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Cannabidiol versus risperidone for treatment of recent-onset psychosis with comorbid cannabis use: study protocol for a randomized controlled clinical trial

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BACKGROUND: Cannabis use is an important risk factor for development of psychosis and further transition to schizophrenia. The prevalence of patients with psychosis and comorbid cannabis use (dual diagnosis) is rising with no approved specialized pharmacological treatment option. Cannabidiol, a constituent of the Cannabis sativa plant, has potential both as an antipsychotic and as a cannabis substituting agent. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of cannabidiol versus a first-choice second-generation antipsychotic (risperidone) in patients with early psychosis and comorbid cannabis use.

METHODS: The study is a phase II randomized, double-blinded, parallel-group, active-comparator clinical trial. We plan to include 130 patients aged between 18 and 64 years with a recent diagnosis of psychosis, comorbid cannabis use, and currently not treated with antipsychotics. The participants will be randomized to seven weeks of treatment with either cannabidiol 600 mg (300 mg BID) or risperidone 4 mg (2 mg BID). Participants will undergo clinical assessment after 1, 3, 5 and 7 weeks, telephone assessment the weeks in between, and a safety visit two weeks after end of treatment. The primary outcomes are cessation of cannabis use (self-reported) and psychotic symptom severity. The secondary outcomes include frequency and quantity of cannabis use, global illness severity, psychosocial functioning, subjective well-being, cognition, sleep, circadian rhythmicity, and metabolomics.

DISCUSSION: The results of this trial can potentially contribute with a new treatment paradigm for patients suffering from dual diagnosis.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov , NCT04105231 , registered April 23rd, 2021.

Original languageEnglish
Article number404
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Volume21
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
ISSN1471-244X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Adolescent, Adult, Antipsychotic Agents/therapeutic use, Cannabidiol/therapeutic use, Cannabis, Humans, Middle Aged, Psychotic Disorders/complications, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Risperidone/therapeutic use, Young Adult

ID: 68506532