National Schizophrenia Awareness Day (25 July)


A brain

Dr Edward Chesney, a psychiatrist and researcher at King’s College London, discovered that many of his patients diagnosed with schizophrenia were hesitant to take antipsychotic medication due to unpleasant side effects. Additionally, many patients were addicted to cannabis, which can worsen psychosis symptoms and lead to relapse. Edward became interested in cannabidiol, or ‘CBD’, which may be an effective treatment for both psychosis and cannabis addiction with minimal side effects.

For National Schizophrenia Awareness Day, on Tuesday 25 July, Edward spoke with the communications team at the King’s Clinical Research Facility on his recently completed study on the use of CBD as a treatment for individuals living with psychosis and cannabis use disorder.

“Over the last few years, clinical trials have demonstrated that CBD may effectively treat psychosis and help those who want to reduce or stop using cannabis. Our study aimed to investigate a third use for CBD: treating patients with psychosis who continue to use cannabis despite its potentially harmful effects.

“I conducted a laboratory study to test if CBD can reduce the negative effects of cannabis intoxication in people with psychosis. 30 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and who used cannabis regularly were recruited and were given capsules which contained either CBD or a placebo. The CBD dose was 1000mg, much higher than what is available on the high street. A few hours later, they were given medical-grade cannabis which they inhaled using a vaporiser. Once they were intoxicated, I assessed symptoms such as anxiety, paranoia, and memory impairment.

“I completed the study this month and will analyze the data over the summer. Safety was a top priority during the study. Although some participants experienced significant reactions to cannabis, such as confusion, paranoia, or hallucinations, everyone returned to their baseline after the study.

 "If we do find that CBD reduces the harms of acute cannabis intoxication, it may mean that it could be a useful treatment for people with psychosis who also struggle with cannabis addiction. If successful, I hope our study's results will be welcome news for people looking for alternatives to antipsychotic medication. However, before CBD can be approved as a treatment, larger-scale clinical trials where CBD is prescribed over the long term must be completed first".

Tags: NIHR Wellcome King's Clinical Research Facility -

By NIHR Wellcome King's Clinical Research Facility at 14 Jul 2023, 15:21 PM

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