Marijuana is the second most used substance in the US after alcohol. Unfortunately, evidence shows that cannabis use during adolescence can trigger symptoms of schizophrenia and psychosis in some people.
THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that gets you high and can cause psychosis for some people. But the cannabis plant has other important compounds such as CBD, which has no psychoactive effects. Research suggests that CBD alone, without THC, might relieve anxiety in people with schizophrenia or psychosis.
So, strangely, cannabis could both trigger and relieve schizophrenia depending on which active ingredients are administered.
Before we probe whether CBD oil is good for schizophrenia, let’s review some facts about this condition.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health condition that affects around 1% of the US population. There is no cure, but schizophrenia can be managed with medication and positive lifestyle choices.
Schizophrenia was first discovered in 1887 and is still not fully understood. A great deal of misconception surrounds this disease. Many people think of people with schizophrenia as struggling with a split personality in a psychiatric hospital.
Schizophrenia is considered a syndrome, which means it can encompass other mental health disorders. Symptoms vary slightly between each person with schizophrenia.
Contrary to popular belief, you might not even realize someone has schizophrenia. Many people who have this mental health disorder are high-functioning and appear to be outwardly normal.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
When a person experiences a schizophrenic or psychotic episode, they struggle to distinguish between reality and their hallucinations.
Psychotic symptoms can include:
- Thought Disorder
Spotting Signs of Schizophrenia
When schizophrenia first starts to develop, it can be hard to identify the signs.
Watch out for these early-onset signals:
- Subtle personality changes
- Irritability ecoming more regular
- Gradual increase of unusual thoughts
Schizophrenia is typically diagnosed after the first psychotic episode. The onset of psychosis typically occurs in males during their late teens and early twenties. For females, psychosis typically occurs later, during the late twenties and early thirties
A psychotic episode can include:
- Disordered speech and behavior
Contrary to popular thinking, people with schizophrenia don’t have multiple personalities. Rather, they have disordered thinking.
Cognitive Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia can impair a person’s ability to remember information, concentrate on tasks, and make decisions.
What Causes Schizophrenia?
There likely isn’t one cause of schizophrenia, but rather a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Studies suggest there is a strong genetic predisposition for schizophrenia. Close relatives of people with schizophrenia tend to display mild traits of the condition.
Environmental factors can also increase the likelihood of developing schizophrenia. For example, some children who catch a virus during infancy may become more at risk in later life.
Abusing certain substances like alcohol or marijuana could also trigger schizophrenia. Someone genetically predisposed to schizophrenia may not display or experience symptoms until they abuse certain substances. Not everyone is the same, though. A person with a low risk of developing schizophrenia may use substances and not be affected
Traditional antipsychotic medications reduce symptoms of psychotic episodes by blocking dopamine receptors in the central nervous system.
The seven main antipsychotic medications that are prescribed for schizophrenia include:
- Risperdal (risperidone)
- Seroquel (quetiapine)
- Zyprexa (olanzapine)
- Ablitify (aripiprazole)
- Geodon (ziprasidone)
- Symbyax (olanzapine/fluoxetine)
- Clozaril (clozapine)
Side Effects of Pharmaceutical Medication
While these medications can help manage psychotic symptoms, they also have some side effects. People who take antipsychotics tend to put on weight, which can lead to other health problems and increase the chance of developing diabetes.
Pronounced drowsiness is another common side effect of antipsychotic medication.
Researchers are currently seeking alternative medications that can address the unmet needs of people with schizophrenia. These symptoms that don’t have adequate treatment include:
- Lack of motivation
- Impaired cognitive ability
There’s also an aggressive search for alternative treatment for the 30% of people who are resistant to current treatments.
Pharmaceutical medication doesn’t necessarily treat the whole body. Medications tend to be prescribed for specific symptoms rather than systems. Unfortunately, the side effects of drugs trigger further health complications.
Evidence for Using CBD to Treat Schizophrenia
After the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a medication containing CBD for treating epilepsy, researchers are looking into how CBD could potentially treat people suffering from psychotic episodes. The hope is that CBD may be able to help people who struggle with cognitive impairment as a result of schizophrenia.
So far, the results of the studies have been inconclusive. Some research has found that CBD could be used to treat psychosis, while others have not found this to be the case.
