Schizophrenia is one of the severe mental disorders that profoundly affects one’s life. It involves the way people live, their emotions, and their thinking. Thus, about 1.1% of the world’s population and about more than 3.5 million Americans suffer from this condition. People who have this condition feel helpless and powerless, and don’t even know what to do. The common symptoms that appear are hallucinations. Hence, they might hear voices or feel something that only they could notice. Aside from that, they might also suffer other signs like being delusional. Delusions are which they believed false beliefs or suspicions.
There are already medications and remedies for this condition. Medical practitioners and doctors are already acting to fight Schizophrenia. Thus, studies confirm how to deal with this condition and found another helpful remedy as well. One promising treatment to help patients alleviate their condition is taking CBD or Cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is 1 of 100 compounds from the marijuana plant or hemp plant. It is a non-psychoactive plant that is potentially beneficial to mental disorders like Psychosis and its other types. Hence one of the common types of Psychosis is Schizophrenia. Before we go further with CBD for Schizophrenia, let’s start with the basics. We will first understand what Schizophrenia is, its symptoms, effects, and risk factors are.
Relapsing Episodes of Psychosis
It is a severe and serious mental health disorder that can affect the way someone thinks, acts, and feels. Those with Schizophrenia cannot tell apart, which is real or what is imaginary. The significant symptoms of this condition include delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thinking. Other symptoms may also include a lack of motivation, social withdrawal, and a decrease in emotional expressions. Although not frequent, like the other types of mental disorders, the symptoms of Schizophrenia can be very disabling. It comes gradually and usually starts in young adulthood stage. Between 16 and 30 years old, and in some cases, it can also affect children.
There are three categories the symptoms fall into, and here are the following:
Positive symptoms – these are psychotic behaviors that are unseen in a healthy individual. Those individuals with positive symptoms have “less touch” in some aspects of reality. It may include the following:
- Movement disorder
- Thought disorder
Negative symptoms are linked to the disruption of normal behaviors and emotions. Symptoms may include:
- Flat effects or the reduced expression of emotions by the use of voice tone or facial expression
- Reduce speaking
- Difficulty in participating in activities
- Reduce of pleasure feeling in everyday life
Cognitive symptoms are subtle, but for other patients, it can be severe and will notice the changes in their memory. It can also disrupt the different aspects of their thinking; symptoms include:
- Poor executive functioning
- Problems with working memory
- Trouble on paying attention or focusing
How Does Schizophrenia Develop?
Schizophrenia’s cause of why it exists is still unknown based on doctors and experts. Studies suggest that it might be a combination of genetic, psychological, environmental, and physical factors. Thus, in which these factors are responsible for an individual to likely develop this disorder. Aside from that, one can acquire Schizophrenia from family genes. Hence, not a single gene is responsible for this condition. But, it can be most vulnerable if those individuals have different gene combinations as the study says. However, not necessarily if those people have this type of gene pattern may develop Schizophrenia.
Based on Studies
Studies conducted in identical twins with the same genes and evidently, Schizophrenia is partly inherited. If 1 of the twin develops the condition, there are possibilities that others with 1 in 2 chances to develop the condition. On the other hand, studies conducted as well in non-identical twins with different genetics. Its developing chances are 1 to 8.
There is a study that those who suffer this condition show subtle differences in their brain structures. Hence, it concluded that brain development might as well causes Schizophrenia. The changes don’t see in everyone with the condition and may happen to those individuals without mental illness. However, the suggestion says that the condition is partly a disorder in the mental state.
Schizophrenia: Brain Development
Brain development may be a factor in developing Schizophrenia. It is because of drugs that connect Schizophrenia and the neurotransmitters. The reason is that it can alter the levels of brain chemicals. Studies also show that the cause is through the neurotransmitter levels that change. Thus, it includes the serotonin and dopamine levels. It even indicates. It also shows that the imbalance of serotonin and dopamine may be the basis of the condition. Also, the sensitivity change in the body to the neurotransmitters is part of developing Schizophrenia.
Certain drugs may be responsible for developing the condition. There is a study that the misuse of drugs can increase the risk of developing Schizophrenia. Certain drugs may include LSD, amphetamines, cocaine, and cannabis may trigger the condition. The use of cocaine or amphetamines can contribute to having Psychosis. It can also cause relapse to those individuals that are recovering from the earlier episodes. Studies show that teenagers who use cannabis daily are more likely to tend to develop Schizophrenia in their adulthood.
