LONDON – British scientists have discovered how a non-intoxicating component of cannabis acts in key brain areas to reduce abnormal activity in patients at risk for psychosis, suggesting that the ingredient may become a new antipsychotic medicine ,
the use of potent forms of cannabis may increase the chances of developing a psychosis, the chemical cannabidiol or CBD seems to have the opposite effect.
CBD is the same cannabis compound that has also shown benefits in epilepsy, in June the first US approval of a cannabis-based drug, a purified form of CBD from GW Pharmaceuticals.
Earlier research at King's College in London had shown that CBD appears to counteract the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the substance in cannabis that makes people high. But how it happened was a mystery.
By scanning the brains of 33 young people who had psychotic symptoms but had not yet been diagnosed with psychosis, Sagnik Bhattacharyya and colleagues showed that the administration of CBD capsules reduced abnormal activity in the striatum, medial temporal cortex and in the midbrain.
Abnormalities in all three brain regions have been associated with the onset of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia.
Most current antipsychotics target the chemical dopamine signaling system off the brain, while CBD works differently. Significantly, the compound is very well tolerated, avoiding the adverse side effects such as weight gain and other metabolic problems associated with existing medications.
"One of the reasons CBD It's exciting because it's very well tolerated compared to the other antipsychotics we have available," said Bhattacharyya of King's College.
"Th There is an urgent need for safe treatment for young people at risk for psychosis."
The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King's College is now planning a large 300-patient Study to test the true potential of CBD treatment. Recruitment for the study is expected to begin in early 201
Recent findings underscore the complexity of the chemical cocktail found in the marijuana plant at a time when cannabis laws are being liberalized in many countries.