Earlier this week, a study on the effects of skunk cannabis and its link to the development of psychosis was published. It was revealed that super strong cannabis is responsible for a quarter of all new cases of psychosis and raised concerns among health experts that the public are unaware of the dangers of using the drug.
Yin and Yang
However, there have also been recent studies revealing that there are two sides to cannabis. Professor Val Curran of University College London has explained how cannabis works, and gives a bit more insight into the two main ingredients of the cannabis plant – THC and CBD. She said, “In a way, THC and CBD are a bit like yin and yang. The THC makes you stoned, but it can also make you anxious. It can also make you feel a bit psychotic, and it will seriously impair your memory. The other side of the yin/yang is CBD, which has almost the opposite effects. CBD calms you down, it has anti-psychotic properties, and it also offsets the effects on memory, so that on CBD-containing cannabis you’re less likely to forget what’s going on.”
Super Strong Cannabis
In recent years, the strength of cannabis sold on the streets has increased. What is available today appears to have much more THC than CBD, which is the reason for the link to psychosis. Cannabis with more THC is appealing because it creates a much powerful high. However, with lower amounts of CBD, the drug becomes much more dangerous in terms of memory loss and psychosis. Another issue is that ten per cent of those who use skunk cannabis will develop a dependency on the drug.
Using Cannabis to Treat Addiction
The exploration of the way in which cannabis and its ingredients work has led to a trial involving the administering CBD to cannabis addicts. It is hoped that this more calming ingredient can reverse the effects of the more potent THC. Scientists are hoping that the CBD will help addicts wean themselves off the drug and reverse any long-term effects caused by regular abuse of the substance. CBD reduces paranoia and anxiety and blocks THC effects as well. If the trial proves a success, it will mean that an effective treatment for cannabis addiction has been found.
Professor Robin Murray from Kings College London who was involved in the study relating to the link between skunk and psychosis remains cautious but said, “If you give THC to normal volunteers, you can make them psychotic, but if you pre-treat them with CBD, you can prevent that happening.”
However, he did say that it was still early days, despite signs of CBD being an effective treatment for cannabis addiction.
Treatment for Epilepsy
In Colorado, a medication derived from the cannabis plant has been created to treat epilepsy. It was used to treat a girl with severe epilepsy and it has been named Charlotte’s Web, after her. Other people with the condition have used it and it is proving to be a success.
Hope for Treating Cannabis Addiction
The above studies will provide hope for treating cannabis addictions but, as mentioned, it is in the very early stages so it will not be available for some time. However, there are other treatments available for addictions; Addiction Helper can put you in touch with treatment providers all over the UK and beyond.
Our team of expert counsellors and advisors can provide you with information and will support you through the entire process. Our job is to make sure you get the help you need and we want to see you get better. Call us today for help and advice.