Researchers have found that a dose of Cannabidiol or CBD, a compound in the cannabis plant, can immensely help patients with psychosis.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, the CBD cannot make people high. Furthermore, the compound is already being used to treat cases of childhood epilepsy.
The study was undertaken by researchers from the King's College of London and was published on Aug. 29 in the Journal of American Medical Association Psychiatry.
Findings Of The Study
According to the findings, CBD can decrease the abnormal brain activity responsible for the symptoms of psychosis. The study has proven to be notable since people with psychosis are still treated with drugs that do not work for all cases. The treatment was first discovered in the 1950s.
"Our results have started unravelling the brain mechanisms of a new drug that works in a completely different way to traditional anti-psychotics," said Dr. Sagnik Bhattacharyya, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience in a press release.
The researchers used 33 individuals who were exhibiting signs of psychosis and 19 healthy control subjects. A dose of CBD was given to 16 participants and the remaining ones were given a placebo.
The subjects were then subjected in an MRI scanner while doing a memory test that makes use of the brain's three regions that are involved in psychosis. The study found that the participants who showed signs of psychosis were abnormal compared to the healthy ones.
Those who took CBD also showed decreased abnormal brain activity compared to those who took a placebo. Through the experiment, the researchers concluded that CBD can aid in manipulating brain activity to normal levels.
"There is an urgent need for a safe treatment for young people at risk of psychosis. 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," stated Bhattacharyya.
Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and severe anxiety can cause psychosis. The disorder can make someone lose touch with reality. People who have psychosis can also experience visual and aural hallucinations, act improperly, and even have difficulties in speaking logically.
Doctors usually treat the condition by prescribing patients with antipsychotic drugs. Estimates suggest that in England alone, over 15,000 people show signs of psychosis each year.
For now, no available treatments are offered for patients at high risk of psychosis as current antipsychotic drugs still have grave side effects.