Currently, antipsychotic drugs introduced in the 1950s are still the only effective treatment for people who struggle with psychotic disorders. However, over a third of patients do not respond to treatment with these drugs and many cause serious side effects which often make patients reluctant to take them. A recent review by researchers from King’s College London examined evidence that CBD may be useful as a novel treatment in psychosis, with a particular emphasis on its use in the early phases of the disorder.
CBD, with its potential antipsychotic effects and relatively few adverse effects, is considered as an ideal treatment for the early phases of psychosis, when minimising adverse effects is a clinical priority. To date, there have only been three clinical trials of CBD in patients with psychosis. In one short term trial (4 weeks), CBD as monotherapy was compared with amisulpride and there were no differences in efficacy, an encouraging result suggesting that CBD could be as effective as an antipsychotic. Another trial (6 weeks) evaluated CBD as an adjunctive treatment and the CBD treatment was associated with improvements in both ratings of psychotic symptom severity and the clinician’s overall impression. The review called for large-scale and long-term trials to confirm the potential utility of CBD in the early phases of psychosis.
- Chesney, E., Oliver, D. & McGuire, P. Cannabidiol (CBD) as a novel treatment in the early phases of psychosis. Psychopharmacology (2021) doi:10.1007/s00213-021-05905-9.