Recent scientific evidence is paving the way for a new method of treating schizophrenia. The latest study in this field analyzed the effects of certain cannabinoids on rats. The study indicated that a cannabis-derived molecule may specifically improve cognitive impairment in schizophrenia cases specifically, and with none of the dangerous side effects associated with current pharmaceutical treatments.
Around 3.5 million people in the United States suffer from schizophrenia now, which equates to roughly 1.1 percent of the total population. Symptoms for this condition are varied and wide-ranging, so much so that they fall into three categories: Positive symptoms describe those that do not appear in healthy folks. Negative symptoms disrupt normal behaviors. Finally, there are cognitive symptoms.
The cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia include difficulty concentrating or paying attention. Sufferers struggle to make rational decisions, and they have problems with both comprehending new information and using it. Current medications effectively treat positive symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations. However, they are not so good at treating cognitive or negative symptoms, such as numbed feelings, lack of interest in social interaction, and an unwillingness to speak.
Even worse, current antipsychotics prescribed for schizophrenia cause an array of debilitating problems themselves, from restlessness to muscle spasms, drowsiness, tremors, and dizziness. Some of the medications less commonly prescribed cause serious metabolic changes, weight gain, high cholesterol, and even increase the risk of developing diabetes.
Because the medications for treating schizophrenia are about as dangerous as the condition itself, and since they are not very effective at treating all symptoms anyway, scientists are looking at whether marijuana can help treat the more challenging symptoms of this condition. Specifically, they are looking at the effects of cannabidiol, or CBD, as a potential therapy.
Published by the journal Nature, this latest study was the result of work done by researchers from Illawarra Health and Medical Institute, or IHMRI, in New South Wales, Australia. If further study proves these scientists correct, then we could see schizophrenia as another qualifying condition for patients to use dispensaries in Santa Monica, or even a weed delivery service.
Discovering the Medical Potential of CBD
We know that CBD can improve memory, learning and attention significantly, which indicates that it could also help manage cognitive issues more effectively than commonly prescribed medications, and with fewer side effects too. Led by Dr. Katrina Green from Australia’s University of Wollongong, the researchers first noted the medical value of CBD when previously reviewing 27 other studies.
According to Dr. Green, “From this review, we found that CBD will not improve learning and memory in healthy brains, but that it may improve aspects of learning and memory in illnesses associated with cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, as well as neurological and neuro-inflammatory disorders.”
About the role of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, Dr. Green said, “Evidence suggests that CBD is neuroprotective and can reduce cognitive impairment associated with use of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis.” Armed with this evidence, PhD candidate Ashleigh Osborne, under Dr. Green, set out to test this observation in rodents.
CBD Improves Social Interaction and Cognition in Rats
Consisting of Dr. Green, Osborne, senior professor Xu-Feng Huang and another PhD student, Ilijana Babic, the team used a prenatal infection model to analyze the effect of intensive CBD therapy on social interaction and cognition. On the 15th day of gestation, they infected pregnant rodents with polyinosinic-polycytidilic acid, used to induce schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders in rats.
Then, they administered 10 milligrams of CBD per kilogram to the male offspring, and they did so for three weeks. The team measured water and food intake, as well as body weight of the offspring every week. They analyzed the rat’s working memory and cognition using the Novel Object Recognition test and rewarded alternation in T-maze tests. They also used the social interaction test to study sociability.
According to Osborne, “We found that CBD was able to restore recognition and working memory, as well as social behavior, to normal levels. These findings are interesting because they suggest that CBD may be able to treat some of the symptoms of schizophrenia that are seemingly resistant to existing medications. In addition, CBD treatment did not alter body weight or food intake, which are common side effects of antipsychotic drug treatment.”
Using Dispensaries in Santa Monica for Schizophrenia Treatment
The research team warned against using marijuana and marijuana-derived products for treating schizophrenia. The reason for this is already widespread knowledge: Strains high in THC actually worsen some of the symptoms of this condition. Although the results of CBD are extremely promising, scientists note that more study is necessary to determine if it has the same therapeutic benefit for people.
The team plans to study neurotransmitter signals within the brain to understand this therapeutic effect better. Until more evidence becomes available, doctors recommend using CBD products, such as CBD oils and other CBD extracts, to treat schizophrenia and avoiding those high in THC. You can order pure CBD via a weed delivery service, or you can find it at any of the dispensaries in Santa Monica.