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Acute effects of cannabis on speech illusions and psychotic-like symptoms: two studies testing the moderating effects of cannabidiol and adolescence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2020

Claire Mokrysz*
Affiliation:
Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, London, UK
Natacha D. C. Shaban
Affiliation:
Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, London, UK
Tom P. Freeman
Affiliation:
Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, London, UK Addiction and Mental Health Group (AIM), Department of Psychology, University of Bath, Bath, UK National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK
Will Lawn
Affiliation:
Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, London, UK
Rebecca A. Pope
Affiliation:
Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, London, UK
Chandni Hindocha
Affiliation:
Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, London, UK
Abigail Freeman
Affiliation:
Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, London, UK
Matthew B. Wall
Affiliation:
Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, London, UK Invicro, Burlington Danes Building, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London, UK Division of Brain Sciences, Imperial College London, London, UK
Michael A. P. Bloomfield
Affiliation:
Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, London, UK Psychiatric Imaging Group, Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK Division of Psychiatry, Translational Psychiatry Research Group, University College London, Maple House, London, UK NIHR University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre, University College Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
Celia J. A. Morgan
Affiliation:
Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, London, UK Psychopharmacology and Addiction Research Centre, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
David J. Nutt
Affiliation:
Neuropsychopharmacology Unit, Division of Experimental Medicine, Imperial College London, Burlington Danes Building, Du Cane Road, London, UK
H. Valerie Curran
Affiliation:
Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, London, UK
*
Author for correspondence: Claire Mokrysz, E-mail: c.mokrysz@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

Background

Acute cannabis administration can produce transient psychotic-like effects in healthy individuals. However, the mechanisms through which this occurs and which factors predict vulnerability remain unclear. We investigate whether cannabis inhalation leads to psychotic-like symptoms and speech illusion; and whether cannabidiol (CBD) blunts such effects (study 1) and adolescence heightens such effects (study 2).

Methods

Two double-blind placebo-controlled studies, assessing speech illusion in a white noise task, and psychotic-like symptoms on the Psychotomimetic States Inventory (PSI). Study 1 compared effects of Cann-CBD (cannabis containing Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and negligible levels of CBD) with Cann+CBD (cannabis containing THC and CBD) in 17 adults. Study 2 compared effects of Cann-CBD in 20 adolescents and 20 adults. All participants were healthy individuals who currently used cannabis.

Results

In study 1, relative to placebo, both Cann-CBD and Cann+CBD increased PSI scores but not speech illusion. No differences between Cann-CBD and Cann+CBD emerged. In study 2, relative to placebo, Cann-CBD increased PSI scores and incidence of speech illusion, with the odds of experiencing speech illusion 3.1 (95% CIs 1.3–7.2) times higher after Cann-CBD. No age group differences were found for speech illusion, but adults showed heightened effects on the PSI.

Conclusions

Inhalation of cannabis reliably increases psychotic-like symptoms in healthy cannabis users and may increase the incidence of speech illusion. CBD did not influence psychotic-like effects of cannabis. Adolescents may be less vulnerable to acute psychotic-like effects of cannabis than adults.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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