Although THC is a trigger of psychotic episodes, research suggests that cannabis that is high in CBD and not the psychoactive element THC can help to reduce psychotic symptoms.
A 1995 study by Antonio Zuardi and his colleagues found that the psychotic symptoms experienced by a 19-year-old girl with schizophrenia lessened when she took 1000mg of CBD daily.
The results of another 2006 study were not so convincing. Three patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia were given CBD oil. Only one of the patients had improved symptoms as a result of taking the CBD.
That said, during a different six-week clinical study, schizophrenic patients were given CBD along with their regular medication. The results of the study concluded that those who had received CBD had more improved psychotic symptoms than the placebo group.
What is CBD Oil?
When you remove the psychoactive compound THC from cannabis, you remove its ability to make you high. One of the other compounds in cannabis – cannabidiol or CBD – is almost identical in molecular structure to THC but has no psychoactive properties.
The CBD market has exploded in recent years. Now you can find tinctures, balms, dabbing oils, supplements, and more with CBD. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved CBD when marketed as a nutritional supplement.
The weight of evidence suggests that CBD could be much more than just a nutritional supplement, though.
CBD has been found to have a balancing effect on the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the central nervous system. It keeps processes like sleep, stress, and hunger balanced. When the endocannabinoid system is out of balance, this throws the immune system out of whack, which can trigger illness.
Balance in the Endocannabinoid Sytem
Our physiological systems have to be in homeostasis at all times for us to keep healthy. Homeostasis is a balance of two opposites in these systems.
Each specific physiological system has its balance to maintain:
- The immune system balances inflammation and anti-inflammation
- The nervous system balances inhibition (relaxation) and excitation
- The endocrine system balances hormones that break down tissue and build up tissue
- The oxidation system is continually balancing oxidation and anti-oxidation in the body
This continual process of homeostasis underpins optimal health. The more robust your homeostasis, the stronger your immune system.
So, what does this have to do with schizophrenia?
Interestingly, recent research suggests that schizophrenia might not just be all in the mind. They examined a sample of people who had been recently diagnosed but were not taking medication. All subjects showed that they had overactive immune systems, which suggests that homeostasis and the immune system may play an important role in psychosis.
All subjects showed that they had overactive immune systems, which suggests that homeostasis and the immune system may play an important role in psychosis.
If CBD is effective in achieving homeostasis in the body and the central nervous system, could it also be effective at reducing psychotic symptoms?
Cannabinoids and the Central Nervous System
CBD could help to reduce psychotic symptoms due to its anxiolytic effect on the central nervous system. Cannabis contains over 113 phytocompounds known as cannabinoids – one of which is CBD.
These compounds are very similar to the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Each cell in the central nervous system has a network of small CBD receptors on their surface. When CBD binds to a receptor, it sends a message into the cell.
In that way, CBD creates a cascade of homeostasis throughout the central nervous system and immune system.
Is CBD Oil Good for Schizophrenia?
If you have schizophrenia or psychosis, you must use a CBD product very low in THC levels and high in CBD. This could act to balance your mood.
A very small percentage of the population is at risk of triggering psychosis if they consume any amount of THC. This is a minuscule risk but could occur if you’re genetically predisposed. If you have any family member with a history of schizophrenia or psychosis, you could be more likely to suffer from schizophrenia yourself.
By contrast, CBD has been shown to have antipsychotic properties. Studies suggest that perhaps CBD can help people with schizophrenia to manage their psychotic episodes and treat their condition in the long term.
How to Take CBD for Schizophrenia
If you suffer from schizophrenia and want to try CBD to improve your symptoms, there are several different ways you can take it.
The method you decide to use will depend on your individual preferences and how quickly you want it to work.
Bioavailability is the potency and speed at which CBD takes effect in the body. The higher the bioavailability, the faster-acting relief you will get
Methods such as ingesting edibles have lower bioavailability as you have to wait for the substance to reach your digestive tract and dissolve. Alternately, you can dissolve CBD oil under your tongue sublingually and it will take effect much quicker.
Many people like to smoke bud in a joint or a pipe because it’s the fastest way to get a hit. Be sure to look for a marijuana strain that has high levels of CBD and little to no THC. It should take around 5 to 10 minutes to fully take effect.
However, many people are disinclined to smoke or vape for a variety of reasons, including respiratory health concerns.
