Cannabinoids and their therapeutic applications in mental disorders

Maria Scherma, Anna Lisa Muntoni, Gernot Riedel, Walter Fratta, Paola Fadda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Mental disorders represent a significant public health burden worldwide due to their high prevalence, chronically disabling nature, and substantial impact on quality of life. Despite growing knowledge of the pathological mechanisms that underlie the development of these disorders, a high percentage of patients do not respond to first-line clinical treatments; thus, there is a strong need for alternative therapeutic approaches. During the past half-century, after the identification of the endocannabinoid system and its role in multiple physiological processes, both natural and synthetic cannabinoids have attracted considerable interest as putative medications in pathological conditions such as, but not exclusive to, mental disorders. Here, we provide a summary of cannabinoid effects in support of possible therapeutic applications for major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia. Considering this evidence, highlighted benefits and risks of cannabinoid use in the management of these illnesses require further experimental study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-279
Number of pages9
JournalDialogues in Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

Open Access via PubMed
This work was supported in part by funds from the Department of Biomedical Sciences Project (RICDIP_2012_Fratta_01), University of Cagliari. The authors declare no conflict of interest.


  • Anxiety
  • Cannabinoid
  • Cannabis
  • Depression
  • Mental disorders
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Psychosis


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