If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with schizophrenia you know how serious and debilitating it can be. It can make every day feel like a struggle and significantly impact overall quality of life. Unfortunately, many of today’s treatments largely focus on managing symptoms and at times might not be effective. However, over the past few years, the use of CBD oil as a potential treatment for a range of mental disorders including schizophrenia as well as some of its more serious symptoms like psychosis has gained attention.
Let’s break down some of what has been uncovered and why there is hope that CBD might help those struggling with this disorder find relief.
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that affects the way the brain functions and how people perceive reality. It can interfere with a person’s ability to think clearly, make rational decisions or even manage emotions. Although schizophrenia disorder might not be as prevalent as some other mental disorders it can be one of the most severe and debilitating.
This serious disorder has also been associated with a number of health and social issues. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), those dealing with schizophrenia are 2-3 times more likely to die earlier. Unfortunately, the causes of schizophrenia are not yet fully understood but many believe a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and brain chemistry all play a role in the development of the disorder.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia and Psychosis
While the symptoms of schizophrenia can vary depending on the individual, generally they fall into three categories:
- Psychotic Symptoms – symptoms of hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorders all fall under this category.
Psychotic symptoms or ‘psychosis’ is one of the symptoms more commonly associated with schizophrenia disorder. Because psychosis makes you believe or experience things that aren’t actually happening it can change the way a person thinks, acts, or feels. It’s also important to note that while psychosis is often associated with schizophrenia, there are other mental disorders and factors that can cause it.
- Negative Symptoms – common examples of negative symptoms can include things like a loss of motivation, difficulty experiencing pleasure or expressing emotions, low energy, or withdrawing socially.
- Cognitive Symptoms – cognitive symptoms can range from mild to more severe but might include experiencing a lack of focus or concentration, problems processing and using information, or finding it difficult to remember things. People suffering from cognitive symptoms might even have difficulty recognizing they are experiencing these issues.
Can CBD Be An Alternative to Antipsychotics?
While there are treatments available to help deal with some of the symptoms of schizophrenia disorder there is a growing need for better therapeutic options. Antipsychotics often used to treat schizophrenia can be ineffective for some people and insufficiently addresses all of the symptoms, according to data from a 2019 study. Additionally, many of these treatment methods present their own unwanted side effects. This has resulted in researchers, clinicians as well as families of those dealing with schizophrenia to search for other alternatives to help deal with this debilitating disorder.
Many believe that CBD might be able to fill the void and act as another tool in the arsenal to help those struggling with schizophrenia and its symptoms. Moreover, due to how it works with the body’s endocannabinoid system there is hope that CBD might even emerge as an alternative to antipsychotics.
Relationship Between CBD, THC and Psychosis
CBD and THC have an interesting yet contradictory relationship. Although, THC can work to enhance the effects and benefits of CBD (also referred to as the entourage effect), when taken together CBD actually works to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. This helps explain why CBD maintains the benefits of THC but without the side effects like ‘getting high’ often found in marijuana use.
While cannabis use has been associated with psychotic episodes (especially at a younger age) this is largely due to the levels of THC, however, because CBD works to counteract the psychoactive properties of THC there is hope that it could be used to help treat psychosis.
The idea that CBD might have antipsychotic properties is not new. A study from the 80s which explored the interaction between CBD and THC provided the first evidence of its potential. They found that CBD reduced anxiety as well as psychotic symptoms commonly associated with THC. The ability of CBD to counteract the psychoactive side effects of THC was later supported through a 2010 study.
That said, while CBD by law should only contain trace amounts of CBD (up to 0.3% in full spectrum products) if you are concerned about its effects; Broad Spectrum CBD can be a great option. Broad Spectrum CBD contains no THC while still offering many of the benefits of other types of CBD.
CBD Trials For Psychosis and Schizophrenia
There have been a number of studies that have built on what was found in the above research and uncovered much more on the antipsychotic properties of CBD and its therapeutic potential as a treatment for schizophrenia; especially as it relates to psychosis. Here are a few examples:
- In one 2018 clinical trial, researchers attempted to discover the neurocognitive mechanisms that may be behind CBD’s therapeutic effects for psychosis. They found that CBD might normalize alterations in parahippocampal, striatal, and midbrain function (three brain functions related to psychosis) and could underlie its therapeutic effects on psychotic symptoms.
- Another 2019 study concluded that cannabidiol represents a promising potential treatment for psychosis. They also found some evidence that CBD might be particularly effective in the early stages of the disorder.
- According to one study which investigated the role of cannabidiol content “using high cannabidiol content cannabis was associated with significantly lower degrees of psychotic symptoms providing further support for the antipsychotic potential of cannabidiol”.
- Lower levels of anandamide have been associated with psychotic symptoms. However, CBD has been known to inhibit the breaking down of anandamide in the body. One study published in Translational Psychology explored this relationship by comparing CBD to amisulpride, (a type of potent antipsychotic) in people with acute schizophrenia. They found that while both were effective, CBD presented fewer potential side effects. They also concluded that the increased levels of anandamide from the CBD Treatment was significantly associated with the improvement in patients and may play a role in the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol.
- Another controlled trial published in The American Journal of Psychology explored the efficacy and safety of CBD in treating schizophrenia. They found that after 6 weeks of treatment, the participants who were given CBD experienced fewer psychotic symptoms and an improvement in cognitive functioning compared to the group given a placebo.
In addition to the potential of CBD to help deal with schizophrenia and psychosis, there is also strong evidence that it might help with other symptoms commonly associated with this disorder such as anxiety and stress, depression and mood disorders, and inability to focus, among others.
Experts are still unsure as to the exact mechanism behind the antipsychotic properties of CBD, however, there is evidence of its potential and more is being uncovered every day. It is important to note however that many studies analyzed CBD as more of an adjunct treatment for schizophrenia and more research is needed into utilizing it on its own.
Getting Started with CBD For Schizophrenia
If you believe you or someone you know might have schizophrenia it is crucial that you speak to a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and to discuss treatment options. As with any supplement, it’s also a good idea to check with them before adding CBD into your treatment regimen; especially if you are already on or plan to be taking medication.
Remember, not all CBD is the same so it’s important to educate yourself on what to look for in a product and brand. Only buy CBD oil from a trusted brand that backs up their claims and the quality of their products with lab testing and a certificate of analysis (COA). And make sure you read the label beforehand.
Once your doctor approves and you are ready to get started with CBD, we have a wide selection of premium products to choose from depending on your preference. If you prefer CBD without any THC, we highly suggest checking out our collection of Broad Spectrum CBD Products.
And now when you subscribe to Easy Day we’ll text you a 20% discount off our CBD oils and products; so you can start experiencing the benefits for yourself and have your own Easy Day.