CBD as treatment for schizophrenia

CBD can help relieve schizophrenic symptoms such as delusional thought and hallucinations. It is particularly affective when the schizophrenia is THC induced as CBD acts as an antagonist meaning it binds to the same receptors as THC preventing the THC from taking effect. The benefits are profound in schizophrenics with cannabis use problems which often lead to a worsening of symptoms. Supplementing with CBD in this instance will increase the users touch with reality. There have been lots of studies to show this, we go into more detail of research studies below.


CBD or cannabidiol is a compound derived from the cannabis plant. The medicinal benefits of cannabis have been utilised for thousands of years. But the evolution of research, particularly in the latter decades have acknowledged the efficacy of CBD based treatment. Mental health is an issue affecting 1 in 10 children and young people. However about 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had the appropriate treatment. 


CBD has been discovered to have a beneficial therapeutic effect in patients with schizophrenia and psychosis. Patients with psychosis have an inability to distinguish the differences between reality and their delusions. THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis can cause psychosis in some rare cases. It’s a well-known fact that CDB ingestion can prevent these psychotic symptoms. 

A further study however has highlighted CBD can oppose the effects of other cases of psychosis (i.e. not just cases caused by THC). In a double-blind trial, (an experimental procedure in which neither the subjects nor the experimenters know which subjects are in the test and control groups during the actual course of the experiments), one set of patients received (1000mg/day of CBD) whereas the other received a placebo. The idea of having a double-blind trial is to ensure the trial is fair and minimize bias. After 6 weeks of treatment, the CBD group were expressing lower levels of positive psychotic symptoms. Patients who received CBD were also showing greater improvements in cognitive performance and overall functioning. Deficits are moderate to severe across several domains, including attention, working memory, verbal learning and memory, and executive functions.

The first-line treatment for schizophrenia works by the antagonism of central dopamine D2 receptors. The patients seem to have a beneficial effect mainly on the positive psychoactive symptoms (hallucinations and delusions). They very rarely have an impact on the negative symptoms (inability to show emotions, apathy, difficulties talking, and withdrawing from social situations and relationships). This sort of functionality is key with regards to social interaction and getting on with daily life. These negative symptoms can very easily lead to conditions such as anxiety and depression which is a huge problem faced when treating mental health. In the UK in 2018, there were 6507 deaths by suicide.

Once again enunciating the gravity of finding ideal mental health treatments. One may argue that compounds whose molecular mechanism of action will differ from those of antipsychotic drugs. And a combination therapy as opposed to monotherapy which includes a dose of CBD. In =a healthy volunteer, when treated with CBD and THC, CBD is shown to be effective in preventing the induction of psychotic symptoms by THC and the detrimental effects of THC on cognitive performance. 

The medical world has proven to have many unwarranted predispositions when prescribing cannabis-related products. The first evidence that CBD might be useful in treating schizophrenia was derived from a report in which it had been shown to improve symptoms in patients who hadn’t responded to haloperidol. Although the mechanism of action by CBD in treating psychosis is still unclear, enough trials have been carried out to unveil a direct correlation between the usage of CBD and the reduction of positive and negative psychotic symptoms. The need for deeper research into the effects of CBD is fundamental into bringing the best possible patient care for patients with psychosis into fruition.

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