Evidence exists showing cannabinoids reducing the symptoms of psychosis. Significantly, in particular, cannabidiol, or CBD. Scientists claim this molecule able to “reset” the brains of those with schizophrenia. There is controversy, however. Heavy pot use increases the risk of psychiatric issues. The condition even has a name: Cannabis-Induced Psychosis, or CIP.
Despite the abundance of evidence suggesting high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, capable of causing paranoia, anxiety, and other symptoms of psychosis, a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows CBD, which is completely non-psychoactive, notably reducing abnormal brain activity associated with it, which includes schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The Evidence So Far
The study’s researchers, from King’s College London, believe that a single dose of CBD could someday replace the antipsychotic drugs used to treat schizophrenia today, ever since the 1950s. Drugs like these, which include Haldol and Thorazine, have very serious and dangerous side effects. They cause lifelong repercussions for those who take them, and their effectiveness is notoriously limited.
“It is clear that the existing drugs have provided a lot of patients with schizophrenia the ability to function in society, but they are not a cure,” said Dr. Igor Grant, director of the University of California at San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research and chair of the psychiatry department at its School of Medicine, in speaking to Healthline. This might explain the growing demand for marijuana in Los Angeles.
Lead researcher of the study, Dr. Sagnik Bhattacharyya, a reader in translational neuroscience and psychiatry at King’s College London. He explained his findings, “Our results have started unraveling the brain mechanisms of a new drug that works in a completely different way to traditional antipsychotics.” This is revolutionary and very exciting for schizophrenic patients desperate for effective treatment.
Of the study, Grant said that it “adds to the growing hunch that CBD may be a useful alternative or adjunct to treating a very difficult to treat the condition.” The American Journal of Psychiatry published a 2017 study from King’s College London. They found participants treated with CBD showing notably fewer psychiatric symptoms than those who were taking the placebo.
The evidence indicates that the CBD-taking participants had a strong likelihood of their physicians agreeing, with improved symptoms extremely noticeable. According to Grant, German scientists were the first to discover the antipsychotic effects of cannabis. Its mechanism of action is unclear, but CBD may well inhibit anandamide-clearing enzymes.
What This Means for Schizophrenics
The latest evidence to emerge compared three groups of participants to each other. One received CBD. Another received a placebo, and the last was just a control group. They did not all have an official psychosis diagnosis, but all of them were experiencing symptoms of psychosis. Treating schizophrenia at such an early stage offers the best chance for successful intervention before symptoms are chronic.
This research team assigned all participants with a memory performance task. One that involves all three areas of the brain known to have an association with psychosis. MRI scans showed the CBD-taking group with lower abnormal brain activity than the placebo-taking group. According to King’s College London, these findings suggest that cannabidiol can help in two ways:
1. CBD Can “Reset” the Brain
Although knowledge of exactly how brain mechanisms work in conditions such as schizophrenia is still under research, Grant claims that the study out of King’s College London indicates clearly that CBD “may normalize the connectors or ‘cross talk’ in regions of the brain associated with schizophrenia.” CBD appears to have an opposing effect to THC, the psychoactive compound suspected of causing psychosis.
According to the 2017 study’s lead author, Philip McGuire, Ph.D., a professor from King’s College London, “Although it is still unclear exactly how CBD works, it acts in a different way to antipsychotic medication and thus could represent a new class of treatment. Moreover, CBD was not associated with significant side effects. This is also potentially important, as patients may be reluctant to take antipsychotic medication because of concerns about side effects.”
2. CBD Potentially Prevents Schizophrenia
Currently, Bhattacharyya and his team are conducting a large-scale study to distinguish if CBD could prevent those with a higher psychosis risk from developing schizophrenia and other mental health conditions. As Bhattacharyya noted, “There is an urgent need for a safe treatment for young people at risk of psychosis.”
As Bhattacharyya explained, “One of the main advantages of cannabidiol is that it is safe and seems to be very well-tolerated, making it in some ways an ideal treatment. If successful, this trial will provide definite proof of cannabidiol’s role as an antipsychotic treatment and pave the way for its use in a clinical setting.” If it can indeed “reset” the brain, it clearly has preventative properties too.
Most states now have liberal laws for medical and recreational marijuana, with some even legalizing both. However, it remains illegal at the federal level. Fortunately, California chose to legalize, so finding marijuana in Los Angeles is as easy as visiting a dispensary or going online. Before ordering marijuana delivery in Los Angeles, it is imperative that you discuss treatment with your doctor beforehand.
CBD can interfere with the efficacy of antipsychotic drugs. You will want to work out a safe dosage for your particular needs. Additionally, be careful of cannabis products high in THC if you suffer from schizophrenia. As wonderful as its “high” might be, THC actually triggers psychosis. Rather choose CBD oil products, such as tinctures, edibles, even low-THC, high-CBD flowers.