics to penetrate and thus kill it off.

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