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A UK study with research carried out at Kings College London suggest a single dose of a supplement derived from cannabis reduces psychotic symptoms, despite psychosis being linked to the long-term use of the Class B drug.
Suspected psychosis patients were given a single 600mg oral dose of the compound cannabidiol (CBD), resulting in their symptoms becoming less severe, a UK study found today. Such symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, anxiety and insomnia.
CBD appears to work in opposition to the other cannabis component THC, which worsens psychosis symptoms and is what makes users 'high'.
MRI scans of suspected psychosis patients suggest the supplement helps to 'readjust brain activity to normal levels' after taking CBD.Medical cannabis is available on prescription in the UK after it was approved by the Government last July.In the USA Marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes in 30 US states, including California, Florida and Ohio. Nine states permit the drug for recreational use.
The researchers, from King's College London, studied 33 people in their 20s who were experiencing unsettling psychotic symptoms but had not been diagnosed with psychosis and compared them against 19 healthy people with an average age of 23.
A 600mg dose of CBD ,chosen due to it previously being shown to be effective in psychosis,was given to 16 of the suspected psychosis patients, with the remaining 17 receiving a placebo.
After 3 hours, all of the participants were scanned in an MRI machine while performing a memory task that engaged three regions of the brain known to participate in psychosis. The task involved the participants being shown word pairings and being asked to determine if the words are linked. They were then asked to recall these words from memory.
The results unsurprisingly suggest that the brain activity of a suspected psychosis patient is abnormal compared to that of a healthy person but after a single CBD dose, these patients' psychosis related brain activity lessens in comparison to those who were given a placebo.
The researchers believe their findings could open the door for new psychosis treatments.
The findings, published in the JAMA Psychiatry, are encouraging researchers to launch a large trial to investigate whether CBD could treat people at risk of developing psychosis, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Dr Bhattacharyya added: '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. '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.'