The best cbd oil for psychosis

CBD and Schizophrenia

The use of cannabis in the market is high on the rise due to its therapeutic and recreational properties. Hemp plants have hundreds of cannabinoids chemicals, some of which result in toxic, medicinal, and psychoactive effects. The most talked-about chemicals are CBD and THC.

Best CBD for Schizophrenia in 2022

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While THC results in psychoactive effects, CBD produces relaxation and pain relief. Hemp-derived oil is available in different medical counters for dozens of neurological issues. Currently, it is used to treat schizophrenia and its related symptoms. To know the connection between schizophrenia and marijuana, read on.

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that does not let people interpret reality. The disorder is associated with various symptoms including, delusions, intense disordered thinking, hallucinations, and more. Sometimes, patients become unable to perform daily functions or lead a routine lifestyle. Unfortunately, people suffering from this disease require lifelong treatment. Some symptoms can be controlled if treated early. Or, this can lead to serious complications and long-term suffering.

What’re the symptoms?

Many don’t know that this mental disorder comes with an array of problems, including behavior, cognitive, and dealing with emotions. Though signs and symptoms vary from one individual to another, some are quite common. These are:

  • Delusions – Patients suffering from schizophrenia tend to rely on false facts, which have no connection to reality. For instance, they may think that they will be harassed or harmed or they have extraordinary talents, or there’s a disaster going to occur soon. Delusions are common and reported in the maximum of the cases.
  • Hallucinations – Again, these are false beliefs, which involves hearing or seeing things far from reality. A schizophrenic patient cannot differentiate between a false image and reality. In hallucinations, hearing voices is the most common one.
  • Confused thinking and speech – Jumbled thinking comes from disorganized speech. Most of the time, communication is affected, and patients may fail to answer properly to many questions. Sometimes, patients combine lots of words and make a word salad that can’t be understood.
  • Abnormal motor behavior – This can range from sudden agitation to childlike stupidity. They can’t focus on a goal, and hence can’t perform any task. Abnormal motor functions include doing bizarre postures, not listening to instructions, lack of response, unnecessary movements, and more.
  • Negative indicators – Here, sufferers can’t function normally. For instance, a schizophrenic patient may neglect his/her personal hygiene. He or she may not show any kind of emotions, may not change facial expression, or make eye contact. Additionally, he or she may lose interest in communicating with people and doing regular chores.

With time, symptoms become severe and worsen. Even if there’s a stage of remission, some symptoms always stay. In men, you can encounter the signs in between early to mid-20s, whereas, in women, symptoms are visible in the late 20s.

Can children be affected?

The symptoms in teenagers are the same in adults, but they are difficult to diagnose. Early signs of schizophrenia in teens include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms;
  • No interest in talking to friends and family;
  • Lack of sleep;
  • Bad performance in school;
  • Depressed or irritated mood;
  • Lack of motivation;
  • Delusions and visual hallucinations.

What is CBD and how it works?

CBD is cannabidiol, derived from hemp plants. It can be sourced from marijuana plants as well as industrially grown hemp plants, but it is safe to consume the latter for recreational and medical purposes. Cannabidiol has been investigated to have antidepressant and neuroactive properties, which trigger the cannabinoid receptors of our body. It acts on releasing the serotonin from the brain as that plays a major role in fluctuating mood and developing depression.

CBD’s impact on these mood stabilizer receptors increases the level of serotonin and stimulates the brain to act accordingly. Smoking marijuana for schizophrenia has reduced the risk of psychosis in individuals. Studies revealed that patients have shown positive improvements in their cognitive ability, behavioral pattern, and speech on consuming CBD oil. There has been a noticeable change in other psychotic signs as well.

For more information, you can read our reviews.

CBD and schizophrenia – The connection

Antipsychotic drugs work on the brain by releasing certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, and acetylcholine. As per studies, the release of excess dopamine leads to psychotic symptoms. However, antipsychotic medications get attached to dopamine reactors, minimizing their production.

A current study investigated cannabis effects on individuals who are vulnerable to getting psychosis. It is stated that people have shown increased brain activity after receiving CBD. This concluded that CBD for schizophrenia could normalize adjustment to brain areas partially, which is linked to psychosis development. Our reviews will further give you an insight into this.

Is cannabis a new treatment?

