CBD May Have Antipsychotic Effect in High-Risk Individuals

September 4, 2018

Researchers find CBD has an attenuating effect on disturbances in the brain linked to psychosis.

The psychiatric research journal JAMA Psychiatry has just published a new study suggesting CBD could have antipsychotic effects in individuals at clinical high risk of psychosis. The study builds off compelling prior research demonstrating CBD’s therapeutic effects. Titled “Effect of Cannabidiol on Medial Temporal, Mid-brain, and Striatial Dysfunction in People at Clinical High Risk of Psychosis,” the randomized clinical trial sheds important light not just on whether or not CBD has calming cognitive effects, but also how it produces them.

Psychiatrists Investigate the Underlying Causes for CBD’s Therapeutic Effects

What are the neurocognitive mechanisms that underlie the putative therapeutic effects of cannabidiol in psychosis? In other words, does CBD really help treat psychosis? And if so, how? Such are the questions motivating a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Researchers began with the premise that cannabidiol (CBD) has antipsychotic effects in humans. Exactly how it has that effect on the brain isn’t fully understood. Psychiatrists study the chemical reactions that lead to or stem from atypical mental states. For this study, researchers wanted to try to isolate the specific chemical alterations that give CBD its therapeutic and potentially antipsychotic effects.

To do so, the study examined the effects of CBD in 33 individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) of psychosis. Previous studies have identified the regions in the brain that become perturbed in individuals with psychosis and at CHR. So the JAMA study had a hypothesis: maybe CBD attenuates, or lessens, those disturbances in the parts of the brain associated with psychosis.

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