Tuesday, September 11, 2018
A recent brain imaging study suggests that a single dose of cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce symptoms of psychosis by “resetting” activity in three brain areas that have been linked to the onset of psychosis. The study, in the JAMA Psychiatry journal, is Effect of Cannabidiol on Medial Temporal, Midbrain, and Striatal Dysfunction in People at Clinical High Risk of Psychosis.
Forbes has a good overview of the study, and also includes insight from the study's lead author, Dr. Sagnik Bhattacharyya.
Psychosis is an abnormal condition of the mind that results in difficulties determining what is real and what is not. It can be manifested as seeing, hearing or believing things that are not real and experiencing hallucinations. Currently, there is no known precise cause of psychosis, but mental illness, trauma, substance abuse, exhaustion, and extreme stress can act as triggers. According to Forbes, The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that at least 100,000 people in the United States experience their first onset of psychosis every year.
Dr. Bhattacharyya describes the study:
This was a small study of 33 participants who were experiencing psychotic symptoms. A smaller group of healthy participants served as a control group. Half the psychosis group was given one 600 mg oral dose of CBD (a dose that was "previously effective in established psychosis" according to the study), the other half received an identical placebo capsule. The control group didn't receive any drug. Then all of the participants completed a memory task designed to engage three brain areas that have been linked to the onset of psychosis (specifically the striatum, medial temporal cortex, and midbrain) while their brains were examined with an fMRI scanner.
"There is an urgent need for a safe treatment for young people at risk of psychosis," added Dr. Bhattacharyya. "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.”
Already in the works, he says, is a large-scale human trial, which, if replicated successfully, will serve as a determinant of whether CBD's use is a viable treatment for brain-based diseases.
-- Gianna Redeemer