The effect of Cannabidiol (CBD) on paranoid cognitions in humans

Poster C99, Saturday, October 22, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Alessia Avila1, Paul Morrison1, Robin Murray1, Shitij Kapur1, Philip McGuire1, Daniel Freedman2; 1Institute of Psychiatry Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, 2Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University

Perceived social threat (social anxiety and paranoid cognition) is part of everyday life, but for some people such experiences can be impairing. It has been demonstrated that in people deemed to be at risk of developing mental illness perceived social threats are especially common. Recently it has become clear that the endocannabinoid system is involved in these perception. The endocannabinoids are the brain's own cannabinoid transmitters and some of the ingredients in the cannabis plant impact upon this system. We are interested in the molecule cannabidiol (CBD) and from previous work we know that the effects of pure CBD in humans are subtle. We expect that CBD may limit the intensity of perceived social threat in young people with High risk for psychosis. 20-25 participants meeting clinical risk for psychosis criteria will be randomly allocated to receive either CBD (300mg) or a placebo (dummy pill), twice per day for 5 days before entering testing. The reason for dosing is to permit the drug to approach steady-state levels. On experimental days participants complete 2 tasks: a virtual reality simulation of an underground journey and the simulated public-speaking task. Both paradigms are laboratory based and designed to elicit perceptions of social threat. Participants' experiences and thoughts will be recorded using validated questionnaires and cortisol levels (stress hormone) will be collected using a simple mouth-swab. We have already recruited 10 participants and results will tell us if CBD has effects on perceived social threat in people who are especially prone to such experiences.

Topic Area: Ultra High Risk / Prodromal Research

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