CBD oil is a yellow fluid like substance obtained from the marijuana or hemp plant.
CBD lacks the presence of THC and therefore lacks any intoxicating effect. Use of CBD does not result in euphoria or high making it suitable for all age groups.
CBD shows indirect interaction with the endocannabinoid system, its receptors, and chemicals.
It increases the concentration of 2-AG, which in turn stimulates the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors. CBD also interacts with the serotonin receptors, GPR555, TRPV-1 receptor, etc.
These interactions are responsible for its biological properties. It has been shown to provide relief in major disorders such as PTSD, Alzheimer’s, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, seizures, psoriasis, nausea, etc.
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder in which the person’s ability to think, behave and feel undergoes drastic changes.
It is a rare disorder and affects nearly 1 percent of the population. Affected people often lose touch with reality and have other severely disabling symptoms.
Some common symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, reduction in activities like speaking and pleasure, movement and thought disorders, attention issues, inability to show emotions/express, etc.
It usually affects the population between the ages 16-30 but it can affect children as well. Risk factors include genetics, environment, brain chemistry, etc.
There is currently no cure for schizophrenia. Most commonly used medications are anti-psychotics.
Benefits of CBD Oil in Schizophrenia
CBD has been shown to possess anti-psychotic, anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties. It has also been shown to provide relief from cognitive symptoms associated with schizophrenia such as improvement in social interaction, recognition, and working memory.
CBD has no major side effects even in long-term use unlike the pharmaceutical medications available for schizophrenia.
1. CBD has anti-psychotic properties
Psychosis is the term given to the symptoms such as hallucination and delusions, which are commonly observed in the patients with schizophrenia.
People are said to be delusional when they believe in things that are unusual and often false. Hallucinations make people hear or see things, which don’t exist.
It is important to alleviate psychosis and it interferes with the normal life of the patients and often results in alienation.
Endocannabinoid system and endogenous cannabinoids are involved in the neuropathology of psychosis as shown by many studies.
The involvement of this system makes it likely that CBD can be a potential therapeutic agent since it indirectly affects the endocannabinoid system.
CBD has been shown to have neuroprotective properties due to its role in the prevention of neuroinflammation and alteration of the immune response in case of neurological disorders.
It has also been shown to prevent memory impairment associated with meningitis.
Many studies have reported that CBD exhibits potent anti-psychotic properties. A study conducted in rat models compared the anti-psychotic like property of CBD with the drug haloperidol.
CBD resulted in relief from ‘stereotyped behavior’ in a dose-dependent manner.
The dose of CBD, which brought on some effect, was nearly 120-240mg/kg. Even at a higher dose of 480mg/kg, CBD did not result in catalepsy (seizure or trance-like state) in contrast to haloperidol.
Another study in mice showed similar results. In the study, CBD was shown to alleviate hyperlocomotion induced by the drug amphetamine.
Drugs like haloperidol and clozapine are also known to attenuate such hyperlocomotion at high doses but they often result in catalepsy in mice at such doses.
Thus the animal studies (behavioral model) suggested that CBD possesses an atypical antipsychotic drug-like property.
Other imaging studies that analyzed the brain pattern associated with the use of antipsychotic drugs also showed that CBD produces brain patterns, which resemble the anti-psychotic drugs like haloperidol and clozapine.
Therefore it can be concluded that behavioral, as well as neurochemicals studies, suggest that CBD has a profile similar to the atypical antipsychotic drugs.
Safety studies have reported that oral, intravenous or inhalation intake of CBD does not result in side effects or toxicity.
In the perception of binocular depth inversion model used to evaluate the effect of antipsychotic drugs, CBD was capable of alleviating the impairment of perception induced by nabilone. This again suggests that CBD exhibits an antipsychotic-like effect.
Administration of sub-anaesthetic doses of ketamine to healthy volunteer is used to induce psychotic behaviour and it results in both the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia.
Using the ketamine model, a double-blind study was conducted to understand the effect of CBD as an antipsychotic drug.
