Certain cannabis compounds make cannabis less harmful.

Presentation First Author: 
Amir Englund

It is well established that heavy long-term cannabis use, particularly which starts at a young age, significantly increases the risk of cognitive impairment, psychosis, as well as hastens the onset of psychosis. However, cannabis consists of over 85 cannabis specific compounds known as cannabinoids, each of which with difference pharmacological effects. ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main cannabinoid and also responsible for the negative effects of cannabis when taken in high doses. Cannabidiol (CBD) and ∆9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) are also found in cannabis and may act antagonistically against THC as well as being therapeutic on their own. Here we will present results from three studies administering THC intravenously to healthy volunteers. The first study compared THC (2.5mg) to placebo and showed a significant increase in positive psychotic symptoms and impairments to immediate verbal recall. The second study administered CBD to half of the participants who received THC (1.5mg), and showed that CBD (600mg oral) was able to offset the psychotogenic, paranoia, and memory impairing effects of THC. In the final study volunteers were administered THCV (10mg oral) for five days before receiving iv. THC (1mg). The lower dose of THC was not psychotogenic and did not induce paranoia. THCV significantly reduced the heart rate, subjective, and memory impairing effects of THC. In conclusion, the negative acute effects of THC on psychopathology and memory are highly dose-dependent and can be reduced or eliminated by CBD or THCV.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2015
Additional Authors: 
Aleksandra Kralj - Judith Nottage - Zerrin Atakan - James Stone - Paul Morrison - Robin Murray
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