Canabis Compound UPSC NOTE


  • Cannabis has the potential to make a dent in India’s fight against the escalating threat of antibiotic resistance.

  • Scientists at CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), Jammu, have found that phytocannabinoids, a class of compounds found in the cannabis plant, possess some hitherto unexplored antibiotic properties.

  • It refers to when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites no longer respond to medicines used to treat them.

  • According to Sanghapal D. Sawant, a senior principal scientist at the CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, bacteria have developed

certain sophisticated ‘shields’ over many decades to resist the effects of antibiotic medications.

  • These include the formation of biofilms – thin sheets of bacterial colonies that are more resistant to antibiotics than when separated – and cellular mechanisms called efflux pumps that flush drugs out from cells.

  • The resulting AMR increases the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death.

  • According to one estimate, India reported 2.97 lakh deaths in 2019 that could be attributed to AMR and 10.42 lakh others that could be associated with AMR.

  • Reports have also flagged the overuse of antibiotics in India, their misuse in animal husbandry, and poor waste disposal for engendering AMR and potentially rendering India the “AMR capital of the world”.

  • For these reasons, medical researchers are keen to tamp down AMR and find new drugs that fight AMR pathogens.

  • In the new study, published in the journal ACS Infectious Diseases, IIIM researchers tested the antibacterial properties of tetrahydrocannabidiol (THCBD), a semisynthetic phytocannabinoid, against Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria responsible for the second

most number of deaths due to AMR worldwide.

  • Antibiotics are chemical compounds isolated from one microorganism and used to kill another

  • They have saved millions of lives since their discovery but are falling short against AMR bacteria.

  • The study revealed THCBD obtained from cannabis could fight MRSA

  • We tested this molecule on eight to ten different resistant strains of S. aureus, indicating its potential through a distinct mechanism, and offering a promising avenue for further investigation.”

  • Cannabinoids are a class of compounds found in the cannabis plant. 

  • The prefix ‘phyto’ in phytocannabinoid means it comes from a plant. 

  • Cannabinoids bind to receptors in the bodies of animals to produce a variety of neurological effects.

  • The researchers extracted cannabidiol from a cannabis plant and made it react with hydrogen, using palladium as a catalyst. 

  • This process yielded a mixture of molecules with the same composition and order of atoms but different structures. One of them was THCBD.

What were THCBD’s effects?

  • Then the researchers tested THCBD against bacterial cultures in the lab

  • The minimum quantity found to be efficacious against a strain of Gram-positive S. aureus used commonly in AMR research was found to be 0.25 g/ml, which the researchers called “potent”.

  • They also wrote THCBD “significantly reduced” the number of viable microbial cells of S. aureus skin infections in mice.

  • Finally, they found that the compound either complemented or was indifferent to the effects of other common antibiotics like mupirocin, penicillin G, and ciprofloxacin, meaning they could be used together.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Canabis Compound UPSC NOTE
Canabis Compound UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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