Other factors can trigger the development of the condition. It includes stressful life events such as:
- Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
- End of a relationship
- Losing loved ones, home, or job.
These types of stressful events don’t cause the condition. However, it can trigger the development of those individuals that are already vulnerable to the condition.
Types of Schizophrenia
There are four main types of Schizophrenia. The condition may look different from a person to another one. However, it falls to categories that include:
Schizophrenia with paranoia – this is characterized by positive symptoms of the condition. It is the most common form of the condition and may develop that other types of Schizophrenia. Paranoid Schizophrenia includes symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations — however, not emotions and speech.
This type is a mental illness in which an individual has symptoms of Schizophrenia. It can be classified into a type; hence, if the symptoms are not specific enough to meet the definition of different types of the condition. It may include catatonic, disorganized, and Paranoid Schizophrenia.
This type is one of the rarest subtypes of Schizophrenia. Its characterization is by sudden, unusual, and limited movements. Those with this condition may often switch between being active or still. They may also talk less and may copy or mimic other actions and speech.
Its characterization is primarily by the symptoms of the condition. It may include delusions and hallucinations with symptoms of a mood disorder such as depression and mania. Both men and women may experience this, but men mostly develop this in their early stages.
There are also other subtypes of Schizophrenia, it includes:
Patients can be diagnosed if they have a history of Psychosis. However, they may only experience adverse symptoms. It may consist of poor memory and hygiene, slow movement, and lack of concentration.
This type is called as the disorganized Schizophrenia. This type of Schizophrenia can develop when patients are 15 to 25 years old. They often show less facial expressions, manners, voice tone. They may also have an inappropriate emotional response in situations; it includes laughing or sometimes sad.
Patients with this condition may experience different sensations on their bodies.
The symptoms may meet the conditions of the diagnosis. However, it doesn’t fit any of the categories above.
Cannabidiol As Antipsychotic Treatment
Even though CBD thought to have a lack of pharmacological effects, some studies prove that it can help Psychosis. A study in both human volunteers and animals shows that CBD can reduce the symptoms of drug-induced Psychosis. It can also reduce the cognitive impairment that is exposed to higher THC levels via the endocannabinoid system. Furthermore, they have suggested that it can lower the risk of Psychosis in those who are using cannabis.
Still, studies that indicate the benefits of CBD for psychoses may tend to be cohort studies or observational case. It limits the firm conclusion as the efficacy of cannabinoid.
In 2017, there was a conducted trial – placebo-controlled (randomized), that for the first time, 88 Psychosis patients were compared. Those people who received either placebo or CBD for over six weeks period. It was a support treatment for antipsychotics. The cognition, symptomatology, and the overall function was asses by pretreatment and post-treatment.
Patients that are taking CBD show the reduction of symptoms, and they improve in cognitive and functional abilities. Thus, they are likely to be rated as an improvement by their psychiatrist.
How CBD Relieve Schizophrenia
CBD has antipsychotic effects and considered being a treatment for Schizophrenia since it is non-intoxicating. However, the evidence for the CBD’s antipsychotic abilities is by blocking the THC-induced Psychosis. By on its own, CBD effects on the symptoms of Schizophrenia have been mixed. One report suggested that CBD didn’t improve the symptoms of the patients. Those patients have responded to traditional and prescribed antipsychotic treatments poorly. A large study found that CBD is effective in reducing the symptoms of Schizophrenia.
CBD has a promise for improving cognitive impairment and detrimental symptoms caused by the condition. Research conducted in animals found that cannabidiol can improve some negative traits. It includes working memory deficits and social interaction deficits.
CBD has few side effects and well-tolerated rather than traditional antipsychotic medications. For example, CBD doesn’t affect gaining weight or intake of food that are common adverse effects of antipsychotic drugs. Hence, more work is still needed to hash out its effects in humans.
CBD still needs further research to understand its benefits as an antipsychotic medication fully. Again, those with the symptoms should not rely on it and should consult their doctors first. Doctors are professionals, and they know all the things on how to treat the said condition.
The information above should not be considered a medical recommendation. The content is written to enrich the reader’s knowledge. Any use of materials and content mentioned in this article should be first consulted about by a physician.