Cannabidiol improves maternal obesity-induced behavioral, neuroinflammatory and neurochemical dysfunctions in the juvenile offspring

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“Maternal obesity is associated with an increased risk of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder in the offspring. While numerous studies focus on preventive measures targeting the mothers, only a limited number provide practical approaches for addressing the damages once they are already established.

We have recently demonstrated the interplay between maternal obesity and treatment with cannabidiol (CBD) on hypothalamic inflammation and metabolic disturbances, however, little is known about this relationship on behavioral manifestations and neurochemical imbalances in other brain regions. Therefore, here we tested whether CBD treatment could mitigate anxiety-like and social behavioral alterations, as well as neurochemical disruptions in both male and female offspring of obese dams.

Female Wistar rats were fed a cafeteria diet for 12 weeks prior to mating, and during gestation and lactation. Offspring received CBD (50 mg/kg) from weaning for 3 weeks. Behavioral tests assessed anxiety-like manifestations and social behavior, while neuroinflammatory and neurochemical markers were evaluated in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus.

CBD treatment attenuated maternal obesity-induced anxiety-like and social behavioral alterations, followed by rescuing effects on imbalanced neurotransmitter and endocannabinoid concentrations and altered expression of glial markers, CB1, oxytocin and dopamine receptors, with important differences between sexes.

Overall, the findings of this study provide insight into the signaling pathways for the therapeutic benefits of CBD on neuroinflammation and neurochemical imbalances caused by perinatal maternal obesity in the PFC and the hippocampus, which translates into the behavioral manifestations, highlighting the sexual dimorphism encompassing both the transgenerational effect of obesity and the endocannabinoid system.”

Cannabidiol exhibits anxiolytic-like effects and antipsychotic-like effects in mice models

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“Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant, has been confirmed to induce anxiolytic-like and antipsychotic-like effects. However, the exact mechanisms remain unclear.

This study substantiated CBD’s interaction with the 5-HT1A receptor (5-HT1AR) in vitro (CHO cells expressing human 5-HT1AR) and in vivo (rat lower lip retraction test, LLR test). We then assessed the impact of CBD in mice using the stress-induced hyperthermia (SIH) model and the phencyclidine (PCP)-induced negative symptoms of schizophrenia model, respectively. Concurrently, we investigated whether WAY-100635, a typical 5-HT1AR antagonist, could attenuate these effects. Furthermore, the neurotransmitter changes through high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) were studied.

Results revealed that CBD exhibits selective 5-HT1AR agonists-mediated effects in the rat lower lip retraction test, aligning with the robust agonistic (EC50 = 1.75 μM) profile observed in CHO cells. CBD at 3 mg/kg significantly reduced SIH (ΔT), a response that WAY-100635 abolished. Chronic administration of CBD at 100 mg/kg mitigated the increase in PCP-induced immobility time in the forced swim test (FST) and tail suspension test (TST). Moreover, it induced significant alterations in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and norepinephrine (NE) levels within the hippocampus (HPC). Thus, we concluded that the 5-HT1AR mediates CBD’s anxiolytic-like effects. Additionally, CBD’s effects on the negative symptoms of schizophrenia may be linked to changes in GABA and NE levels in the hippocampus.

These findings offer novel insights for advancing the exploration of CBD’s anxiolytic-like and antipsychotic-like effects.”

Cannabidiol and its Potential Evidence-Based Psychiatric Benefits – A Critical Review

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“The endocannabinoid system shows promise as a novel target for treating psychiatric conditions.

Cannabidiol (CBD), a naturally occurring cannabinoid, has been investigated in several psychiatric conditions, with diverse effects and an excellent safety profile compared to standard treatments. Even though the body of evidence from randomised clinical trials is growing, it remains relatively limited in most indications.

