AN INGREDIENT in cannabis called cannabidiol or CBD has shown promise in a clinical trial as a potential new treatment for psychosis, scientists said recently.
Scientists conducted a small trial of people with psychosis and found patients treated with CBD had lower levels of psychotic symptoms than those who received a placebo. Psychosis is characterised by paranoia and hallucinations.
The study found that they were also more likely to be rated as “improved” by their psychiatrist and there were signs of better cognitive performance and functioning.
Scientists at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience conducted a placebo-controlled trial of CBD in patients with psychosis and published their findings in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
In the trial, 88 patients with psychosis received either CBD or placebo for six weeks, alongside their existing antipsychotic medication. Beforehand and afterwards, the scientists assessed symptoms, functioning and cognitive performance, and the patients’ psychiatrists rated their overall condition overall.
“The study indicated that CBD may be effective in psychosis: patients treated with CBD showed a significant reduction in symptoms and their treating psychiatrists rated them as having improved overall,” said Philip McGuire, who co-led the trial.
He noted that trial patients also reported few adverse side effects and added: “Although it is still unclear exactly how CBD works, it acts in a different way to antipsychotic medication, and could represent a new class of treatment.”