Researchers may have found an effective way to treat psychosis, one that “works in a completely different way to traditional anti-psychotics.” That potential new treatment is that apparently endingly versatile cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD), the very same wonderdrug found to be effective in ailments including severe epilepsy, chronic pain, and cigarette addiction.
A study done at King’s College London and published in JAMA Psychiatry Wednesday shows that a single dose of CBD extract can reduce abnormal brain functions in people suffering from psychosis.
“The mainstay of current treatment for people with psychosis are drugs that were first discovered in the 1950s and unfortunately do not work for everyone,” said Dr. Sagnik Bhattacharyya of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), as reported by Science Daily.
“Our results have started unravelling the brain mechanisms of a new drug that works in a completely different way to traditional anti-psychotics.”
The study looked at 33 young people who had not been diagnosed with psychosis, but who had been experiencing symptoms consistent with psychosis. Half were given CBD, half administered placebos, and then everybody got their heads scanned in an MRI while researchers provoked areas of the brain associated with psychosis.
All that suggests that CBD use can help bring abnormal brain activity to healthy levels.
Curiously, while CBD may prove effective in treating psychosis, researchers say that THC may have the opposite effect. Science Daily notes that “THC can be thought of as mimicking some of the effects of psychosis, while cannabidiol has broadly opposite neurological and behavioural effects.”
Now Dr. Bhattacharyya and co. are expanding their study into a multi-phase multi-million trial, hoping to find a reliable alternative to pharmaceutical antipsychotics with serious side effects.
“One of the main advantages of cannabidiol is that it is safe and seems to be very well tolerated, making it in some ways an ideal treatment,” Dr. Bhattacharyya said. “If successful, this trial will provide definitive proof of cannabidiol’s role as an antipsychotic treatment and pave the way for use in the clinic.”