The effects of CBD oil for schizophrenia show similar results on patients consuming antipsychotic drugs. Improvements are found in cognitive and behavioral ability. Most of them have stabilized mood, appear happy and relaxed, reduced irritation, and improved physical functioning.

However, the effects are limited to certain symptoms and not all can be controlled. Moreover, marijuana schizophrenia treatment was induced on patients who were already on antipsychotic medications. Further research will be done on CBD’s standalone effect on psychosis and other related symptoms.

Looking to purchase a weed product? Check our top 10 product list.

Can schizophrenia lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior?

Schizophrenia sufferers tend to have suicidal thoughts and actions. If you’ve encountered a schizophrenic patient who is vulnerable to self-harm or attempting suicide, make sure that someone stays with him/her always. Keep some local emergency numbers handy in the case of any mishap.

Can CBD ease suicidal thoughts and depression?

Cannabis treatment for schizophrenia can ease suicidal thoughts and depressions according to research. Suicidal act evolves from traumatic experience or encounters. Hallucinations and delusions can lead to dangerous thoughts in the mind, leading to killing oneself.

Cannabis contains antipsychotic properties, which calms the nerves, significantly reducing depressing ideas. When CBD oil is consumed daily, patients show greater brain activity and lively mood, eradicating desperate reactions. Go through our reviews as more light has been shed on this.

Types of CBD you can use for schizophrenia

If you’ve got a schizophrenic patient in your house, purchase weed products with no presence of THC. CBD terms can be confusing and you may get jumbled on seeing the label. Here’s what you should look for before buying a CBD product:

  • Full-spectrum – This category of cannabis oil comes from the whole hemp plant, containing cannabinoids and traces of THC (not more than 0.3%). Though THC is negligible, it shouldn’t be given to a schizophrenic patient.
  • Broad-spectrum – This category of CBD doesn’t have THC and can be given to patients suffering from psychosis.
  • Pure CBD – This means you get 100% of marijuana extracts, but sometimes, they are sold in medical outlets with THC concentration. It’s better to skip this one.
  • Hempseed oil – You will find no traces of CBD in hempseed oil as these are sourced from hemp seed. To get away from legal troubles, many sellers sell CBD under the guise of hempseed oil.

If you’re wondering where to find the best CBD oil for schizophrenia, check our top 10 product list.

How much to take?

If marijuana is taken to improve mental health, do consult a medical practitioner. Always go for a high-quality version of cannabis for schizophrenia treatment and stick to the prescribed dosage. The amount varies from one patient to another depending on how worsening the stage is. Patients may be suggested to begin 15mg of CBD oil once or twice a day. This CBD dosage for schizophrenia may increase up to 600 or 1000mg daily.

More choices available

How safe is CBD?

Cannabis can cause side effects to some people like dizziness, irritability, nausea, dry mouth, diarrhea, and more. On consuming daily, you can severely affect your liver. Take a look at our top 10 product list and purchase safe CBD oil for medicinal purposes.

Does it interact with other drugs?

CBD oil and schizophrenia can co-exist well only if it doesn’t mingle with other medicines. According to a study, there are almost 60 drugs that interact with weeds. Therefore, one has to be extra cautious if they take medicines for heart ailments, blood thinners, and other drugs that adversely affect your immune system. Talk to a doctor before switching to CBD adjunctive treatment for schizophrenia.

Conclusion

CBD plays a significant role in schizophrenic patients. When used in the right amount, it triggers the cells in the brain and alters how the receptors respond. Cannabis comprises a host of curative and healing properties, which helps neurological disorders. However, schizophrenic patients shouldn’t take weed products containing THC or even mild traces.

If you still have any doubts regarding the effects of marijuana for schizophrenia, talk to a specialist. To get more knowledge about the same, go through our reviews.

CBD for Schizophrenia: Can Hemp Oil Help with Schizoaffective Disorder?

Although cannabis has got a bad rap when it comes to psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, the latest research findings indicate that the plant has been largely misunderstood. Studies suggest CBD may actually offset the development of schizophrenia and curb the episodes of psychosis. Better yet, it appears that the other major cannabinoid, THC, may not necessarily trigger the condition — at least not as a direct cause.

Today we’ll focus on the potential CBD treatment for schizophrenia. We’ll cover the recent studies on this subject, explain the mechanism of action, and debunk a few myths about cannabis and mental health.

