A new study has unexpectedly shown an ingredient in cannabis could be useful for treating psychosis

By TheBigBadWolf · Dec 29, 2017 · ·
  1. TheBigBadWolf
    A key problem in caring for patients with psychosis is that they are often reluctant to take antipsychotic drugs because of concerns about side effects – but cannabis-based treatments could change this


    Psychiatric patients treated with a substance found in cannabis, cannabidiol, showed a significant reduction in psychotic symptoms and were also more likely to be rated as “improved” by their psychiatrist, our latest study shows.

    Psychotic disorders affect two to three per cent of the population. They usually begin in early adulthood and the symptoms can be lifelong. Patients typically experience paranoia, hallucinations and a lack of motivation.

    The main treatment for psychosis is antipsychotic drugs, which has been the first line of treatment since the 1950s. These drugs are usually partially effective, but in around a third of patients they don’t work at all. They can also have significant side effects.
    A new class of treatment

    Antipsychotic medications act by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain. However, dopamine is not the only neurotransmitter whose function is altered during psychosis. And, in some patients, dopamine function can even be relatively normal. So there is a need for new drugs that target other neurotransmitter systems that are implicated in psychosis.

    Previous research at King’s College London has demonstrated that cannabidiol (CBD), a substance found in cannabis, has broadly opposite effects on brain function and on symptoms to the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

    THC is responsible for many of the harmful effects of cannabis, such as paranoia and anxiety, whereas CBD appears to reduce these symptoms. This suggests that CBD might be useful as a treatment for psychosis and other mental health disorders.

    Our study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, is the first placebo-controlled clinical trial of CBD in patients with psychosis.

    We gave 88 patients with psychosis either CBD or a placebo for six weeks alongside their existing antipsychotic medication. Before and after treatment, researchers assessed their level of psychotic symptoms and the patient’s psychiatrist rated their condition overall. Neither the researchers nor the psychiatrists knew whether the patients were receiving CBD or placebo.

    There was a reduction in symptoms in the patients treated with CBD, and the clinicians looking after them thought that they had got better. The rate of possible side effects in patients given CBD was no more than in patients who were given the placebo.

    While it is still unclear exactly how CBD works, we know that it acts in a different way to antipsychotic medication, so it could represent a new class of treatment. The absence of side effects is also potentially important, as a key problem in caring for patients with psychosis is that they are often reluctant to take antipsychotic drugs because of concerns about side effects.

    The next steps are to carry out larger trials of CBD to confirm these initial promising findings, and to assess the effectiveness of CBD in other types of patient.

    Philip Mcguire is a Professor of Psychiatry at King's College London. This piece originally appeared on The Conversation.

    Special Thanks to Prof. David Nutt for twittering this.
    BBW

    Original Source

    Written by: Philip Mcguire, Dec 28, 2017, A new study has unexpectedly shown an ingredient in cannabis could be useful for treating psychosis,

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Comments

  1. Terpene
    "The next steps are to carry out larger trials of CBD to confirm these initial promising findings, and to assess the effectiveness of CBD in other types of patient."

    Wrong. The next step is to give the plant back to the people today, start mass production of the medicine immediately, and give it to the people for free in an effort to make up for 75 years of wrongful persecution, unjust incarceration, and the total destruction of what could have been productive and happy lives led by millions of our citizens. We know the plant is safe in comparison to the poison the FDA approves on a daily basis. We know, beyond the shadow of any doubt, via the scientific data available to us, that nobody will experience dire or even minimal health consequences due to the consumption of the plant. In the cases where severe mental illness is involved, extra precautions may well be needed. That said, we the people need this medicine to be made available now, not after 15 more years of trials.
    1. aemetha
      I think you're conflating two issues here.

      Should CBD be legalised and allowed as a herbal remedy? Probably. Should the FDA endorse a pharmaceutical medication for the treatment of psychosis based on a single research paper? Absolutely not. There is a different standard of evidence required for medications, and at this point saying that pharmaceutical CBD preparations are an effective medication for treating psychosis because of one non-replicated experiment is the same as me saying I am a crack sniper because I once shot a sparrow in flight.

      People have a right to expect that approved medications have all met a consistent level of testing. No such expectation applies to herbal remedies and the like. I do think the herbal remedy option should be legalised though at this point because the safety of it is quite well established. It's only the efficacy for this specific purpose that isn't yet established.
    2. Josh Carlton
      Terpene, you say that nobody will experience "even minimal health consequences" due to marijuana. This is not correct. The study suggests that CBD is helpful for treating psychosis. However, THC is often detrimental to people with mental health issues, and exacerbates the symptoms of things such as Bipolar Disorder. Just because CBD has many beneficial effects does not mean all of the chemicals in marijuana are beneficial. I agree marijuana should be legalized, but your claims are just false. You act as if marijuana use has no potential negative consequences, but you are wrong; it can have negative impacts on people's mental and physical health.
      aemetha likes this.
  2. ladywolf2012
    I'm with Josh on this. My evidence is personal and anecdotal, as I am one of the more rare people whose mental health is severely negatively impacted by the use of THC and THC products. (Hence I no longer use them.) I feel downright psychotic when I do try some, like the tiny amount of dispensary chocolate I tried last year. I ended up hiding in the woods most of the night waiting for my companions to come and kill me.

    You simply cannot say in good faith that marijuana use has no potential negative consequences.
      aemetha and TheBigBadWolf like this.
    1. aemetha
      I agree with this. Keep in mind though, this article is about CBD without the THC content. I think the article could actually benefit from changing the title to remove the reference to cannabis. It shouldn't be assumed (well nothing should be on the basis of one study) that cannabis use will confer the same benefits as CBD because THC and CBD oppose each others effects in many ways.
    2. TheBigBadWolf
      @aemetha: I shall not change the original title of this article, the title is talking about *An ingredient of cannabis* when the word Cannabidiol or the abbreviation CBD would only be identified by people who already know what CBD and THC are and so I think the title shouldnt be changed.
      He who can read full sentences and comprehend the content can also understand the title without assuming it is about the whole cannabis plant.
  3. gonzochef
    I agree that trials and further study is necessary before any sweeping claims are made. The promise of this study, plus years of anecdotal evidence, lead me to put faith in the idea that cannabis products could be the next front line medication defense against the debilitating and ostracizing symptoms of psychosis. I look forward to more information about this, and soon! No more dragging our feet.
      aemetha likes this.
  4. ladywolf2012
    I'm fully aware of the distinction, Aem. It's just that Terpene commented that, "We know, beyond the shadow of any doubt, via the scientific data available to us, that nobody will experience dire or even minimal health consequences due to the consumption of the plant," and this statement is simply false.
    1. aemetha
      Oh, okay. Sorry, I didn't realise you were responding to his comment. I thought you were responding to the article.
  5. Terpene
    Thanks for keeping me in check. I shouldn't have posted that statement. In fairness, I did follow up with the need for precautionary measures in mental health cases.

    I do however stand by my statement, and this plant should be available to everyone. There are completely legal substances (alcohol, tobacco, ibuprofen, etc.) that pose more dangers to health, and anyone with proper ID can purchase them at any time. Going one further, there are other substances (salt, sugar, saturated fat) that bring a multitude of health complications, and anyone of ANY AGE can purchase these items. Cannabis does not bring the associated health concerns of those aforementioned substances, and alleviates stress, anxiety, depression, pain, and so many other maladies with little to no side effects. The prohibition of this plant is a crime, as most are finally realizing. Thankfully, things are changing.

    Thanks again for correcting me.

    Peace.
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