Cannabis Medication and Psychiatric Disorders

Another upcoming, but only partially understood, application of cannabinoids is in the treatment of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Although long-term consumption of high doses of THC has actually been identified as a risk factor for the development of such mental illnesses, other cannabinoids seem to have the reverse effect.

In particular the non psychoactive cannabinoid CBD has shown potential in this respect, and cannabis varieties (chapter 2) high in CBD are being developed in many places around the world. Researchers believe that CBD may exert its effects on the brain by interacting directly with the endocannabinoid system.

In a study using pure CBD, it was found this mechanism may lead to substantial antipsychotic properties in acute schizophrenia with an efficacy comparable to the standard drugs. There are certain conditions where the risks associated with using medicinal cannabis may be increased.