Targeting the Endocannabinoid System in Borderline Personality Disorder.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a chronic debilitating psychiatric disorder characterized mainly by emotional instability, chaotic interpersonal relationships, cognitive disturbance (e.g. dissociation and suicidal thoughts) and maladaptive behaviors. BPD has a high rate of comorbidity with other mental disorders and high burden on society. In this review, we focus on two compromised brain regions in BPD – the hypothalamus and the corticolimbic system, emphasizing the involvement and potential contribution of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to improvement in symptoms and coping. The hypothalamus-regulated endocrine axes (hypothalamic pituitary – gonadal, thyroid & adrenal) have been found to be dysregulated in BPD. There is also substantial evidence for limbic system structural and functional changes in BPD, especially in amygdala and hippocampus, including cortical regions within the corticolimbic system. Extensive expression of CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS has been found in limbic regions and the hypothalamus. This opens new windows of opportunity for treatment with cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) as no other pharmacological treatment has shown long-lasting improvement in the BPD population to date. This review aims to show the potential role of the ECS in BPD patients through their most affected brain regions, the hypothalamus and the corticolimbic system. The literature reviewed does not allow for general indications of treatment with CBD in BPD. However, there is enough knowledge to indicate a treatment ratio of high level of CBD to low level of THC. A randomized controlled trial investigating the efficacy of cannabinoid based treatments in BPD is warranted.
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