Psychosis is a severe mental disorder characterized by a loss of connection with reality, can include anxious hallucinations and delusions. Since no one has yet been able to identify a single cause of psychosis, it is even more difficult to prescribe treatment. But scientists in a new JAMA Psychiatry study appear to be on the right track. They report the new way to “restart” a psychotic brain using the cannabidiol.

Researchers are getting more and more evidence that the active ingredients in cannabis can help relieve symptoms in people with epileptic seizures, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder, but many remains to be learned about its relationship to psychosis. The most well-known cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, has previously been linked to the development of psychosis in some people. But in a new study, the authors report that another cannabinoid called CBD  may actually help with treatment.

A team of British researchers show that a single dose of CBD can normalize brain activity associated with psychosis. Psychosis is associated with characteristic patterns of brain activation, which are revealed by MRI in the striatum, medial temporal lobe and midbrain. In a double-blind study monitored 33 people at high risk of psychosis and 19 healthy subjects, the study authors found that patients at high risk of developing psychosis had abnormally increased activity in these regions compared to healthy subjects. But one large dose of CBD (600 milligrams) quickly and dramatically reduce brain activity in these areas of the brain back to normal levels.

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