Using CBD for Schizophrenia: Does It Make Sense?

Cannabis is a complex plant with 115 identified cannabinoids. Depending on the chemotype, cannabis strains may be THC-dominant and CBD-dominant.

Marijuana is known for significant amounts of THC, while hemp boasts higher concentrations of CBD and only traces of the intoxicating cannabinoid.

There are also terpenes, which influence the effect profile of each strain.

The majority of CBD oils available for sale are made from hemp, so their effects revolve around the benefits of CBD supported by other compounds in the plan. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests CBD may relieve anxiety, inflammation and pain, sleep disturbances, and balance mood.

The FDA has recently approved the first cannabis plant-derived medication, Epidiolex. It contains pure CBD and is recommended for treatment-resistant seizures. However, doctors may prescribe Epidiolex off-label for other conditions, such as schizophrenia.

What to Know About CBD and Schizophrenia?

There is a clear link between cannabis use and psychosis, as noted by epidemiological studies. However, a higher risk of schizophrenia has been associated with strains that have high THC content, and studies have notoriously mentioned a dose-response relationship for the risk of schizophrenia in cannabis users. This isn’t the case for high-CBD strains.

THC produces acute psychotic-like symptoms in healthy individuals after a certain dosage threshold is breached — but CBD decreases the THC-induced psychosis and cognitive impairment.

Patients with schizophrenia suffer from cognitive deficits — they affect up to 85% of the sufferers, so the potential positive effects of CBD on cognition have critical importance.

Below we shed more light on how CBD may help with schizophrenia.

Antipsychotic Properties of CBD

A case study published by Zuardi and colleagues found that CBD may successfully treat schizophrenia. The authors tested a dose of CBD up to 1500 mg daily for 4 weeks, which improved the acute psychotic symptoms (1).

Findings from a 2006 study that analyzed the efficacy of CBD as monotherapy for treatment-resistant schizophrenia in three individuals show that only one patient responded positively to the treatment, but the dosage might’ve been inadequate (2). A later study on the benefits of CBD for schizophrenia tested flexible doses up to 400 mg daily on 6 patients with Parkinson’s disease, finding improvement of psychotic symptoms in all participants over the course of 4 weeks.

Since then, CBD has been investigated for its antipsychotic properties in three clinical studies with contradictory results.

For example, a 2012 double-blind randomized controlled trial on the therapeutic effects of CBD showed that the cannabinoid was as effective as amisulpride, a common antipsychotic drug, in treating the symptoms of schizophrenia. On top of that, CBD had fewer side effects; it caused no weight gain and resulted in less extrapyramidal symptoms (4).

CBD was also tested as an adjunctive medication in the treatment of acute psychosis in people with schizophrenia and non-affective psychotic disorders. After 6 weeks of taking 1000 mg of CBD daily, the CBD group showed greater improvement of positive psychotic symptoms compared to the placebo group. At the end of their therapy, more patients in the CBD group were evaluated as “improved” on the CGI-I scale compared with the controls. Patients who took CBD also showed trend-level improvements in their cognitive performance and motor speed (5).

A similar 2018 study investigated the therapeutic effects of 600 mg CBD daily — divided into two doses — in comparison with placebo in a 6-week double-blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial. However, the lower dose didn’t have a significant impact on the psychotic symptoms and cognitive performance of the participants compared to the placebo group (6).

How Does CBD Work for Schizophrenia?

Despite being supported by several epidemiological and clinical studies, the mechanism of action behind the antipsychotic properties of CBD remains unknown. Unlike other antipsychotics, CBD doesn’t directly affect dopaminergic neurons. It also doesn’t bind to cannabinoid receptors like THC.

However, CBD does indirectly increase the CSF levels of anandamide, one of the main endocannabinoids, by blocking its metabolizing enzyme, fatty acid amine hydrolase (FAAH). Interestingly, anandamide levels show a negative correlation with the severity of psychotic symptoms, whereas increased levels of anandamide have been found to improve them clinically after a CBD treatment.

This may hint to CBD as the potential mediator in the management of psychosis through the aforementioned boost of the endogenous levels of anandamide. However, further research is needed to confirm this theory.

