Friday November 16, 2018

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 extract may offer treatment for psychosis: Study. Pixabay
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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.

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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)

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Here’s How Cannabis Affect Women

However, the human data so far is consistent with the idea that oestradiol regulates the female response to cannabinoids

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Why cannabis affects women different, Read here. Pixabay

Hormones could be the reason why cannabis affects women differently than men, brain studies on animals and humans suggest.

The studies showed that sex differences in response to cannabis are not just socio-cultural, but biological too.

The findings showed that men are up to four times more likely to try cannabis and use higher doses, more frequently.

“Male sex steroids increase risk-taking behaviour and suppress the brain’s reward system which could explain why males are more likely to try drugs including cannabis,” said Liana Fattore, Senior Researcher at the National Research Council of Italy.

“This is true for both natural male sex steroids like testosterone and synthetic steroids like nandrolone.”

But despite lower average cannabis use, women go from first hit to habit faster than men.

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An employee inspects the leaf of a cannabis plant at a medical marijuana plantation in northern Israel. (VOA)

In fact, men and women differ not only in the prevalence and frequency of cannabis use, pattern and reasons of use, but also in the vulnerability to develop cannabis use disorder.

“Females seem to be more vulnerable, at a neurochemical level, in developing addiction to cannabis,” Fattore explained, in the paper published in the journal Frontiers in behavioural Neuroscience.

“As a result, the interactions between the endocannabinoid system and the brain level of dopamine — the neurotransmitter of “pleasure” and “reward” are sex-dependent.”

The inconsistency of conditions in these studies greatly complicates interpretation of an already complex role of sex hormones in the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid sensitivity.

However, the human data so far is consistent with the idea that oestradiol regulates the female response to cannabinoids.

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As in animals, human males and females are diverse in their genetic and hormonally driven behaviour and they process information differently, perceive emotions in different ways and are differently vulnerable to develop drug addiction.

“Blood levels of enzymes which break down cannabinoids fluctuate across the human menstrual cycle, and imaging studies show that brain levels of cannabinoid receptors increase with ageing in females — mirroring in each case changes in oestradiol levels,” Fattore said. (IANS)