CBD could successfully attenuate the psychotic effect caused by ketamine administration in the volunteers.
A case study was conducted with a 19 years old female patient with schizophrenia. She reported major side effects on the use of conventional antipsychotic medications.
She was given oral doses of CBD for four weeks (dose up to 1500mg). Her symptoms showed significant improvement in assessment based on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale.
In a double-blind, randomized clinical trial study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, it was reported that the anti-psychotic property of CBD might be due to its impact on the anandamide degradation.
CBD increases the serum concentration of anandamide by inactivating the enzyme that degrades it.
The increase in the level of anandamide was associated with clinical improvement in schizophrenia.
Animal studies have shown that inhibition of anandamide degradation results in attenuation of psychotic behavior in rats (induced by amphetamine and phencyclidine).
A double-blind, randomized trial study concluded that the effect of CBD was comparable to the effect of standard antipsychotic drug amisulpride in terms of improvement of psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Use of CBD was found to result in fewer side effects compared to the use of amisulpride.
CBD is also capable of reversing the psychosis caused by the other component of cannabis i.e. THC. Most human studies with CBD have been observed to use the dose between 200mg-1200mg/day.
Evidence from many imaging, behavioral, animal models, epidemiological and clinical studies have shown that CBD exhibits potent anti-psychotic properties.
This is due to its impact on the endocannabinoid system, immune system, etc. Therefore CBD could be instrumental in alleviating psychosis associated with schizophrenia.
2. CBD could help with the negative symptoms of schizophrenia
Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are the symptoms that describe the lack of certain beneficial behaviors in the patients, which are present in healthy individuals.
This includes the problem with social interaction, working memory and recognition. Attention deficit is also common in these individuals.
A study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology reported that CBD could help in the improvement of recognition, working memory and social interactions in the individuals suffering from schizophrenia.
The study conducted in prenatal infection rat models (schizophrenia-like phenotypes) showed promising results.
It was observed that administration of CBD could help alleviate the cognitive and social interaction deficit. There was a marked improvement in the recognition and working memory of the animals.
The researchers concluded that CBD could be a potential therapeutic agent for the cognitive and social withdrawal symptoms of schizophrenia.
CBD could help in alleviating several negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia such as the problem with working memory, recognition, etc.
3. CBD could alleviate side effects associated with conventional antipsychotics
The conventional antipsychotics prescribed for schizophrenia are associated with many side effects, which can enhance the overall discomfort of the patients.
Common side effects include weight gain, changes in menstrual cycle and sex drive, nausea, seizures, muscle spasms, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc.
Attenuation of these side effects is a good way to allow the patients to feel better overall. CBD can play a role in alleviating many of these side effects as it can prevent nausea, seizures, high cholesterol, muscle spasms, etc.
CBD has been proven to have potent anti-seizure and anti-epileptic properties. Studies conducted in animal models of seizure and epilepsy have shown positive results.
CBD at different doses given to animals could help reduce the severity and lethality of seizures and provide relief from tonic-clonic seizures as well.
Studies comparing the effect of CBD and conventional anti-seizure drugs also reported that CBD could effectively alleviate seizures almost as effectively as the drugs. The combination of CBD and the drug was shown to be a better anti-convulsant.
CBD oil can help inhibit nausea and vomiting in patients. Dopamine D2 and Serotonin 5-HT3 are involved in the mechanism of onset of nausea.
The interaction between CBD and the Serotonin 5-HT3 receptor prevents serotonin from binding the receptor and thus alleviates nausea.
CBD is also involved in the indirect activation of the molecule 5-hydroxytryptamine-1A (5-HT1A), which in turn directly inhibits the feeling of vomiting and nausea.
Anandamide is known to activate the CB-1 receptors and cause an anti-nausea effect. CBD prevents the degradation of anandamide. This allows the prolonged activity of CB-1 receptors and reduces nausea and vomiting.
CBD possesses muscular relaxant properties, which allows it to alleviate muscle spasms. It also relaxes the blood vessels and provides relief from muscle twitch, involuntary movement, etc.
