Cannabidiol linked to reduction in psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia
Patients with schizophrenia showed signs of improvement in positive psychotic symptoms and clinician-rated improvement after treatment with cannabidiol, a component of cannabis thought to counteract the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an industry-funded phase 2 study reported.
According to the authors, the study is only the second to examine the use of cannabidiol in schizophrenia. “Because cannabidiol acts in a way different from conventional antipsychotic medication, it may represent a new class of treatment for schizophrenia,” wrote the study authors, including several employees of the drugmaker that helped to fund the research.
The study, led by Philip McGuire, FMedSci., of King’s College London, was published online Dec. 15 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Researchers have long been interested in the relationship between aspects of schizophrenia – especially psychosis – and cannabis. There’s been less focus on the effects of individual cannabinoids – components of cannabis such as THC (which is psychoactive), cannabinol (which is linked to sleep), and cannabidiol.
Researchers have linked cannabidiol to anxiety relief, and it’s been used to treat a wide variety of conditions, particularly epilepsy.
For the current study, a randomized, double-blind parallel-group trial, researchers assigned patients with schizophrenia or related psychotic disorders to receive 1,000 mg/day of cannabidiol (n = 43) or placebo (n = 45) for 6 weeks. The patients took the drug (10 mL of a 100-mg/mL oral solution) or a matching placebo twice a day in divided doses. They continued to take their existing antipsychotic medication; the study did not accept anyone taking more than one medication for that purpose.
The patients, aged 18-65, were at 15 hospitals in the United Kingdom, Romania, and Poland; 93% of the subjects were white, and 58% were male. The subjects were allowed to continue the use of alcohol or cannabis.
Eighty-three patients finished the trial after two withdrew because of adverse events and three withdrew consent. The intention-to-treat analysis involved 86 patients: 42 who took cannabidiol (including 3 who took it for 21 or fewer days) and 44 who took the placebo. At the end of treatment, the researchers found that the positive score on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) fell from baseline by a mean –1.7 points in the placebo group and –3.2 points in the cannabidiol group, a difference of –1.4 points (P = .019). PANSS total and general scores also fell in both groups, as did the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms score, but the differences between the groups were not statistically significant. PANSS negative scores fell by about the same level in both groups.
SOURCE: THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY
Risks and Benefits of Cannabis in Dermatology
Cannabis (cannabis sativa/indica), has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for millennia. There has been a recent trend to legalize the use of cannabis, as illustrated by the recent legalization votes in numerous states in the US and legislation in Canada to allow recreational cannabis use. With this increasing consumption of cannabis, dermatologists will see increased pressure to prescribe cannabis and will observe the side effects of cannabis use with greater frequency. There are several approved medical indications for cannabis use and very preliminary studies have suggested cannabis and its derivatives might have use in acne, dermatitis, pruritus, wound healing, and skin cancer. Conversely, the side effects of cannabis use are relatively well documented, and dermatologists should be aware of these presentations. Side effects of cannabis use include cannabis allergy manifesting as urticaria and pruritus, cannabis arteritis presenting with necrosis and ulcers, and oral cancers from cannabis smoke.
SOURCE: J Cutan Med Surg; ePub