Using CBD for Schizophrenia

About CBD, Conditions

CBD for Schizophrenia

Imagine living a “normal” life for twenty years. One that doesn’t include delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations, or panic attacks. And then suddenly, everything changes. Maybe over the course of a year. Maybe over the course of a month, or even overnight. This is the experience of many people dealing with schizophrenia. Today we’re going to talk about CBD for schizophrenia.

CBD for Schizophrenia at a glance

What the claims are: CBD can help relieve the symptoms and complications of schizophrenia, including psychotic episodes, hallucinations, heightened anxiety, and depression. If taken in conjunction with other antipsychotic medications, CBD can also help mitigate some of their potential side effects.

What the studies show: Several studies and one clinical trial indicated that CBD may be used successfully to treat schizophrenia. However, one smaller study suggested it was not effective in cases of treatment-resistant schizophrenia.

What the facts say: More research is required to determine how CBD for schizophrenia works over the long term. That said, many early studies, anecdotal evidence, and media reports, suggest that adopting a CBD regimen can be beneficial for those suffering from schizophrenia. This can be accomplished by addressing many of the symptoms as well as some of the potential co-existing conditions and complications of this disease.

What Exactly Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia perceive reality abnormally. Symptoms of this disorder usually don’t present until a person’s late teens or early twenties, but in rare cases, they can present in childhood.

One of the most difficult things about this disorder is that, oftentimes, people suffering from schizophrenia are unaware that their difficulties are caused by a mental disorder and that they have to get help. Because of that belief and the potential for paranoia inherent in this condition, family members and friends might find it difficult to convince their loved one to seek the medical attention they need.

There is no known cure for schizophrenia but early treatment may help get symptoms under control before serious complications develop. Those symptoms can vary, but they typically reflect an impaired ability to function. They often include:

  • Delusions, or false beliefs that are not based in reality
  • Hallucinations, or hearing or seeing things that don’t exist
  • Disorganized thinking resulting in ineffective speech or communication
  • Disorganized or abnormal motor behavior
  • Lack of ability to function normally (this can manifest in many ways, including neglect of personal hygiene, loss of interest in everyday activities, or social withdrawal)
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
CBD for Schizophrenia

The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown, but researchers believe that genetics, brain chemistry, and environment are contributing factors. Neuroimaging photographs show distinct differences in the brain structure and central nervous systems of people living with schizophrenia, categorizing it as a brain disease.

How Can CBD Be Used to Help with Schizophrenia?

CBD for schizophrenia can be a potential help in several ways. First and foremost, it may work as a potential antipsychotic. Antipsychotics help regulate brain functions that control thinking, mood, and perception. This can greatly alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia, potentially allowing those suffering from this disease to lead a full and happy life.

Schizophrenia can cause many other complications, such as depression, isolation, self-harm, suicidal thoughts or attempts, anxiety disorders, OCD, inability to work, alcohol or drug abuse, legal and financial trouble, and even homelessness. CBD has also been shown to help with a number of these as well, including anxiety and depression. Addressing those concerns can have a ripple effect and help offset other issues, like social isolation or inability to work.

Medical Studies Related to CBD for Schizophrenia

The authors of one study noted, “Behavioural and neurochemical models suggest that CBD has a pharmacological profile similar to that of atypical anti-psychotic drugs.” This means that CBD may work similarly to drugs already being used to treat schizophrenia.

One recent study reports that CBD can be a safe, well-tolerated alternative treatment for schizophrenia. However, another small study showed that, in cases of treatment-resistant schizophrenia, CBD may not be effective.

In a 2012 clinical trial to evaluate CBD in comparison to amisulpride, a potent antipsychotic, both treatments led to significant clinical improvement. However, CBD displayed a markedly superior side effect profile and was also accompanied by a significant increase in serum anandamide levels (which are significantly associated with clinical improvement).   

The results suggested that inhibition of anandamide deactivation may contribute to the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol, potentially representing a completely new mechanism in the treatment of schizophrenia.

CBD for Schizophrenia

Because of the stigma often associated with cannabis and its compounds, studies were hard to come by in the past. As the medical community sees the potential of CBD, more and more studies are being conducted, and we can’t wait to see the results!

What Are the Risks of Using CBD for Schizophrenia?

CBD is known to be well-tolerated by people who take it, and it comes with very few potential side effects. Especially in comparison to some of those that can present with antipsychotics often used to treat schizophrenia, which can include weight gain, sexual problems, drowsiness, dizziness, restlessness, constipation, and nausea.

Because of the nefarious nature of this disease, it’s important to remember that, to date, there is no known cure for schizophrenia. CBD isn’t a panacea. Constant vigilance and contact with medical professionals is highly recommended because it can be very easy for this disorder to convince those suffering from it that they’re cured. So, while CBD for schizophrenia alone can be a huge help in managing symptoms, a broader spectrum of care might be necessary to get the most optimal results.

It’s also important to note that, while anecdotal evidence seems largely positive, some find CBD for schizophrenia doesn’t alleviate their symptoms at all. That said, while under a doctor’s care, and potentially in conjunction with other treatments, CBD can be a great weapon in the arsenal against this condition.

If you’re currently taking any prescription medications to treat schizophrenia, you should check with your pharmacist to ensure that CBD won’t interact with any of them in a negative way.

Should I Give CBD for Schizophrenia a Try?

To date, CBD has shown it can be a real game-changer for those with schizophrenia, and many are finding it can alleviate their symptoms greatly. Due to the seriousness of this disease and the potential for suicidal and self-harming thoughts, it’s crucial that you work with your healthcare provider to determine if CBD is a solid option for you.

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Last modified: June 20, 2019