CBD oil is known to combat the issue of high cholesterol. It is a cardio protectant and prevents atherosclerosis caused by bad cholesterol.
CBD oil is also helpful in alleviating the systemic side effects of diabetes such as retinopathy, neuropathy, etc. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agent, which reduces the risk of diabetes.
Conventional antipsychotics are associated with many major side effects such as diabetes, seizures, nausea, muscle spasms, etc.
CBD oil has been found to alleviate many of these owing to its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-emetic, anti-seizure properties among others.
Dosage and Usage
The dose of CBD oil shows a lot of variation depending on the disease, user and strength of the oil itself. A dose of 50-1300mg/day could be suitable for the patients with schizophrenia.
The tinctures are available in different strengths ranging from 100mg to 600mg. It has been reported that up to 1500mg/day CBD can be tolerated in humans but this can result in side effects in the long run.
The most common dose reported by users is 600mg/day. This is the dose used by people suffering from anxiety. People with sleep disorders have reported a dose of 50-200mg/day. It is always recommended that each user find his/her own optimum dose over the course of time.
This can be done by starting out with lowest possible dose such as 100mg/day and then gradually increasing it till the symptoms start to show improvement.
The dose should be increased in a slow manner (after 2-4 weeks) by nearly 25-30mg and the symptoms should be monitored closely.
CBD oil is available in the market in various forms such as liquid, sprays, edibles, cream/gels, e-cigarettes, etc.
The most common way of use is oral (sublingual) method. This method makes use of CBD oil available in dropper bottles.
It is directly dropped in the mouth, held under the tongue for some time and finally swallowed. This allows the oil to get absorbed in the blood through the thin skin of the area under the tongue.
Other popular methods include topical application of CBD infused creams, gels, patches, etc. to the problem area.
Vaping has also been observed in many adults. It allows the CBD to reach the different parts of the body and brain much faster. Edibles such as candy containing CBD is also available and a good choice for younger patients.
An optimum dose taken with care regarding the strength of the tincture should not result in any major side effects.
Some users can experience drowsiness, lightheadedness, etc. right after the intake of CBD. Such users should avoid operating cars and other machinery till the effect wears off.
Long-term use and high dose (1500mg or more) of CBD can also result in dry mouth, faintness, low blood pressure, etc.
Some people might have an allergic response to CBD. Allergic responses are characterized by hives, itching, running nose, red eyes, difficulty breathing, etc. In such cases, the use should be immediately stopped.
CBD has been reported to decrease the activity of liver enzyme system P-450. This system is responsible for the metabolism of various drugs and medications.
As CBD inactivates it, the medications tend to stay for longer in the serum. This can prove to be harmful in some cases.
Common medications with which CBD shows interaction are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anesthetics, antihistamines, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety, anti-depressants, steroids, HIV anti-viral, etc.
Thus people taking any of these medications should consult the doctor before consuming CBD.
It is very important to obtain high quality and pure CBD oil from trusted sources. Cheap and impure oil can carry toxic adulterants, which can cause side effects.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take CBD unless recommended by the doctor.
It is recommended that the users should always seek medical consultation with a doctor before using CBD in order to avoid any side effects arising due to dose, drug interaction, allergies, etc.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder with many physical, mental, emotional and psychological implications.
Although rare it can affect almost any age group and no cure has been found for the disease.
The symptoms are severe and interfere with everyday life in a major way. Management of the symptoms using medications and therapy is the only way to provide some relief to the patients.
Since it is a chronic disease long-term use of medication is required which can have many side effects and therefore a switch to more natural alternatives could be beneficial for the patients.
CBD oil has been shown to exhibit anti-psychotic properties. It has also been shown to alleviate social anxiety and improve social interaction and working memory. This could be beneficial for the patients as they often face the problem with working memory, recognition and social interactions.
Good quality CBD is free of any major side effects. Consultation with a health care provider prior to starting the use of CBD is recommended to prevent any CBD-drug interactions, side effects due to overdose, etc.