Cannabidiol for the treatment of psychosis among patients with schizophrenia and other primary psychotic disorders: A systematic review with a risk of bias assessment

Psychiatry Res. 2020 Feb 21:286:112890. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.112890. Online ahead of print.


Current treatments for primary psychotic disorders include antipsychotics, some of which have significant side effects or suboptimal efficacy. Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid with potential antipsychotic properties. This systematic review examines the use of cannabidiol as an antipsychotic treatment for primary psychotic disorders. CINAHL, EBM, EMBASE, MEDLINE and PubMed databases were searched from 1970 to 2019 for experimental and observational studies evaluating the antipsychotic and cognitive modulation properties of cannabidiol in individuals with psychotic disorders. There were eight eligible studies evaluating the antipsychotic potential of cannabidiol, involving a total of 210 participants. Due to study heterogeneity, we present the extracted data on general psychopathology, positive and negative symptoms, cognition and functioning outcomes as a narrative synthesis. We found limited evidence supporting antipsychotic efficacy for cannabidiol and none supporting its benefits for cognition or functioning. Cannabidiol treatment had an advantageous side effect profile compared to other antipsychotics and was well tolerated across studies. Observational studies had a higher risk of bias than experimental studies. Factors potentially contributing to variability in outcome results included cannabidiol dosage, treatment duration, use as an adjunctive treatment and participant inclusion criteria, which warrant further investigation to determine whether cannabidiol can be effective as a treatment for psychosis.

Keywords: Cannabinoid; Cannabis; Experimental; Reviews.

Publication types

  • Review