Rationale: Preliminary evidence suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may be effective in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders; however, CBD has never been evaluated for the treatment of cognitive impairments associated with schizophrenia (CIAS).
Objective: This study compared the cognitive, symptomatic, and side effects of CBD versus placebo in a clinical trial.
Methods: This study was a 6-week, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group, fixed-dose study of oral CBD (600 mg/day) or placebo augmentation in 36 stable antipsychotic-treated patients diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia. All subjects completed the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) at baseline and at end of 6 weeks of treatment. Psychotic symptoms were assessed using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) at baseline and biweekly.
Results: There was no main effect of time or drug on MCCB Composite score, but a significant drug × time effect was observed (p = 0.02). Post hoc analyses revealed that only placebo-treated subjects improved over time (p = 0.03). There was a significant decrease in PANSS Total scores over time (p < 0. 0001) but there was no significant drug × time interaction (p = 0.18). Side effects were similar between CBD and placebo, with the one exception being sedation, which was more prevalent in the CBD group.
Conclusions: At the dose studied, CBD augmentation was not associated with an improvement in MCCB or PANSS scores in stable antipsychotic-treated outpatients with schizophrenia. Overall, CBD was well tolerated with no worsening of mood, suicidality, or movement side effects.
Trial registration: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00588731.
Keywords: Attention; CBD; Cannabidiol; Cannabinoids; Cognition; Memory; Psychosis; Schizophrenia.