The Relationship Of Cannabidiol and Schizophrenia

The relationship between cannabis usage and psychological conditions have been extensively studied, and according to researchers, a dose-response effect has been reported. Consistent values were seen with ratios of 3.9 for the possibility of developing schizophrenia in heavy cannabis users. 

However, there are promising studies with the use of CBD-rich strains. Experts reported fewer psychotic symptoms when high CBD strains were used. THC leads to acute symptoms similar to psychosis in healthy respondents. Pre-treating with CBD reduces the THC-related psychotic symptoms as well as impaired cognition in volunteers. 

Benefits Of CBD

CBD has potential benefits on cognition, possibly in patients with schizophrenia. Around 75% to 85% of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia have reported improved cognition with CBD. Poor perception usually precedes other signs and symptoms of schizophrenia. When this happens, patients typically don’t respond well to traditional medicinal treatments.  

It was very recently when the effects of cannabidiol on patients with psychosis were highlighted in a study. Two double-blind, randomized trials that used placebo as control were done. Researchers McGuire and his colleagues considered CBD as a potential compound in the treatment of acute psychosis in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia as well as other non-affective mental disorder. 

Respondents of the study took 1000 mg of CBD daily in two divided doses. Others received placebo alongside their prescribed antipsychotic medications for a period of six weeks. Results showed that respondents who medicated with CBD showed improved positive psychotic signs and symptoms during the treatment. This improvement in the CBD group was measured using the PANSS positive score, and their results were 3.2. Meanwhile, the placebo group scored a mere 1.7.

After the treatment, a large number of patients in the CBD group improved their conditions. This ranked higher on the CGI-I scale as opposed to the placebo group, with only fewer respondents reported that they had experienced improved conditions. 

Aside from these positive results, patients that used CBD have exhibited improvement in their cognitive functioning. They also reported a significant increase in the speed of movement compared to user controls. 

Boggs and his team studied the therapeutic effects of using 600 mg of adjunct CBD in two equal doses compared to using a placebo. This was a six-week double-blind study using placebo as a control in patients with schizophrenia. At this dose, there were no significant differences when CBD and placebo on the respondents’ cognitive abilities and psychotic symptoms. 

How CBD Works

How CBD does treats schizophrenia symptoms is still a mystery for researchers. Compared to other drugs developed for psychosis, CBD has no effect on dopaminergic neurons. Unlike THC, CBD does not connect to cannabinoid receptors. 

CBD increases the amount of anandamide, an endocannabinoid ligand. It acts by stopping the degrading enzyme and amide hydrolase. Anandamide levels are not related to the intensity of psychotic conditions but increased anandamide levels in patients diagnosed with psychosis that have received CBD as treatment are directly related to improvement. 

These findings may recommend that CBD be considered as a treatment of psychosis because it can increase the endogenous amounts of anandamide. Researchers agreed that further studies should be done to confirm these findings. 

Effectiveness Of Current Schizophrenia Treatments  

Current medical treatments for schizophrenia are partially effective, which is true for positive symptoms. Because of this, researchers look for new pharmacological focus, and the ECS is promising. Over the past years, there is increasing evidence that point out abnormalities in the endocannabinoid system in patients with schizophrenia. 

However, recent studies on the therapeutic effects of cannabidiol are inconclusive, and the mechanism of treatment of CBD remains poorly understood. The inconsistencies in clinical results may be due to the different doses of the compound, the stage of the patient’s psychosis or the non-uniformity of the mental condition as well