New UK Study Says CBD Is Promising For Psychosis
A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry revealed that CBD may be a new alternative treatment for patients with psychosis, particularly those suffering from schizophrenia characterized by delusions and hallucinations.
Psychosis is a mental health condition characterized by delusions and hallucinations, and wherein patients have strong beliefs many of which are driven by paranoia. Antipsychotic medications have been used for decades to treat other forms of psychosis which include mania, delusional disorder, severe depression or anxiety, and bipolar disorder. However, common pharmaceutical medications often have unwanted side effects such as drooling, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, loss of balance, fatigue, stiff joints, and difficulty speaking among others.
Thanks to this new study, patients with psychosis may now feel more confident about using CBD as a safer, natural form of treatment.
The UK study was led by Professor Philip McGuire of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, making this the first clinical trials known to explore how CBD can treat patients with psychosis. CBD has the opposite effects of THC, the cannabinoid that delivers a psychoactive high when cannabis is used, which is also known to trigger anxiety and paranoia in some individuals. CBD, however, doesn’t have much recreational benefits.
The researchers analyzed 83 patients from the UK as well as Poland and Romania.
According to McGuire, conventional medications block the receptors for dopamine, a mood-altering chemical. “However, dopamine is not the only neurotransmitter whose function is altered in psychosis, and in some patients dopamine function may be relatively normal,” he says.
“We need new classes of treatment that target different neurotransmitter systems,” McGuire adds.
In the trial, patients who were given CBD treatment experienced dramatic improvements in their symptoms compared to a group who were only given placebo. They also experienced modest improvements in cognitive function. Additionally, the patients were using CBD complementarily with conventional medicines.
“The data indicate that six weeks of treatment adjunctive to antipsychotic medication was associated with significant effects both on positive psychotic symptoms and on the treating clinicians’ impressions of improvement and illness severity.”
According to McGuire, there is a need for bigger studies to confirm if their findings are the same when applied to other patients. “Although it is still unclear exactly how CBD works, it acts in a different way to antipsychotic medication, and thus could represent a new class of treatment. Moreover, CBD was not associated with significant side effects. This is also potentially important, as patients may be reluctant to take antipsychotic medications because of concerns about side effects.”
Other Studies Echo The Same Results
An older study, conducted in 2012 by the University of California-Irvine also found that CBD was as beneficial in treating schizophrenia as antipsychotic medications. Danielle Piomelli, the study’s co-author and a professor of pharmacology at UC-Irvine said, “The results were amazing, not only was CBD as effective as standard antipsychotic drugs, but it was also essentially free of the typical side effects seen with antipsychotic drugs.”
CBD offers multiple benefits for patients with psychosis. Another one of the important advantages of CBD over conventional antipsychotics is that CBD is fast-acting, whereas pharmaceutical drugs usually take days or weeks for its effects to be felt. In a study looking at animal models with depressive and anxious behavior, once they were injected with CBD the mice immediately showed normal behavior.
Cannabis Can Treat Psychosis, Not Cause It
One of the craziest ideas to support reefer madness is the thought that cannabis induces schizophrenia. This claim has its roots in the Nixon era when he spawned the “war on drugs” that also led to the rise of the D.A.R.E. movement. As a result, many people grew up with the misconception that “smoking dope” will make you stupid and crazy, for several decades.
While we do know that most cases of schizophrenia are hereditary, it’s definitely one of the areas in medicine that are less understood when it comes to cannabis. The studies supporting the use of CBD to treat mental illness continues to mount, but there are also studies that show THC has the opposite effect not just in a normal brain but in the brains of patients with psychosis.