While cannabidiol (CBD) is already somewhat well known as a treatment for problems like anxiety or PTSD, scientific research is also indicating that CBD might help treat other illnesses. Indeed, research has recently indicated that cannabidiol might be useful as a treatment for schizophrenia and psychosis in general.
What is CBD?
CBD is a chemical compound found in cannabis plants. CBD is classified as a cannabinoid. CBD is just one of many active cannabinoids present in cannabis- the most well-known of which is THC. Importantly, CBD is not responsible for the high people experience when using cannabis. THC is the cause of that high. This does not mean that CBD does not have any effect on the body though. CBD, just like THC, does interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is what makes many people think CBD could be used to help treat schizophrenia and psychosis in general.
How Does CBD Help?
CBD interacts with the body by attaching itself to endocannabinoid system in the brain. CBD then acts as an inhibitor of the receptors (called CB1 and CB2) in the endocannabinoid system, preventing them from firing. It is still not fully clear how acting as an inhibitor of the endocannabinoid system helps as a treatment, but there are some theories. When CBD attaches to CB1 receptors it inhibits the creation of the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which is used to accelerate the decay of a neurotransmitter called anandamide. Some think that by inhibiting the creation of FAAH and thus slowing the decay of anandamide, CBD helps to reduce psychotic symptoms in its users. However, there are still other ways CBD might work to reduce psychotic symptoms that are separate from FAAH inhibition. For example, such ways might be through interactions with GPR55 receptors or5-HT1A receptors.
Although the method through which CBD helps relieve psychotic symptoms is still not fully understood, there is evidence to show that it is an effective tool for some. This is not to say that CBD is a cure for schizophrenia or psychosis in general. Rather, CBD can be used to help alleviate symptoms and make the life of a person suffering from such diseases easier to manage. Other medication can, and most likely will, be needed while a person takes CBD. CBD is more of a supplemental medicine that offers a way to help control symptoms for people struggling to do so.
Why the Source of CBD Matters
Although CBD does seem to be useful as a treatment for schizophrenia, the source of the CBD matters a lot. Since CBD comes from the cannabis plant, many people might think that the best way to get CBD is through marijuana. Although marijuana may be the most well-known type of cannabis plant, other types of cannabis do exist. Hemp is one of those plants. Hemp is a less processed form of marijuana, and it varies from marijuana in two key ways. Hemp doesn’t have nearly as much THC as marijuana, and hemp tends to have much more CBD than marijuana. Hemp is different in these ways because marijuana tends to be bred to have more THC and less CBD than hemp.
These two differences make it very important what cannabis product a person uses to get their CBD. There is some evidence of a correlation between marijuana use and schizophrenia. While more research certainly needs to be done, schizophrenics do have a higher rate of marijuana use than the average population. However, the cause of this correlation is still unclear, and it has not been shown that marijuana directly causes schizophrenia. Moreover, THC has been linked to increases in psychotic episodes. That is to say, those high on THC might experience psychotic episodes while they are high, and those who already suffer from psychotic episodes may also see an increase in their psychotic episodes even after they are no longer intoxicated.
This evidence seems to suggest that those seeking to treat their schizophrenia or to alleviate some of their psychotic symptoms with CBD may want to try to avoid high amounts of THC. This might make hemp a better source of CBD for such individuals because it has such a small level of THC. Indeed, the THC levels in hemp make it nearly impossible to get high off of hemp.
In general, CBD mostly seems to help as a supplement to anti-psychosis medication. The effectiveness of CBD can vary from person to person, but evidence does seem to suggest CBD can help people with managing their symptoms. More research needs to be done by the scientific community as to how effective CBD can be, and how those suffering from schizophrenia or psychotic episodes can best use the compound. However, preliminary research does seem to show that CBD, especially from hemp, might be a useful supplement for those suffering from such conditions.
Learn more about CBD from hemp in a popular article we published HERE.