A new study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, has found that cannabis with high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) may be effective at tackling the negative effects induced by THC in the brain, thus preventing severe brain damage.
For the study, Scientists at the University College London tested the effects of two strains of cannabis on 17 subjects. One strain was the skunk — marijuana with high levels of THC, which makes up around 94% of cannabis sold on the streets of London — the second strain was of a similar kind but with higher CBD content.
Using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to gauge how different strains of cannabis impacted the brain function of 17 volunteers, Dr Matt Wall, along with his fellow researchers, found that the first (low-CBD) strain reduced activity in the posterior cingulate area of the brain, which is connected to regions known to be involved with learning and motivation.
Furthermore, it also reduced activity in the ‘salience network’, which allows the brain to decide which sensory experiences to divert attention to.
On the other hand, the second strain (with high CBD), produced only minimal disruption to those areas of the brain, even though the strain contained the same amount of THC.
Thus, it was concluded that marijuana with higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD) causes less brain damage as it can counter the consequences of THC.
Since CBD has proven to be effective at tackling THC, scientists hope that one day the non-psychoactive agent could be used to restore disruption to the salience network. In simple words, our beloved CBD may have the ability to treat psychosis and addiction.
The researchers believe that their findings add to the theory that cannabis strains with greater CBD content may be less harmful, suggesting that CBD content of cannabis should be regulated in jurisdictions where it is legal.