Tuesday March 26, 2019

Extract From Cannabis Can Help Treat Psychosis, says Study

All participants were studied in an MRI scanner while performing a memory task which engages three regions of the brain known to be involved in psychosis

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Cannabis
Cannabis extract may offer treatment for psychosis: Study. Pixabay

A single dose of the non-intoxicating compound of cannabis — cannabidiol — can help reduce brain function abnormalities seen in people with psychosis, results of a clinical trial, led by an Indian-origin doctor, has revealed.

Psychosis is a mental disorder characterised by a disconnection from reality.

Brain activity in the people at risk of psychosis remains abnormal compared to the healthy ones.

But in people who had cannabidiol, the abnormal brain activity was less severe than for those who received a placebo, suggesting cannabidiol can help re-adjust brain activity to normal levels.

The results suggest that cannabidiol may normalise dysfunction in striatum, parahippocampal cortex, and midbrain — brain regions which are critically implicated in psychosis — and this may underlie its therapeutic effects in psychosis, the researchers explained.

Cannabis
Cannabis leaf. Pixabay

“Our results have started unravelling the brain mechanisms of a new drug that works in a completely different way to traditional anti-psychotics,” said Sagnik Bhattacharyya from Britain’s King’s College, London.

For the study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, the team studied a small group of young people who had not yet been diagnosed with psychosis but who were experiencing distressing psychotic symptoms, along with healthy controls.

All participants were studied in an MRI scanner while performing a memory task which engages three regions of the brain known to be involved in psychosis.

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“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,” Bhattacharyya said.

“If successful, this trial will provide definitive proof of cannabidiol’s role as an antipsychotic treatment and pave the way for use in clinic,” he noted. (IANS)

Next Story

Daily Cannabis Use May Increase Risk of Psychosis

This increased to five times more likely for daily use of high potency cannabis

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cannabis flower marijuana

Amid growing decriminalisation of cannabis use, a new study warns that daily cannabis use, especially of high potency, is strongly linked to the risk of developing psychosis, a mental disorder characterised by a disconnection from reality.

The findings, published in the journal the Lancet Psychiatry, are consistent with previous studies showing smoking pot with a high concentration of THC — over 10 per cent of the psychoactive substance within cannabis — has more harmful effects on mental health than the use of weaker forms.

“As the legal status of cannabis changes in many countries and states, and as we consider the medicinal properties of some types of cannabis, it is of vital importance that we also consider the potential adverse effects that are associated with daily cannabis use, especially of high potency varieties,” said lead author of the study Marta Di Forti from King’s College London.

The new study looked at 11 sites across Europe and Brazil. First, the researchers estimated the prevalence of psychosis by identifying individuals with first episode of psychosis, presented to mental health services between 2010 and 2015.

Marijuana, Canada, israel
In this July 12, 2018 file photo, a newly-transplanted cannabis cuttings grow in pots at a medical marijuana cultivation facility in Massachusetts. (VOA)

Second, they compared 901 patients with first episode of psychosis with 1,237 healthy matched controls to understand the risk factors associated with psychosis.

The researchers collected information about participants’ history of cannabis use and other recreational drugs.

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Across the 11 sites, people who used cannabis on a daily basis were three times more likely to have a diagnosis of first episode psychosis, compared with people who had never used cannabis, the findings showed.

This increased to five times more likely for daily use of high potency cannabis. (IANS)