This review comprises a comprehensive literature search to identify clinical studies on the effects of CBD in psychiatric conditions. The literature search included case studies, case reports, observational studies, and RCTs published in English before July 27, 2023, excluding studies involving nabiximols or cannabis extracts containing CBD and ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Completed studies were considered, and all authors independently assessed relevant publications.Of the 150 articles identified, 54 publications were included, covering the effects of CBD on healthy subjects and various psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia, substance use disorders (SUDs), anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and autism spectrum disorders. No clinical studies have been published for other potential indications, such as alcohol use disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, dementia, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

This critical review highlights that CBD can potentially ameliorate certain psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia, SUDs, and PTSD. However, more controlled studies and clinical trials, particularly investigating the mid- to long-term use of CBD, are required to conclusively establish its efficacy and safety in treating these conditions. The complex effects of CBD on neural activity patterns, likely by impacting the endocannabinoid system, warrant further research to reveal its therapeutic potential in psychiatry.”

THC improves behavioural schizophrenia-like deficits that CBD fails to overcome: a comprehensive multilevel approach using the Poly I:C maternal immune activation

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“Prenatal infections and cannabis use during adolescence are well-recognized risk factors for schizophrenia. As inflammation and oxidative stress (OS) contribute to this disorder, anti-inflammatory drugs have been proposed as potential therapies. This study aimed to evaluate the association between delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and schizophrenia-like abnormalities in a maternal immune activation (MIA) model. Additionally, we assessed the preventive effect of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotropic/anti-inflammatory cannabinoid. THC and/or CBD were administered to Saline- and MIA-offspring during periadolescence. At adulthood, THC-exposed MIA-offspring showed significant improvements in sensorimotor gating deficits. Structural and metabolic brain changes were evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging, revealing cortical shrinkage in Saline- and enlargement in MIA-offspring after THC-exposure. Additionally, MIA-offspring displayed enlarged ventricles and decreased hippocampus, which were partially reverted by both cannabinoids. CBD prevented THC-induced reduction in the corpus callosum, despite affecting white matter structure. Post-mortem studies revealed detrimental effects of THC, including increased inflammation and oxidative stress. CBD partially reverted these pro-inflammatory alterations and modulated THC’s effects on the endocannabinoid system. In conclusion, contrary to expectations, THC exhibited greater behavioural and morphometric benefits, despite promoting a pro-inflammatory state that CBD partially reverted. Further research is needed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms involved in the observed benefits of THC.”

The psychedelic effects of cannabis: A review of the literature

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“Cannabis and classic psychedelics are controlled substances with emerging evidence of efficacy in the treatment of a variety of psychiatric illnesses. Cannabis has largely not been regarded as having psychedelic effects in contemporary literature, despite many examples of historical use along with classic psychedelics to attain altered states of consciousness.

Research into the “psychedelic” effects of cannabis, and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in particular, could prove helpful for assessing potential therapeutic indications and elucidating the mechanism of action of both cannabis and classic psychedelics.

This review aggregates and evaluates the literature assessing the capacity of cannabis to yield the perceptual changes, aversiveness, and mystical experiences more typically associated with classic psychedelics such as psilocybin. This review also provides a brief contrast of neuroimaging findings associated with the acute effects of cannabis and psychedelics.

The available evidence suggests that high-THC cannabis may be able to elicit psychedelic effects, but that these effects may not have been observed in recent controlled research studies due to the doses, set, and settings commonly used. Research is needed to investigate the effects of high doses of THC in the context utilized in therapeutic studies of psychedelics aimed to occasion psychedelic and/or therapeutic experiences.

If cannabis can reliably generate psychedelic experiences under these conditions, high-THC dose cannabis treatments should be explored as potential adjunctive treatments for psychiatric disorders and be considered as an active comparator in clinical trials involving traditional psychedelic medications.”