Over the past few decades, medical researchers have been exploring the endocannabinoid system as the potential therapeutic target for mental disorders (7). The current pharmacological treatment for schizophrenia is only partially effective and doesn’t tackle the negative symptoms. This has led scientists to search for new pharmacological targets — and the findings from the ECS studies are very promising.

However, there’s a discrepancy in clinical results regarding CBD’s efficacy in treating schizophrenia and psychotic episodes. They could stem from different doses of CBD, stages of psychosis, and heterogeneity of the condition.

Risk and Side Effects: Can CBD Cause Psychosis?

There’s currently no evidence that CBD can cause psychosis. In order to do that, the cannabinoid would have to induce intoxication, elevating anxiety, and paranoia in the dose-response pattern. CBD has been repeatedly shown to reduce anxiety, help with the symptoms of PTSD, addiction, and improve people’s response to stress. CBD has a balancing effect on the nervous system, reducing the hyperactivity and increasing the hypoactivity of neurotransmitters when needed.

CBD is a safe substance. Studies have tested doses as high as 1,500 mg daily without dangerous side effects. That being said, there are a few mild reactions you may experience when you take too much CBD at a time:

  • Dizziness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue

There’s also a risk of CBD-drug interactions, so make sure to consult your doctor prior to buying CBD oil if you want to avoid them.

The relationship between cannabis use and schizophrenia refers to how THC affects the brain.

But are you sure you have been taught the truth? Let’s take a brief look at the effects of THC on people predisposed to schizophrenia.

Does THC Cause Schizophrenia?

THC is an anti-inflammatory compound with antidepressant-like properties. In low and moderate doses, it also has a relaxing effect on top of inducing an altered state of mind, such as euphoric mood, giggles, and tranquility. However, doses of THC that score higher than your tolerance may aggravate anxiety and trigger bouts of paranoia, especially in those who are sensitive.

Studies conducted in the past have shown a correlation between cannabis use and a faster onset of schizophrenia in people with a family history of the condition. However, the conclusion might have been too hasty, as the latest research shows.

A study performed by Harvard University has analyzed all contributing factors besides cannabis use, pointing to the hereditary burden as the main trigger of schizophrenia in cannabis users. According to the research team, cannabis can only spur the onset of schizophrenia, but it’s not a trigger per se.

In other words, if a person is predestined to have schizophrenia, they will develop it sooner or later.

According to Dr. Musa Sami, a researcher and psychiatrist from King’s College in London increased cannabis use would need to positively correlate with the severity of psychosis, which hasn’t been proven by any study to this day.

Finally, Italian scientists from the University of Calgary have recently tested whether cannabis use will further harm the brain structure of rats that were prenatally exposed to an inflammatory agent that disrupts dopamine signaling and causes behavioral symptoms of schizophrenia. To their surprise, exposure to THC during adolescence seemed to protect the rats’ brains. The authors of the study hypothesized that THC’s anti-inflammatory effects were responsible for offsetting schizophrenia (8).

How Much CBD to Take for Schizophrenia?

The studies we’ve covered above have tested how pure CBD affects the mental health of the participants. However, most people use full-spectrum CBD products, where CBD is only one of over 400 compounds. These compounds influence the way CBD affects the body and brain, so doses may vary between people. Whole-plant extracts require a lower dose than CBD isolates, for which most studies have used a daily dose of 600 to 1,000 milligrams.

If you’re using a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oil, it’s best to start with a low dose, say, 15 mg once or twice a day with food. If you don’t feel a difference in your symptoms after one week, increase by 10–15 mg and reassess the effects. Once you’ve found your optimal dosage, you can stick to it — there’s no risk of increasing your tolerance to CBD over time.

Do Your Research Before Buying CBD for Schizophrenia

The CBD market is regulated due to the current classification of hemp-derived products. As health supplements, CBD extracts aren’t subject to any standardization when it comes to quality and labeling. Although the market has positively evolved over the years, there are still many fly-by-night vendors churning out poor quality products with less CBD than advertised. Some of them may contain more than 0.3% THC; others may be contaminated with pesticides, solvent residue, and other impurities.

For this reason, you should always check how the company grows, tests, and processes its CBD products.

The best source of CBD is organically grown hemp. Hemp plants are dynamic bio accumulators, so they easily absorb everything from the environment they grow in. Organic farming ensures that you only get the good substances in the source material.

