Brain scans have revealed for the first time how a substance found in cannabis plants may help people with psychotic disorders by dampening down abnormal brain activity that arises in the patients.
A single dose of cannabidiol, an non-intoxicating extract of the plant, reduced unusual patterns of neural behaviour linked to hallucinations, delusions, and other symptoms of psychosis, researchers found.
The impact of the substance has raised hopes that medical preparations of pure cannabidiol, or new drugs based on the compound, may be turned into effective treatments for young people who develop psychosis but do not respond to existing therapies.
The most common treatments for psychosis today work on a brain chemical called dopamine, but no new drugs have been developed for the condition since they were discovered in the 1950s. “These results will clearly pave the way for developing a novel class of antipsychotic treatments,” said Sagnik Bhattacharyya, who led the research