“Psychedelic drugs in the treatment of psychiatric disorders”

Lack of interactions between prenatal immune activation and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol exposure during adolescence in behaviours relevant to symptom dimensions of schizophrenia in rats

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“The causality in the association between cannabis use and the risk of developing schizophrenia has been the subject of intense debate in the last few years. The development of animal models recapitulating several aspects of the disease is crucial for shedding light on this issue. Maternal infections are a known risk for schizophrenia. Here, we used the maternal immune activation (MIA) model combined with THC exposure during adolescence to examine several behaviours in rats (working memory in the Y maze, sociability in the three-chamber test, sucrose preference as a measure, prepulse inhibition and formation of incidental associations) that are similar to the different symptom clusters of the disease. To this end, we administered LPS to pregnant dams and when the offspring reached adolescence, we exposed them to a mild dose of THC to examine their behaviour in adulthood. We also studied several parameters in the dams, including locomotor activity in the open field, elevated plus maze performance and their response to LPS, that could predict symptom severity of the offspring, but found no evidence of any predictive value of these variables. In the adult offspring, MIA was associated with impaired working memory and sensorimotor gating, but surprisingly, it increased sociability, social novelty and sucrose preference. THC, on its own, impaired sociability and social memory, but there were no interactions between MIA and THC exposure. These results suggest that, in this model, THC during adolescence does not trigger or aggravate symptoms related to schizophrenia in rats.”

The therapeutic potential of purified cannabidiol

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“The use of cannabidiol (CBD) for therapeutic purposes is receiving considerable attention, with speculation that CBD can be useful in a wide range of conditions. Only one product, a purified form of plant-derived CBD in solution (Epidiolex), is approved for the treatment of seizures in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex. Appraisal of the therapeutic evidence base for CBD is complicated by the fact that CBD products sometimes have additional phytochemicals (like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)) present, which can make the identification of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) in positive studies difficult. The aim of the present review is to critically review clinical studies using purified CBD products only, in order to establish the upcoming indications for which purified CBD might be beneficial.

The areas in which there is the most clinical evidence to support the use of CBD are in the treatment of anxiety (positive data in 7 uncontrolled studies and 17 randomised controlled trials (RCTs)), psychosis and schizophrenia (positive data in 1 uncontrolled study and 8 RCTs), PTSD (positive data in 2 uncontrolled studies and 4 RCTs) and substance abuse (positive data in 2 uncontrolled studies and 3 RCTs). Seven uncontrolled studies support the use of CBD to improve sleep quality, but this has only been verified in one small RCT. Limited evidence supports the use of CBD for the treatment of Parkinson’s (3 positive uncontrolled studies and 2 positive RCTs), autism (3 positive RCTs), smoking cessation (2 positive RCTs), graft-versus-host disease and intestinal permeability (1 positive RCT each). Current RCT evidence does not support the use of purified oral CBD in pain (at least as an acute analgesic) or for the treatment of COVID symptoms, cancer, Huntington’s or type 2 diabetes.

In conclusion, published clinical evidence does support the use of purified CBD in multiple indications beyond epilepsy. However, the evidence base is limited by the number of trials only investigating the acute effects of CBD, testing CBD in healthy volunteers, or in very small patient numbers. Large confirmatory phase 3 trials are required in all indications.”

State Cannabis Legalization and Psychosis-Related Health Care Utilization

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“Importance: Psychosis is a hypothesized consequence of cannabis use. Legalization of cannabis could therefore be associated with an increase in rates of health care utilization for psychosis.

Objective: To evaluate the association of state medical and recreational cannabis laws and commercialization with rates of psychosis-related health care utilization.

Design, setting, and participants: Retrospective cohort design using state-level panel fixed effects to model within-state changes in monthly rates of psychosis-related health care claims as a function of state cannabis policy level, adjusting for time-varying state-level characteristics and state, year, and month fixed effects. Commercial and Medicare Advantage claims data for beneficiaries aged 16 years and older in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, 2003 to 2017 were used. Data were analyzed from April 2021 to October 2022.

Exposure: State cannabis legalization policies were measured for each state and month based on law type (medical or recreational) and degree of commercialization (presence or absence of retail outlets).

Main outcomes and measures: Outcomes were rates of psychosis-related diagnoses and prescribed antipsychotics.

