British scientists discovered how a non-intoxicating component of cannabis works in key areas of the brain by reducing abnormal activity in patients at risk of psychosis, suggesting that the ingredient might become a new antipsychotic drug.
Although regular use of potent forms of cannabis can increase the risk of developing psychosis, chemical cannabidiol or CBD seems to have the opposite effect.
CBD is the same cannabis composition that has also shown benefits in epilepsy, leading to the approval of a GW Pharmaceuticals drug with a purified CBD formula in the United States in June.
Earlier research at King's College London had shown that CBD seems to counteract the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the cannabis substance that people tolerate drugs. But how this happened was a mystery.
Now, examining the brains of 33 young people who experienced disturbing psychotic symptoms but did not have the diagnosis of complete psychosis, Sagnik Bhattacharyya and his colleagues showed that administering CBD capsules reduced abnormal activity in the brain regions that affect the striatum. , medial temporal cortex, is called and mesencephalon.
Abnormalities in all three regions of the brain have been associated with the onset of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Most current antipsychotics focus on the chemical signal system for dopamine in the brain, but CBD works differently.
The latest findings underline the complexity of the cocktail of chemicals in the marijuana plant, at a time when cannabis legislation is being liberalized in many countries.