Cannabidiol (CBD) is probably one of the most important medicinal compounds of cannabis. Without having any psychoactive or mind-altering effects it demonstrated in several studies having analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-psychotic properties that may be key to developing new treatments for several types of conditions, ranging from chronic pain to anxiety. It has been widely studied for the treatment of different mental illnesses and, so far, has presented very promising results.
Many severe mental illnesses, like schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, present a common symptom called psychosis. Psychosis is a state where a person detaches from reality, beginning to experience things like hallucinations or delusions.
There a few concerns regarding the onset of psychosis usually being associated with long-term use of cannabis. However, scientists have recently published the results of a clinical trial conducted at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in London, where they found the use of CBD to be extremely useful in reducing psychotic states.
The study was performed on a total of 33 patients at clinical high risk of psychosis. 16 participants of the group received a single oral dose of 600 mg of CBD, while the other 17 participants received a dose of placebo. There was a control group of healthy patients, which didn’t receive any type of medication, placebo or otherwise.
The results demonstrated that a single dose of CBD was able to partially attenuate and stabilize the critical changes that 3 different parts of the brain (striatum, medial temporal cortex, and midbrain) suffer during the onset of psychosis, thus giving some insight on CBD’s functions and mechanisms of action within the human body.
These findings suggest that the relationship between long-term use of cannabis and the onset of psychosis may only be due to some of its components, and that CBD alone may have the opposite effect. In fact, a previous study reported that a single dose of THC was able to induce psychotic symptoms, and that its effects on the brain were the opposite to that of CBD.
This controlled clinical trial is very important in determining the role of CBD in the brain, since it was performed on human patients and, although the results of only one trial are not definitive, it paves the way to study new forms of using CBD to treat or even prevent the onset of psychosis.