Unbound MEDLINE

Synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (dronabinol) can improve the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Abstract

We are reporting improvement of symptoms of schizophrenia in a small group of patients who received the cannabinoid agonist dronabinol (synthetic Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Before this report, cannabinoids had usually been associated with worsening of psychotic symptoms. In a heuristic, compassionate use study, we found that 4 of 6 treatment-refractory patients with severe chronic schizophrenia but who had a self-reported history of improving with marijuana abuse improved with dronabinol. This improvement seems to have been a reduction of core psychotic symptoms in 3 of the 4 responders and not just nonspecific calming. There were no clinically significant adverse effects. These results complement the recent finding that the cannabinoid blocker rimonabant does not improve schizophrenic symptoms and suggest that the role of cannabinoids in psychosis may be more complex than previously thought. They open a possible new role for cannabinoids in the treatment of schizophrenia.

Links

  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors

    Schwarcz G, Karajgi B, McCarthy R

    Institution

    Rockland Psychiatric Center, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA. gs2272@columbia.edu

    Source

    Journal of clinical psychopharmacology 29:3 2009 Jun pg 255-8

    MeSH

    Adult
    Antipsychotic Agents
    Female
    Follow-Up Studies
    Humans
    Male
    Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
    Psychometrics
    Psychotropic Drugs
    Schizophrenia
    Schizophrenic Psychology
    Severity of Illness Index
    Tetrahydrocannabinol
    Treatment Outcome
    Young Adult

    Pub Type(s)

    Clinical Trial
    Journal Article

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    19440079