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The impact of cannabidiol treatment on resting state functional connectivity, prefrontal metabolite levels and reward processing in recent-onset patients with a psychotic disorder


van Boxel, Ruben; Gangadin, Shiral S; Janssen, Hella; van der Steur, Sanne; van der Vinne, Lucia J C; Dortants, Lon; Pelgrim, Teuntje A D; Draisma, Luc W R; Tuura, Ruth; van der Meer, Pim; Batalla, Albert; Bossong, Matthijs G (2023). The impact of cannabidiol treatment on resting state functional connectivity, prefrontal metabolite levels and reward processing in recent-onset patients with a psychotic disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 163:93-101.

Abstract

The first clinical trials with cannabidiol (CBD) as treatment for psychotic disorders have shown its potential as an effective and well-tolerated antipsychotic agent. However, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the antipsychotic profile of CBD are currently unclear. Here we investigated the impact of 28-day adjunctive CBD or placebo treatment (600 mg daily) on brain function and metabolism in 31 stable recent-onset psychosis patients (<5 years after diagnosis). Before and after treatment, patients underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) session including resting state functional MRI, proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy ($^{1}$H-MRS) and functional MRI during reward processing. Symptomatology and cognitive functioning were also assessed. CBD treatment significantly changed functional connectivity in the default mode network (DMN; time × treatment interaction p = 0.037), with increased connectivity in the CBD (from 0.59 ± 0.39 to 0.80 ± 0.32) and reduced connectivity in the placebo group (from 0.77 ± 0.37 to 0.62 ± 0.33). Although there were no significant treatment effects on prefrontal metabolite concentrations, we showed that decreased positive symptom severity over time was associated with both diminishing glutamate (p = 0.029) and N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA; neuronal integrity marker) levels (p = 0.019) in the CBD, but not the placebo group. CBD treatment did not have an impact on brain activity patterns during reward anticipation and receipt or functional connectivity in executive and salience networks. Our results show that adjunctive CBD treatment of recent-onset psychosis patients induced changes in DMN functional connectivity, but not prefrontal metabolite concentrations or brain activity during reward processing. These findings suggest that DMN connectivity alteration may be involved in the therapeutic effects of CBD.

Abstract

The first clinical trials with cannabidiol (CBD) as treatment for psychotic disorders have shown its potential as an effective and well-tolerated antipsychotic agent. However, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the antipsychotic profile of CBD are currently unclear. Here we investigated the impact of 28-day adjunctive CBD or placebo treatment (600 mg daily) on brain function and metabolism in 31 stable recent-onset psychosis patients (<5 years after diagnosis). Before and after treatment, patients underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) session including resting state functional MRI, proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy ($^{1}$H-MRS) and functional MRI during reward processing. Symptomatology and cognitive functioning were also assessed. CBD treatment significantly changed functional connectivity in the default mode network (DMN; time × treatment interaction p = 0.037), with increased connectivity in the CBD (from 0.59 ± 0.39 to 0.80 ± 0.32) and reduced connectivity in the placebo group (from 0.77 ± 0.37 to 0.62 ± 0.33). Although there were no significant treatment effects on prefrontal metabolite concentrations, we showed that decreased positive symptom severity over time was associated with both diminishing glutamate (p = 0.029) and N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA; neuronal integrity marker) levels (p = 0.019) in the CBD, but not the placebo group. CBD treatment did not have an impact on brain activity patterns during reward anticipation and receipt or functional connectivity in executive and salience networks. Our results show that adjunctive CBD treatment of recent-onset psychosis patients induced changes in DMN functional connectivity, but not prefrontal metabolite concentrations or brain activity during reward processing. These findings suggest that DMN connectivity alteration may be involved in the therapeutic effects of CBD.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Life Sciences > Biological Psychiatry
Language:English
Date:July 2023
Deposited On:24 Jan 2024 14:30
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:37
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0022-3956
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2023.05.019
PubMed ID:37207437
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)