Although traditional antipsychotics are commonly used as treatment for psychosis, they can have adverse side effects and are ineffective to some patients. Exploring new therapies, like CBD, to widen treatment options for psychosis patients is essential.
In 2022, the medical marijuana market size was valued at USD 12.8 billion and is expected to enlarge at a compounded annual growth rate of 21.80% from this year until 2030 because of the rising awareness of the therapeutic applications of the product. Active research work/developmental activities, proven medical properties, and growing legalization of cannabis are the main drivers for this surge in demand.
CBD has only been prescribed for a small number of conditions. A growing body of evidence highlighted that CBD can also reduce psychotic symptoms partly by modulating the endocannabinoid system - an approach totally different from the dopamine-targeting antipsychotics. However, these findings haven’t been translated into any clinically-approved antipsychotic medications yet.
As part of its support to mental health research and to understand CBD’s effectiveness in psychosis treatment at various stages, Wellcome alongside Jazz Pharmaceuticals, funded Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry alongside for the Stratification & Treatment in Early Psychosis (STEP) program. The form of CBD used in the study is Epidiolex, which has been approved for use to treat seizures in children.
Involving 35 centers from Europe and North America and 1,000 participants with psychotic symptoms who have not responded to conventional treatment, this international study investigates whether CBD can prevent the onset of psychosis. Moreover, they wanted to identify biomarkers that would serve as indicators that the patient is responding well to the treatment, allowing for greater personalization of treatment.