CBD Oil & Schizophrenia – Does it Help Treat Symptoms?

Studies on CBD and Schizophrenia

CBD Oil & Schizophrenia – Does it Help Treat Symptoms?

Cannabis has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Although, for the past hundred or so years, it’s use has been restricted due to a prohibition. Nowadays with legalization, more and more states and countries are relaxing their laws which restrict their usage. As cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) loses their stigma, people are becoming interested in their physical and mental benefits.

Due to this growing interest in cannabis as a potential natural remedy for a whole host of conditions, scientists have begun studying it with a new fervor that is bringing to light many potential uses. As of now, there has been some solid evidence which points towards cannabis being effective in treating conditions such as neuropathic pain, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. In all cases, it was found that cannabis or CBD were both more effective in providing relief of the symptoms associated with these disorder than placebo. Admittedly, larger, and more thorough randomized clinical trials need to be done.

As awareness grows of CBD’s health benefits and medicinal uses, and the drive toward legalization of cannabis increases, their use as a possible effective treatment for psychiatric conditions is becoming a priority among researchers.

There are over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis, with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being most prominent. It is the main psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant and is what is responsible for providing the euphoric feelings cannabis is known for.

As more and more studies are done on THC, signs that it can further exacerbate mental illnesses are beginning to show. Research is showing that THC may not only put one at an increased risk of psychosis but also that it can increase symptoms of depression as well as a variety of other psychiatric conditions.

CBD, a different cannabinoid found in cannabis than THC, is showing promise as an effective treatment for some of these mental illnesses, including schizophrenia. CBD is not associated with intoxication or euphoria, and may even be beneficial in lowering the risk of psychosis. Not only that, but it also has shown promise as an effective means of reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and many other conditions.

Schizophrenia Explained

Schizophrenia is a term which refers to a group of mental conditions where the afflicted’s mental function is impaired in such a way that they lose touch with what is real. In the United States alone, over 7.5 million adults suffer from this condition. Signs of schizophrenia usually show in the early 20s in men, with it taking a little longer to show in women.

Schizophrenia is a complicated syndrome with a slew of symptoms categorized as either negative, positive, or cognitive. Psychosis is not the only symptom, with suffers also commonly dealing with positive symptoms such as hallucinations, garbled speech, and delusional thoughts. Traditional pharmaceutical treatments used in the treatment of schizophrenia referred to as antipsychotics, attempt to treat these symptoms.

Traditional antipsychotic medications do a decent job of treating the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. Unfortunately, they do very little to treat their’ negative symptoms. Negative symptoms of schizophrenia include issues feeling joy or pleasure, little to no drive to engage socially with others, and an overall flat state of emotions. These medications do little to mitigate the cognitive deficits that also come along with this condition. Patients are left with impaired memory, problem-solving abilities, and attention spans.

CBD’s Potential Therapeutic Benefits Defined

CBD has shown promise at positively affecting the learning abilities, memory capacities, and attention spans of its users. This leads researchers to believe that it might be an effective means of treating the cognitive and negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia. It has little to no negative side effects when compared to traditional antipsychotic treatments.

When researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia took a look at 27 studies done on CBD, they found real therapeutic value in CBD.

Researchers found that CBD showed promise in improving the learning abilities and memory capacities in those who had cognitive impairment due to mental illness. Some of these illnesses include Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, as well as other neuro-inflammatory and neurological disorders.

The evidence points to CBD being especially neuroprotective. It may have the ability to reduce cognitive impairment in those diagnosed with such disorders.

How Does CBD Benefit Schizophrenic Patients?

Due to CBD’s potential ability to reduce the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, it is being strongly considered as a treatment for schizophrenia. CBD has been found to have antipsychotic abilities, though its greatest use-case is in stopping psychosis brought on as the result of THC use.

The results are mixed when it comes to CBD’s efficacy in treating schizophrenia’s symptoms. A large study concluded that CBD could be an effective means of mitigating psychotic symptoms. In another report though, it was thought that CBD was unable to improve symptoms in patients who were not responding to more traditional antipsychotic medications and treatments.

Where the usual treatments for schizophrenia and psychosis often result in negative side effects, CBD has shown little in the way of negative effects. Patients tolerate it well. A common side effect of antipsychotic medications is increased appetite and weight gain, where CBD caused neither.


Considerable research is being done on CBD’s potential as an effective schizophrenia treatment. Two great examples of studies showing CBD’s promise follow:

1. A study done at the University of Cologne in Germany, led by Markus Leweke, observed 39 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia who had been hospitalized due to a psychotic episode. Nineteen of these patients were given an antipsychotic medication called amisulpride, while the rest were administered CBD.

During the course of this study, neither the scientists nor the patients were aware of who was given CBD or amisulpride. At the conclusion of the four-week clinical trial, both groups of patients showed a great deal of improvements in their symptoms of schizophrenia. No difference was observed between either grouping of patients!

2. In another randomised and double-blind clinical trial, CBD was looked at as a potential supplement to traditional antipsychotic treatments. Over the course of this 6-week study, 88 participants were given either a placebo medication or 1,000mg of CBD daily. These were to be taken alongside their normal antipsychotic medications and treatments.

Patients were assessed both at the beginning and the end of the study. The severity of their psychotic symptoms was measured using both the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms and the Postive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Using the Global Assessment of Functioning scale, the impact of their diagnosed illnesses on their daily lives was measured. Using the Clinical Global Impressions Scale, improvements in symptoms were tracked. Using the Brief Assessment of Cognitive in Schizophrenia, the cognitive function of patients was determined. Also tracked were the patients BMI, cholesterol levels, weights, waist measurements as well as adverse events, to determine CBD ’s ability to be tolerated and safely used.

It was found that CBD offered a small but noticeable benefit to those showing positive psychotic symptoms. It was able to reduce the severity of the patient’s illnesses when used as an adjunct treatment to their pre-existing antipsychotic treatment. Improvements to patients’ cognition and the impacts their illnesses had on their daily lives were also apparent, though only to a small statistical degree. Relief of the negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia was not noticed.

The results of this study suggest that CBD has the potential to be used as an effective antipsychotic treatment for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia when used alongside more traditional antipsychotic medications. CBD’s effects on this disorder are relatively small though, and relief of only its’ positive symptoms are noticed.

Potential For Clinical Use

These studies show that CBD may be effective in improving the positive psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia, and may offer up an improved sense of well-being. These are only some of the first clinical trials done on sufferers of schizophrenia. The potential beneficial effects on patients have been modest at best, with some trials failing to show any effects at all.

CBD may be an effective supplemental treatment for schizophrenia. These studies are a way of setting the groundwork for future studies on CBD potential benefits for those suffering from this mental illness. It is important that larger and better controlled clinical trials are done before CBD is recommended for use in clinical practice.

Wrapping Up

CBD is showing promise as an effective treatment for some of the more difficult to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and psychosis. At this time, it doesn’t appear to be a complete alternative to traditional antipsychotic treatments and medications. When taken alongside these it may offer an improved course of treatment.

CBD is proving to be a truly amazing compound, offering users a whole host of beneficial effects. As the stigma surrounding cannabis and CBD’ss use is reduced, it is likely that more discoveries will be brought to light which paint this amazing substance in a positive light.

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