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A new study found that cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical from the marijuana plant, can reduce the risk of psychosis, a severe mental health condition. The study said that CBD could neutralize the effects of high-grade “skunk” cannabis strains. For the first time, a team from University College London used a scanner to see the effects of various strains of marijuana on the brain. They have found that raising the levels of CBD could work as a “buffer” to the harmful effects of marijuana. They have learned that with higher CBD content, strains with the same amount of THC, the marijuana compound that makes the user “high,” cause less disturbance to brain parts that are linked to psychosis and addiction.  Moreover, a decrease in the sensation of being high was reported, and the team of experts said that this supports using high-CBD contents for medical use. Dr. Matt Wall, the lead author of the study which was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, says, “Over the last two decades, rates of addiction and psychosis linked to cannabis have been on the rise, while at the same time stronger strains of cannabis with more THC and less CBD have become increasingly common.” “We have now found that CBD appears to buffer the user against some of the acute effects of THC on the brain,” he added. Marijuana has hundreds of compounds called cannabinoids, which is second to THC or tetrahydrocannabidiol as the highest content in new strains. Meanwhile, recreational cannabis is still illegal in the United Kingdom, while medicinal use has just legalized. The popularity of skunk is said to be the reason for high psychosis rates in London, which is recorded the highest across Europe. On the other hand, the sales of CBD oil in health stores has increased to aid different illness despite little evidence due to years of prohibition. In conclusion, MRI scans have been used at the UCL test to learn about the activation of various part of the human brain. They use two different strains that have the same contents to the strain of “skunk” with high and low CBD level. As a result, “skunk” with low CBD strain distorted the neuron signals in a part of the human brain known as the posterior cingulate. This has caused users said they feel a lot stoned. The experts also found that the neuron networks that build sensory and emotional information, called the salience networks, was interfered. Messing up these areas of the human brain causes psychosis and addiction. However, CBD helped to reduce the risk, supporting the fact that it can be used as a protection or medicine. Professor Val Curran says, “If CBD can restore disruption to the salience network, this could be a neuroprotective mechanism to explain its potential to treat disorders of salience such as psychosis and addiction.” Meanwhile, the first medical cannabis clinic in the United Kingdom is in Greater Manchester. It opened after the government announced that specialist doctors could recommend cannabis-based products to their patients for medicinal use.

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