Cannabis Acts Against Strep Throat Bacteria

Written by Asia Mayfield

As scientists study cannabis, more of the plant’s potential medical uses come to light. Cannabis has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiemetic, analgesic, and psychoactive properties.

In a 2020 study published in the African Journal of Biological Sciences, researchers found that cannabis extracts exhibited antimicrobial activity against the Lancefield Group A Streptococcus species responsible for streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat). [1]

First, the study authors used water and methanol to extract the active compounds from fresh cannabis leaves via Soxhlet extraction. The extracted compounds were injected into isolated batches of Group A Streptococcus. The microbial effects were then examined on cultures isolated from clinical patients.

This method is referred to as the Zone of Inhibition Test. When an effective antimicrobial agent is applied to the center of a pure culture, a “zone of inhibition” devoid of bacteria will appear around the spot.

“Results obtained shows the presence of bioactive compounds including; alkaloids, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides, phenols, terpenes, resins and steroids,” the authors write. “These phytochemicals exerted antimicrobial activity against Streptococcus.”

The results were compared to commercially available antibiotics, Penicillin G and Amoxicillin, and the comparison was favorable. The minimum inhibitory concentration (20 mg/ml) and minimum bactericidal concentration (30 mg/ml) were comparable to the commercial antibiotics. In addition, the results were compared to the antibiotic chloramphenicol, and the cannabis extracts outperformed the pharmaceutical drug, producing a larger zone of inhibition. This is especially promising in light of “an increase in the occurrence of multi-drug resistant Streptococcus sp. in clinical cases.” [1]

Cannabis’ full medicinal potential is still being uncovered. Studies like this show that cannabis’ psychoactive properties are not the only benefits that it has for patients.

Currently, there’s only one cannabis-based drug on the market in the U.S., the cannabidiol-based product Epidiolex. The groundbreaking drug may be just the beginning. If the promising research continues, more cannabis-based pharmaceuticals could be on the way.


Image source: Marco Verch, CCNull, CC BY 2.0


Anumudu CK, Akpaka MN, Anumudu IC. Antimicrobial activity of Cannabis sativa extracts on LANCEFIELD Group A Streptococcus species associated with streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat). African Journal of Biological Sciences. 2020;2(2):9-15. [Impact Factor: n/a; Times Cited: n/a]

About the author

Asia Mayfield

Asia Mayfield is a freelance writer who focuses on the cannabis industry. She can be reached at

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