A Critical Review of the Antipsychotic Effects of Cannabidiol: 30 Years of a Translational Investigation
Antonio Waldo Zuardi, Jose Alexandre S. Crippa, Jaime E.C. Hallak, Sagnik Bhattacharyya, Zerrin Atakan, Rocio Martin-Santos, Philip K. McGuire and Francisco Silveira Guimaraes
Affiliation: Department of Neurosciences and Behavior, Division of Psychiatry; Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirao Preto; Universidade de Sao Paulo, Hospital das Clinicas - Terceiro Andar; Av. Bandeirantes, 3900; Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Keywords: Cannabidiol, CBD, cannabis, antipsychotic, psychosis
Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ 9-THC) is the main compound of the Cannabis Sativa responsible for most of the effects of the
plant. Another major constituent is cannabidiol (CBD), formerly regarded to be devoid of pharmacological activity. However, laboratory
rodents and human studies have shown that this cannabinoid is able to prevent psychotic-like symptoms induced by high doses of Δ 9-
THC. Subsequent studies have demonstrated that CBD has antipsychotic effects as observed using animal models and in healthy volunteers.
Thus, this article provides a critical review of the research evaluating antipsychotic potential of this cannabinoid. CBD appears to
have pharmacological profile similar to that of atypical antipsychotic drugs as seem using behavioral and neurochemical techniques in
animal models. Additionally, CBD prevented human experimental psychosis and was effective in open case reports and clinical trials in
patients with schizophrenia with a remarkable safety profile. Moreover, fMRI results strongly suggest that the antipsychotic effects of
CBD in relation to the psychotomimetic effects of Δ 9-THC involve the striatum and temporal cortex that have been traditionally associated
with psychosis. Although the mechanisms of the antipsychotic properties are still not fully understood, we propose a hypothesis that
could have a heuristic value to inspire new studies. These results support the idea that CBD may be a future therapeutic option in psychosis,
in general and in schizophrenia, in particular.
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