Results: This study included 63 680 589 beneficiaries followed for 2 015 189 706 person-months. Women accounted for 51.8% of follow-up time with the majority of person-months recorded for those aged 65 years and older (77.3%) and among White beneficiaries (64.6%). Results from fully-adjusted models showed that, compared with no legalization policy, states with legalization policies experienced no statistically significant increase in rates of psychosis-related diagnoses (medical, no retail outlets: rate ratio [RR], 1.13; 95% CI, 0.97-1.36; medical, retail outlets: RR, 1.24; 95% CI, 0.96-1.61; recreational, no retail outlets: RR, 1.38; 95% CI, 0.93-2.04; recreational, retail outlets: RR, 1.39; 95% CI, 0.98-1.97) or prescribed antipsychotics (medical, no retail outlets RR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.88-1.13; medical, retail outlets: RR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.87-1.19; recreational, no retail outlets: RR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.84-1.51; recreational, retail outlets: RR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.89-1.45). In exploratory secondary analyses, rates of psychosis-related diagnoses increased significantly among men, people aged 55 to 64 years, and Asian beneficiaries in states with recreational policies compared with no policy.

Conclusions and relevance: In this retrospective cohort study of commercial and Medicare Advantage claims data, state medical and recreational cannabis policies were not associated with a statistically significant increase in rates of psychosis-related health outcomes. As states continue to introduce new cannabis policies, continued evaluation of psychosis as a potential consequence of state cannabis legalization may be informative.”

“In this retrospective cohort study of commercial and Medicare Advantage claims data, state medical and recreational cannabis policies were not associated with a statistically significant increase in rates of psychosis-related health outcomes.”

Regulation of DNA Methylation by Cannabidiol and Its Implications for Psychiatry: New Insights from In Vivo and In Silico Models


“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychotomimetic compound present in cannabis sativa. Many recent studies have indicated that CBD has a promising therapeutic profile for stress-related psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety, schizophrenia and depression. Such a diverse profile has been associated with its complex pharmacology, since CBD can target different neurotransmitter receptors, enzymes, transporters and ion channels. However, the precise contribution of each of those mechanisms for CBD effects is still not yet completely understood. Considering that epigenetic changes make the bridge between gene expression and environment interactions, we review and discuss herein how CBD affects one of the main epigenetic mechanisms associated with the development of stress-related psychiatric disorders: DNA methylation (DNAm). Evidence from in vivo and in silico studies indicate that CBD can regulate the activity of the enzymes responsible for DNAm, due to directly binding to the enzymes and/or by indirectly regulating their activities as a consequence of neurotransmitter-mediated signaling. The implications of this new potential pharmacological target for CBD are discussed in light of its therapeutic and neurodevelopmental effects.”

Incidence and Predictors of Cannabis-Related Poisoning and Mental and Behavioral Disorders among Patients with Medical Cannabis Authorization: A Cohort Study

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“Objective: As medical cannabis use increases in North America, establishing its safety profile is a priority. The objective of this study was to assess rates of emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations due to poisoning by cannabis, and cannabis-related mental health disorders among medically authorized cannabis patients in Ontario, Canada, between 2014 and 2017.

Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study of patients who received medical cannabis authorization in Ontario, Canada, using data collected in participating cannabis clinics. Outcomes included ED visit/hospitalization with a main diagnosis code for: cannabis/cannabinoid poisoning; and mental/behavioral disorders due to cannabis use. Cox proportional hazard regressions were utilized to analyze the data.

Results: From 29,153 patients who received medical authorization, 23,091 satisfied the inclusion criteria. During a median follow-up of 240 days, 14 patients visited the ED or were hospitalized for cannabis poisoning-with an incidence rate of 8.06 per 10,000 person-years (95% CI: 4.8-13.6). A total of 26 patients visited the ED or were hospitalized for mental and behavioral disorders due to cannabis use-with an incidence rate of 15.0 per 10,000 person-years (95% CI: 10.2-22.0). Predictors of cannabis-related mental and behavioral disorders include prior substance use disorders, other mental disorders, age, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Conclusions: The results suggest that the incidence of cannabis poisoning or cannabis-related mental and behavioral disorders was low among patients who were authorized to use cannabis for medical care. Identified predictors can help to target patients with potential risk of the studied outcomes.”