Scientists in the U.K. claim CBD could potentially treat psychosis

The next step for British scientists working at King’s College’s is to carry out a 300-patient clinical trial to further determine the medicinal power of CBD as a treatment for psychosis


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabia News Writer/Editorial

A mental disorder that was once associated with frequent cannabis use could soon be treated using the plant.

Based on the findings of a study on CBD for psychosis that was carried out by scientists in the U.K., the cannabis plant’s non-intoxicating compound Cannabidiol (CBD) may help to decrease abnormal brain activity linked to psychosis.

The study on CBD indicated how the cannabinoid can influence key areas of the brain and, possibly, how it could prove effective as a novel antipsychotic medicine.

CBD and THC have opposite effects on the brain

Regularly consuming high-THC strains of weed may increase the risk of developing psychosis, since THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a mind-altering ingredient. However, its non-psychoactive cousin, CBD, seems to impact the brain quite differently.

CBD has been brought to the surface of cannabis research as of late, after a cannabis-based medicine containing the cannabinoid was approved by the FDA in June.

Epidiolex is a cannabis-derived drug developed by British company GW Pharmaceuticals. The purified form of CBD has been proven for its efficacy at treating two rare types of epilepsy in children, Dravet’s syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

33 people participate in medical study on CBD for psychosis

Researchers from King’s College London have previously investigated CBD’s counteractive effects on THC. However, their findings drew more questions than answers.

Thanks to their latest study on CBD, British scientists were able to prove that CBD, when administered to 33 study participants in capsule form, successfully decreased abnormal brain activity in the midbrain, medial temporal cortex and the striatum.

Dr. Sagnik Bhattacharyya of King’s College London specializes in psychiatry and experimental psychology. Bhattacharyya conducted the research on individuals who had not been diagnosed with psychosis but instead, had been experiencing distressing psychotic symptoms.

Since the aforementioned regions of the brain have been closely linked with the emergence of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, the findings of this study on CBD will likely prompt further investigation into the potential of treating psychosis with cannabis-derived compounds.

CBD for psychosis: Cannabinoid is more tolerable than antipsychotics

The majority of antipsychotic drugs available in the medical market are developed to react with a dopamine chemical signaling system inside the brain. CBD, on the other hand, works quite differently.

Existing antipsychotic medicines have been known to produce unwanted side effects in some patients, including metabolic imbalance and weight gain. As a tolerable cannabinoid with a good safety profile, CBD could potentially work just as effectively as alternative antipsychotic medicines, minus the adverse side effects.

“One of the reasons CBD is exciting is because it is very well tolerated compared to the other antipsychotics we have available,” said Bhattacharyya.“There is an urgent need for a safe treatment for young people at risk of psychosis.”

The next step for British scientists working at King’s College’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience is to carry out a 300-patient clinical trial to further determine the medicinal power of CBD as a treatment for psychosis. Participants are expected to be recruited for the study on CBD early next year.