Study Suggests CBD May Have Antipsychotic Effect in High-Risk Individuals

Now, there is hope for patients who are at risk for suffering from psychosis.  JAMA Psychiatry, a psychiatric research publication, has published a recent study which indicates that CBD may have antipsychotic effects in people who have a risk of psychosis. Previous studies have provided evidence of CBD’s therapeutic effects. This particular study, “Effect of Cannabidiol on Medial Temporal, Mid-brain, and Striatial Dysfunction in People at Clinical High Risk of Psychosis,” illustrates not only that CBD has calming cognitive effects in some instances , it also shows how CBD produces them.

In order to determine if CBD is truly beneficial for psychosis, a new study was published in JAMA Psychiatry. The study aims to illustrate that assertions surrounding the effectiveness of cannabidiol are valid and how this effect on psychosis occurs. 

It isn’t clear how CBD effects the brain. Psychiatrists examine chemical reactions related to mental conditions that are atypical. The goal for this study was to isolate the chemical alterations that cause CBD’s therapeutic and potential antipsychotic effects.

In order to accomplish this, the study looked at the effects of CBD in 33 subjects who were at high risk for experiencing psychosis. Prior research has located the regions of the brain that become activated in people with psychosis as well as those who are at risk.

The hypothesis of the JAMA study was this: Perhaps CBD decreases the disturbances in the regions of the brain that are linked with psychosis.

The clinical trial was a double-blind randomized study with 19 control subjects who were healthy. A number participants were given one, 600 mg oral dose of cannabidiol, while others received a placebo or no CBD. 

Researchers studied how the CBD affected the areas of the brain they were targeting: the striatum, medial temporal cortex and midbrain.

Their findings showed that all three brain regions experienced some degree of modulated activation due to  the CBD. An MRI was administered while participants performed a verbal learning task. Researchers measured brain activation among healthy control individuals who were given no CBD, and high risk patients who received a placebo. The high risk patients who took CBD had activation levels which were about midway between healthy individuals with no disturbances and high risk participants who received no CBD.

To summarize, CBD was effective in reducing the effects of disturbances in the regions of the brain that they examined as they had hypothesized. The single oral dose of cannabidiol was effective in normalizing the dysfunction in all three brain regions. This study may have  shed light on yet another benefit of  CBD by identifying one of the mechanisms responsible for its therapeutic benefits.

Although this study offers hope in the treatment for people who are at risk for psychosis, it is also important for those seeking information about the effects of cannabis on mental health in general. 

There has been research that draws links between regular and frequent marijuana use and the onset of psychosis. Other studies have indicated that there is a connection with  psychosis and changes to the endocannabinoid system, regardless of  the presence of cannabinoids. 

At the same time, research shows CBD, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, has an almost opposite neural and behavioral effect on the brain compared with (tetrahydrocannabinol) THC. This study allows scientists to understand the reason behind this.

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