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Brain Imaging Study Looks Into CBD’s Antipsychotic Effects

CBD holds promise for treating psychosis in patients who suffer from schizophrenia.

Aside from CBD’s positive effects on anxiety, pain and skin care, researchers have found that the compound can treat more complex conditions, such as epilepsy in children and psychosis in patients who suffer from schizophrenia. This latter claim was first brought to the public’s attention when a 2017 study showed that CBD was beneficial for patients suffering from schizophrenia-related psychosis.

A study conducted by researchers from King’s College in London took things further by trying to understand why CBD was providing these anti-psychotic effects. This new research examined 13 patients with psychosis and studied their brains through fMRIs.

RELATED: CBD Shows Therapeutic Effects On Psychosis

The study, published in the Psychological Medicine journal, performed two fMRIs on each patient, one under the influence of a placebo and another after taking a dose of CBD. There was also a control group made up of healthy subjects who weren’t taking any drugs.

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The study found important differences between the fMRIs of subjects. They showed that CBD was able to reduce the dysfunctional connectivity present in subjects experiencing psychosis, making their brain scans look more similar to the ones taken from the control group.

Sagnik Bhattacharyya, senior author of the study, explained that the test results shed a light on how CBD impacts the brains of people going through one of these episodes. “It gives confidence in the antipsychotic potential of CBD by demonstrating that it targets the function of brain regions implicated in psychosis and indicating that even a single dose may ameliorate some of the brain function alterations that may underlie psychosis,” said Bhattacharyya.

RELATED: Study Links Daily Marijuana Use With Risk Of Psychosis

While the study is small and the results aren’t definitive, they do suggest that CBD can provide some relief for patients suffering from this condition, leveling some of the abnormal activity that psychosis produces in the prefrontal and mediotemporal regions of the brain.

This study marks the first time that patients with psychosis are given CBD and analyzed in order to see the effects of the drug in real time. While the topic of CBD and psychosis has plenty of limitations and a long road, studies like this one represent an important start, continuing to legitimize CBD as medicine.

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