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“AN IMPORTANT INSIGHT”
(Feb. 28, 2020) — A new study indicates that CBD can decrease signs of psychosis by re-tuning activity in three brain areas, specifically the striatum, medial temporal cortex, and midbrain. These regions are connected with making decisions and memory. This is the first explanation backed by evidence showing how CBD can offset the ill-effects of psychosis in the brain.
The study was composed of 33 participants with a psychosis disorder, and a small group of psychosis-free individuals acted as a control unit. Half of the group took 600 mg of CBD tablet, the other half were given a placebo capsule, and the control group did not take any drug. Each participant was given a memory test while their brains were examined by fMRI equipment.
The results – those with symptoms showed abnormal activity over the control group. However, those who took marijuana edibles had less severe signs of irregularities than those who were given a dose of placebo. This demonstrates that CBD has an impact on the parts of the brain with an abnormal activity that is displayed in people with psychosis.
The results cannot give a definite conclusion. It is unclear whether the effects are short-term or it can be extended with a longer-term treatment and the sample size was insignificant. However, a large-scale trial is under way to determine the possibility of CBD as a treatment for psychosis.
What is Psychosis?
Psychosis is a condition that affects the manner in which the brain handles information. Sufferers of the disease have lost touch with reality; they cannot distinguish what is real from what is made-up. People imagine seeing, smelling, hearing or feeling things that are non-existent.
The precise cause of psychosis is not clear, and each case is unique. Some are due to ailments; others are triggered by substance abuse, sleep disorder, and environmental conditions. Here are some factors that can put you at risk.
- You have relatives who suffer from it.
- It can be initiated by alcohol abuse; drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD; and abuse of prescription drugs.
- A traumatic experience from war, sexual assault or demise of a loved one.
- Ailments like brain injuries and tumors, HIV, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, strokes, and dementia.
The Benefits for Psychosis
Schizophrenia is caused by too much dopamine in some parts of the brain resulting in hallucinations and delusions or to symptoms such as demotivation and unwillingness. Dopamine performs a vital role in psychosis, and any disruption results to myriad health issues. It is a neurotransmitter that transfers messages across brain cells. It plays a big part on how we think and feel as to whether something is noteworthy, unimportant or stimulating.
Research shows that if you have a blood relationship with a schizophrenic, you may have more dopamine but not enough to be psychotic – which is advantageous. The mind works on irrelevant or surprising thoughts and organizes them to come up with an extraordinary way of doing something.
To demonstrate, a study among 30 innovative writers was conducted to prove that not all brilliant minds were psychologically healthy. The writers suffering from bipolar, extremely low mood to extremely irritable mood scored better on creativity than those with unipolar, extremely low mood.
A report from the British Journal of Psychiatry documented a study of over 70,000 people with bipolar and schizophrenia impairment and over 200,000 sufferers with unipolar disorder.
The outcome – schizophrenia and bipolar sufferers were bound to have parents and siblings who are engaged in the creative profession. And bipolar patients were expected to have children with creative minds. The statistics for unipolar patients were insufficient to establish a genetic link between having a relative with the same disorder and kin who are involved in creative undertakings.
How Does Psychosis Work?
The most common type of psychosis is schizophrenia; every patient has his or her own distinct experiences and symptoms which differ depending on their situations. Individuals with psychosis think that everything has changed, but others don’t share their views on change. Early signs or symptoms, termed the prodromal period, are characterized by:
- Memory and attentiveness issues.
- Shunning people and social affairs.
- Strange behavior.
- Poor hygiene.
- Weird ideas.
- Loss of interest in daily activities.
The acute phase follows the prodromal period, when symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, agony and thinking disorders which muddles the speech. After treatment the positive indicators are either reduced or eliminated, but negative symptoms remain such as poor memory, hygiene, and motivation. These hinder a person’s capacity to work, study, and to pursue routine activities.
People react differently to symptoms; most of them will recuperate from the initial acute stage, but merely 14 to 20% will fully recoup. Others will improve but will have relapses, some will have it for short periods and others have to cope with it for months or years.
CBD and Psychosis
The test on the brains of people with psychosis who took marijuana edibles provided valuable insights into the role of CBD in treating psychosis.
Psychosis patients who were given a placebo tablet showed abnormal brain activity compared to those who are psychosis-free, while in patients who took a single dose of CBD, the stimulation in the affected brain regions closely resembled those people without symptoms of psychosis.
The test was significant because it was the first time that the brains of people with psychosis who took CBD was scanned, and the results were convincing: CBD targets the affected areas of the brain and treats them. CBD decreased the signs of psychosis and alterations in brain activity during the memory test.
Further, the study disclosed that the activities in the striatum and hippocampus were more synchronized in people suffering with psychosis. This indicates that there is a working relationship in these two brain regions compared to those who are psychosis-free. A single dose of CBD reduced this working relationship, and the brain activity closely resembled the control group.
Although there is no definitive conclusion from the study, it provided an important insight into the antipsychotic properties of CBD. It revealed that CBD targets the brain regions that trigger psychosis and a single tablet can improve affected areas.