Objective: To review the main advances related to the potential therapeutic use of cannabinoid compounds in psychiatry.
Method: A search was performed in the online databases PubMed, ScieELO, and Lilacs for studies and literature reviews concerning therapeutic applications of cannabinoids in psychiatry, especially cannabidiol, rimonabant, Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, and their analogues.
Results: Cannabidiol was found to have therapeutic potential with antipsychotic, anxiolytic, and antidepressant properties, in addition to being effective in other conditions. Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol and its analogues were shown to have anxiolytic effects in the treatment of cannabis dependence and to function as an adjuvant in the treatment of schizophrenia, although additional studies are necessary to support this finding. Rimonabant was effective in the treatment of the subjective and physiological symptoms of cannabis intoxication and functioned as an adjuvant in the treatment of tobacco addiction. The potential to induce adverse reactions such as depression and anxiety restrained the clinical use of this CB(1) antagonist.
Conclusion: Cannabinoids may be of great therapeutic interest to psychiatry; however, further controlled trials are necessary to confirm the existing findings and to establish the safety of such compounds.