A relatively safe and popular way to smoke CBD is dabbing. Dabbing is the process of vaporizing CBD in the chamber of a special pipe. When the smoke accumulates in the chamber, you inhale.
Smoking, vaping, or dabbing CBD is said to generate the most bioavailability out of all the methods.
You can take CBD oil by putting a couple of drops under the tongue, or in the soft tissues of your cheeks.
This method is slightly quicker than swallowing it as it enters the bloodstream from the oral mucosa and will take effect in 10 to 15 minutes.
This is the slowest way to take CBD. Since CBD is fat-soluble, you might want to take it with a high-fat snack like avocado to maximize its bioavailability.
If you ingest CBD in the form of capsules, oil, or edibles, it should take 20 to 60 minutes to take effect.
What Type of CBD-Full Spectrum or CBD Isolate?
If you suffer from schizophrenia, stick with CBD isolate so you don’t risk consuming THC and triggering a psychotic episode.
But for people who aren’t at risk of schizophrenia or psychotic symptoms, full-spectrum CBD oil contains a whole range of healthy compounds including terpenes, myrcene, and limonene. All these compounds create an “entourage effect.” This means the nutrients contained in the oil combine for an extra-potent health effect. With CBD isolate, you miss out on the added health benefits that full-spectrum CBD provides.
If you decide you would rather take advantage of the entourage effect by using full-spectrum CBD, make sure you purchase your CBD oil from a trusted and reputable company that has tested the product and listed the proportions of ingredients on the label.
Lack of Research on CBD and Schizophrenia
While many studies have reported some success of CBD in treating schizophrenia and psychosis, conclusive evidence is severely lacking. This is unsurprising as it’s a relatively new area of research – the endocannabinoid system was only discovered in 1992.
There are currently hundreds of clinical trials registered to study the efficacy of CBD in treating a wide range of ailments. Over time, hopefully it will become clearer how effective CBD is in treating schizophrenia.
Physiological homeostasis in the body is necessary for optimum health. Schizophrenia and psychotic symptoms may be improved by regulating homeostasis, and this can be naturally improved with CBD.
Scientists believe that CBD can be a well-tolerated and safe alternative to the atypical antipsychotic medications that are prescribed.
Until more evidence-based research becomes available, the prospect of CBD as an alternative to typical antipsychotic drugs remains promising but inconclusive.
We’d Love to Hear from You
Do you suffer from schizophrenia or psychosis? Are you taking CBD to treat your symptoms? Is CBD oil good for schizophrenia in your experience? We’d love to hear your perspective.
Research in this area is still thin, so we’d love to know if CBD is working for you and whether you experience any side effects.
If you’re interested in learning more about how CBD oil can improve your health and quality of life, be sure to bookmark our site. We update our content regularly so pop back soon for more handy hints on using CBD.
If you have any comments or queries, reach out and we’ll be delighted to help out.
In Short: FAQ’s related to “Is CBD Oil Good for Schizophrenia?”
Question: What is Schizophrenia?
Answer: Schizophrenia is considered a syndrome. When a person experiences a schizophrenic or psychotic episode, they struggle to distinguish between reality and their hallucinations.
Question: What are the causes of Schizophrenia?
Answer: There likely isn’t one cause of schizophrenia, but rather a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Studies suggest there is a strong genetic predisposition for schizophrenia. Close relatives of people with schizophrenia tend to display mild traits of the condition.
Question: Is CBD oil good for Schizophrenia?
Answer: Although THC is a trigger of psychotic episodes, research suggests that cannabis that is high in CBD and not the psychoactive element THC can help to reduce psychotic symptoms.
If you have schizophrenia or psychosis, you must use a CBD product very low in THC levels and high in CBD. This could act to balance your mood. Always consult a doctor.
Question: How does CBD bioavailability affect what product you should use for schizophrenia?
Answer: Bioavailability is the potency and speed at which CBD takes effect in the body. The higher the bioavailability, the faster-acting relief you will get. Methods such as ingesting edibles have lower bioavailability as you have to wait for the substance to reach your digestive tract and dissolve. Alternately, you can dissolve CBD oil under your tongue sublingually and it will take effect much quicker.
Question: What type of CBD you should use for schizophrenia?
Answer: If you suffer from schizophrenia, it is recommended to stick with CBD isolate so you don’t risk consuming THC and triggering a psychotic episode.