Another important factor on your checklist should be the extraction method. Premium-quality CBD oils are extracted using pressurized CO2; this method produces pure extracts with consistent potency throughout the batches. It doesn’t use additional heat or solvents, so you’re getting a product with a complete cannabinoid profile.

Last but not least, look for certificates of analysis or COA. This shows that each batch is tested by a third-party laboratory. Independent laboratories analyze the potency of the product and look for common contaminants, such as heavy metals, pesticides, or solvent residue.

Summarizing the use of CBD for Schizophrenia

CBD can be used to manage schizophrenia thanks to its therapeutic effects on psychotic symptoms. It may also have a role in preventing or treating cannabis-induced psychosis in vulnerable individuals who consume high-THC strains.

High CBD content may positively affect our mental health — not only by curbing psychosis but also by reducing anxiety and improving the body’s response to stress. Studies investigating the efficacy of CBD in mental disorders have found that the cannabinoid has a calming effect on the nervous system but without the dangerous side effects of commonly prescribed antipsychotic medications.

Clinical trials on CBD and schizophrenia have brought mixed results, most likely due to the discrepancy in dosages. If you’re considering taking CBD oil to improve the symptoms of your condition, make sure to consult a holistic psychiatrist who will have a good understanding of CBD and cannabis in general. Doing so will help you determine the effective dosage and avoid negative CBD-drug interactions.

Literature:

  1. Zuardi, A W et al. “Antipsychotic effect of cannabidiol.” The Journal of clinical psychiatry vol. 56,10 (1995): 485-6.
  2. Zuardi, Antonio Waldo et al. “Cannabidiol monotherapy for treatment-resistant schizophrenia.” Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England) vol. 20,5 (2006): 683-6. doi:10.1177/0269881106060967
  3. Zuardi, Antonio Waldo et al. Op. Cit.
  4. Leweke, F M et al. “Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia.” Translational psychiatry vol. 2,3 e94. 20 Mar. 2012, doi:10.1038/tp.2012.15
  5. McGuire, Philip et al. “Cannabidiol (CBD) as an Adjunctive Therapy in Schizophrenia: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.” The American journal of psychiatry vol. 175,3 (2018): 225-231. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.17030325
  6. Boggs, Douglas L et al. “The effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on cognition and symptoms in outpatients with chronic schizophrenia a randomized placebo-controlled trial.” Psychopharmacology vol. 235,7 (2018): 1923-1932. doi:10.1007/s00213-018-4885-9
  7. Leweke, F Markus et al. “Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Pathophysiology of Schizophrenia: Implications for Pharmacological Intervention.” CNS drugs vol. 32,7 (2018): 605-619. doi:10.1007/s40263-018-0539-z
  8. Lecca, Salvatore et al. “Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol During Adolescence Attenuates Disruption of Dopamine Function Induced in Rats by Maternal Immune Activation.” Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience vol. 13 202. 6 Sep. 2019, doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00202
Livvy Ashton

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

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CBD for Schizophrenia: Helpful or Harmful?

If you have schizophrenia, or have a friend or family member with the condition, you know how much it can impact a person’s quality of life. There is a stigma around schizophrenia. And the truth is, we need better therapies to help people with the condition manage their symptoms and regain their lives.

Researchers have proposed that CBD, also known as cannabidiol, may be useful in managing the symptoms of schizophrenia. That proposition has led many to consider whether a person with schizophrenia can use CBD for their condition and, if so, where to find the best CBD products on the market that are high quality and safe to use. But before we get to that, we want to get a few facts straight.

Table of Contents

  • CBD for Schizophrenia: Just the Facts
  • Understanding Cannabis and CBD: Marijuana vs. Hemp
  • What is Schizophrenia?
    • Positive Symptoms Include:
    • Negative Symptoms Include:
    • Cognitive Symptoms Include:
    • Movement Disorders
    • Weight Gain
    • Animal Studies
    • Human Studies
    • Increasing Anandamide
    • Serotonin Receptors
    • PPARγ and Glycine Receptors

    CBD for Schizophrenia: Just the Facts

    Schizophrenia is a serious mental health disorder that causes a mix of what they call “positive symptoms” and “negative symptoms” like hallucinations and flat affect (more on that in a little bit). Antipsychotic medications are the primary treatment approach; however, they cause weight gain and other side effects and do not address negative symptoms at all.

