Cannabis and mental health

First published: 30/03/2019 | Last updated: May 20th, 2019

Dr Paul Morrison

Clinical Senior Lecturer & Consultant Psychiatrist

Paul is a consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley hospital in London and a senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry. He studied medicine and pharmacology in Glasgow and neuroscience in Chicago before coming to London. Paul leads a small team in experimental psychopharmacology which investigates promising new treatments for major mental illness.



Natural cannabis contains over 60 different types of cannabinoid molecule. Delta-9-THC is recognised as a risk factor for the development of psychotic illness, cognitive impairment and is habit-forming. However other plant cannabinoids may have therapeutic properties. The molecule cannabidiol (CBD) appears to have anti-psychotic effects, and is regarded as an anxiolytic. Trials of CBD in psychiatric patients have been ongoing, leading to hope that CBD may translate for clinical use.

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