    Emerging research has found that CBD can reduce both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia for some people, and it can do so with very few side effects. More research is needed, but the outlook is good for using CBD for schizophrenia in the future.

    Understanding Cannabis and CBD: Marijuana vs. Hemp

    It has been documented that smoking cannabis can cause psychotic symptoms in healthy people. And repeated cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia for some people. So how could the same plant that may increase the risk of developing psychotic symptoms and schizophrenia also be a possible therapy for schizophrenia?

    The answer to this question requires us to take a more in-depth look at the cannabis plant itself.

    First, it’s crucial to understand that the word “cannabis” actually describes a family of plants. This means there are different plants within this plant family. Two of these strains are the marijuana plant and the industrial hemp plant. Although they come from the same family, there are critical differences between the two plants—and those differences impact their effects on the brain and body. CBD oil, which is used in CBD products, is not derived from the marijuana plant; it’s extracted from the industrial hemp plant.

    This brings us to our second point—the plants’ composition. Cannabis plants contain hundreds of different active compounds known as phytocannabinoids. Two of these active compounds are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

    THC is the psychoactive component that’s found in high amounts in the marijuana plant, and it’s the feature of the plant that’s responsible for creating psychotic symptoms in some people. The industrial hemp plant contains only trace amounts of THC, and it’s high in CBD—which does not have any psychoactive effects.

    CBD products are purified and must contain less than 0.3% THC to be sold in the United States. This amount of THC will not cause a person to feel “high,” nor does it increase the risk of developing schizophrenia or psychotic symptoms. Side effects of CBD are generally very mild and may include fatigue, diarrhea, and nausea.

    What is Schizophrenia?

    Schizophrenia is a serious mental health disorder that affects the way a person thinks, behaves, and perceives the world. Some people with schizophrenia act as though they are living in a different reality than the one everyone else is.

    Although every person experiences a combination of different symptoms with different severity levels, there are three general sets of symptoms: positive, negative, and cognitive.

    Positive Symptoms Include:

    • Audio and/or visual hallucinations (such as hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there)
    • Delusions (false beliefs such as having direct contact with God)
    • Abnormal, typically agitated, body movements
    • Abnormal thinking patterns

    Negative Symptoms Include:

    • Difficulty moving or engaging in activities (sometimes called catatonia)
    • A flat affect (seeming to be emotionally dulled)
    • Depressed mood
    • Limited speaking

    Cognitive Symptoms Include:

    • Difficulty paying attention or focusing
    • Not being able to use information right after learning it
    • Poor ability to use information they’ve learned to make decisions

    People with schizophrenia may have other symptoms such as anxiety, difficulty forming relationships, and trouble keeping a job due to the impact of their thoughts and behaviors. Some may also suffer from memory issues or a decreased ability to learn and make decisions.

    Danielle from Ohio describes her experience of schizophrenia like this:

    “Maintaining friendships can be very complicated, and romantic relationships even harder. Since I’m quite emotionally detached, maintaining a romantic relationship with someone who doesn’t quite understand me can be hard. They tend to think I don’t care enough about them, when I just have a hard time showing that affection. I don’t talk much, and when I do I tend to be very repetitive with my words; I keep to myself, so others may become distant because of that. I’m very detached from others around me, even my own family. Most of my family will hug or nudge each other around playfully — they have this sort of physical connection with each other. I do not. I don’t really hug my family. I don’t even touch them; I just don’t feel that connection.”

    Danielle from Ohio

    What Causes Schizophrenia?

    The short answer is: No one really knows. Some believe that there can be genetic links as well as environmental factors like viruses, malnutrition, or family dynamic issues. As previously mentioned, repeated exposure to THC found in marijuana is also associated with the onset of schizophrenia in some people.

    Conventional Approach to Schizophrenia

    The main medications used in schizophrenia are classified as antipsychotics. These medications work by reducing the amount of dopamine in the brain. Too much dopamine is thought to cause psychotic symptoms.

    The downside to these medications is their severe side effects, which include movement disorders and weight gain.

    Movement Disorders

    These drugs are known to cause a condition called tardive dyskinesia (TD). TD causes uncontrollable twitching of the face and body, which often does not go away even if the medication is stopped!

    Weight Gain

    The majority of people on antipsychotics experience weight gain as well as higher blood sugar and blood pressure. These side effects can be detrimental to other areas of health, such as cardiovascular health and self-esteem.

    Other side effects include constipation, sexual dysfunction, dry mouth, blurred vision, and restlessness.

    Unfortunately, antipsychotic medications are not effective for negative symptoms. Without addressing these symptoms, a person may still suffer from issues with relationships, mood, and holding down a job.

    Novel approaches to schizophrenia are needed, and the high incidence of side effects such as weight gain and movement disorders calls for more effective therapies with fewer side effects.

    What We Know About CBD for Schizophrenia

    Unlike THC, which is known to cause psychotic symptoms in some people, CBD can protect against psychotic symptoms that are induced by THC. Researchers found that giving study participants CBD before they used cannabis containing THC reduced the number of psychotic symptoms that were experienced.

    Scientists have begun to study how CBD affects schizophrenia in both animal and human studies.

    What the Research Says About CBD for Schizophrenia

    Animal Studies

    Although schizophrenic symptoms are challenging to study in animals, researchers have looked at various aspects of mental health symptoms that are seen in schizophrenia.

    Animal studies have found that CBD can often help reduce abnormal social behavior as well as anxiety, both of which are seen often in schizophrenia patients.

    Human Studies

    There have been a few human studies on the use of CBD for schizophrenia—some of which were very recent and are still being peer-reviewed before they can be published.

    A double-blind, randomized clinical trial of CBD in acute schizophrenia found that it was just as effective as a traditional antipsychotic in reducing both positive and negative schizophrenic symptoms, but did not cause the numerous adverse side effects that the antipsychotic medication did.

    This study also found that CBD increased the amount of anandamide (also known as the “bliss molecule”) in the participants. Scientists believe that CBD’s effect on anandamide is how it reduces psychotic symptoms.

    How Can CBD Help with Schizophrenia?

    We are still not entirely sure how CBD affects psychotic symptoms; however, it is likely due to different mechanisms than traditional antipsychotic drugs.

    Most antipsychotic medications are geared at reducing dopamine levels, as high levels of dopamine have been associated with hallucinations and other psychotic symptoms seen in schizophrenia. However, CBD does not seem to affect dopamine levels.

    Increasing Anandamide

    There are a few theories on how CBD may help with schizophrenia. The first is that CBD inhibits the breakdown of anandamide. Researchers have found that people with both bipolar and schizophrenia have lower levels of this molecule in their spinal fluid. They also found that the levels correlate with the likelihood of developing a mental health disorder, including schizophrenia.

    Serotonin Receptors

    Another theory is that CBD stimulates 5-HTP receptors, which are typically mediated by serotonin. Some researchers believe that stimulating these receptors may help with the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Many antidepressant drugs target serotonin.

    PPARγ and Glycine Receptors

    A third theory is that CBD affects PPARγ receptors and glycine receptors, which decrease inflammation and therefore, the disruption of critical neurological processes. Inflammation can cause changes in how the brain functions and communicates. This theory suggests that by reducing inflammation, CBD helps normalize brain functionality.

    In summary, researchers are beginning to understand the different ways CBD may affect the brain, but they are still in the discovery phase.

    A Summary of What the Research Says

    There have been a few human studies on CBD for schizophrenia, and more are underway.

    Clinical studies have found that CBD can reduce both positive and negative schizophrenic symptoms for some people with very few side effects.

    Animal studies have found that CBD can decrease anxiety and abnormal social behavior.

    Theories on how CBD may work to help manage schizophrenia symptoms for some people include: increasing anandamide, stimulating 5-HTP receptors, and decreasing inflammation through PPARγ and glycine receptors.

    Final Thoughts on Using CBD for Schizophrenia

    Research studies have been successful in reducing schizophrenic symptoms in many participants, and what’s more, CBD has far fewer side effects than traditional antipsychotic medications. CBD may very well have a place in managing schizophrenic symptoms; however, researchers still have their work cut out for them to uncover the exact mechanism of how CBD works for schizophrenia and how to best utilize it.

    Keep in mind that schizophrenia is a serious health condition, and any and all changes to medications and supplements should only be made by a licensed healthcare professional. If you are interested in trying CBD for schizophrenia, talk with your doctor first.

    And if you get the go ahead, you can then look at the wide variety of CBD products, from vaping oils to gummy bears or capsules, to find what may work best for you.