How to Use CBD for Schizophrenia

Scientific research has shown us a lot of medical uses for cannabidiol, or CBD. From anxiety and depression to skin rashes and aching joints, this chemical compound that derives from the cannabis plant has proven itself to be incredibly useful in several applications. One use for CBD that has been studied for years is its potential to treat psychosis or schizophrenia.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic disorder that severely affects brain functioning in less than one percent of the United States population. Symptoms of the disorder typically first appear between the ages of 16 and 30, though children can be diagnosed as well.

Symptoms are categorized in three ways:

  • positive,
  • negative, and
  • cognitive. 

Positive” symptoms are psychotic behaviors, such as hallucinations, dysfunctional thinking, and movement disorders.

Negative” symptoms have more to do with emotions and behaviors, like reduced feelings of pleasure or difficulty beginning and completing tasks.

Cognitive symptoms vary in subtlety, but include trouble focusing and problems with applying new knowledge, or “working memory.”

The causes of schizophrenia are still relatively unknown, although researchers believe it is due to a combination of brain chemistry, genetic makeup, and the environment. Treatments focus on the symptoms of the disease rather than the disease itself. Even if symptoms appear to have subsided, schizophrenia requires lifelong treatment, consisting of medications (antipsychotics), psychosocial therapy, and, in severe cases, hospitalization.

Antipsychotic medications, however, typically only treat the positive symptoms – patients are still left with negative and cognitive symptoms, often resulting in anxiety, depression, and impaired memory and problem-solving skills.

How CBD Helps Schizophrenia

People with schizophrenia have issues with naturally occurring brain chemicals, like neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate – the brain disease affects the central nervous system and causes abnormal communication patterns between brain cells.

CBD, which is a non-intoxicating chemical compound (or “cannabinoid”) of cannabis, is now being considered as a treatment for schizophrenia after years of research on its antipsychotic effects. According to a study published in 2011 by Schizophrenia Research, ingesting high concentrations of CBD in cannabis led to fewer psychotic episodes. It also helps to treat the negative and cognitive symptoms that typical antipsychotic pharmaceutical drugs cannot treat – and with fewer side effects than the traditional medications.

When taken along with antipsychotic medication, CBD is believed to limit the amount of dopamine (known as the “feel-good hormone”) that is blocked as a result of the medication. It also helps to ease hallucinations and delusions – the positive symptoms of schizophrenia.

Scientists decided to investigate CBD as a treatment for schizophrenia due to the close link between the body’s endocannabinoid system and our overall mental health. The endocannabinoid system works as a communication hub between the brain and the body. It impacts how we move and react – and it’s affected by phytocannabinoids or compounds found in cannabis (such as THC and CBD).

Study Results

A 2006 study reviewed trials that show the antipsychotic effects of CBD. Using CBD in animal models showed that CBD produces effects similar to that of atypical antipsychotic drugs. In addition, open case reports of schizophrenic patients treated with CBD and a preliminary report of a controlled clinical trial comparing CBD with an atypical antipsychotic drug have confirmed that this cannabinoid can be a safe and well-tolerated alternative treatment for schizophrenia.”

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A 2017 study summarized pre-clinical and clinical evidence that shows how CBD interacts with the serotonin receptor system. “Together with clinical evidence showing that CBD may normalize affective and cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia, CBD may represent a promising treatment for schizophrenia, acting through novel molecular and neuronal mesolimbic substrates.

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Recommended CBD Regimen for Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a chronic disease and its symptoms can be constant, so it is important to take a form of CBD that will offer hours of relief at a time. We suggest CBD Edibles from Canna Comforts, Ambary Garden's CBD Softgel Capsules, and Ambary Garden's Full-Spectrum CBD Tincture doses as needed.

To date, there has never been a lethal overdose of cannabis or CBD so you can continue ingesting CBD until you have found the dose that works for you. We suggest starting small, with 25 mg or so. Wait some time (90 minutes for Edibles and Gel Capsules, 30 minutes for Tinctures) before re-dosing and monitor your intake as you progress.

CBD and Schizophrenia: At A Glance

While scientific research of cannabis and its cannabinoids is restricted due to the substance’s illegal status in the United States, more studies need to be done to reach any formal conclusions about CBD’s ability to effectively treat schizophrenia and other psychosis disorders. It will also be necessary for scientists to pinpoint exactly what triggers the neurological disorder to more accurately treat it. Until then, however, CBD has been shown to be an effective treatment option for schizophrenia patients also taking antipsychotics.

Managing Acute Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia

In addition to the daily management program outlined above, many people find they still need a safe way to manage acute negative symptoms. Whatever the cause  – we recommend vaporizing CBD isolate (read our review OR just buy it) from Ambary Gardens to combat these acute episodes. The benefit of vaporizing or dabbing CBD isolate is that the relief can be felt almost instantaneously. CBD isolate is 99% pure CBD and provides a wave of relief that can be felt throughout the whole body.

You can also ingest more CBD in the form of tinctures or pills to combat these episodes, just keep in mind that the onset time will be significantly longer than vaporizing. 

A Quick Note About CBD & Drug Testing

If drug testing is a part of the conditions of your employment, you might be concerned about the potential of CBD to cause you to test positive for THC. This isn't an unfounded concern -- however, there isn't exactly a cut-and-dry way to answer it.

Much of the data we have about CBD is anecdotal, and its potential impact on drug testing is no exception.  There are very few peer-reviewed studies on the subject, but there appears to be a small risk of a false positive for some users. Avoiding full-spectrum products containing traces of THC can reduce your risk of a false positive, but that may not eliminate the risk entirely. 

If you are concerned about passing a drug test, you should consider this potential risk when deciding whether CBD is right for you. To learn more about the science of CBD and drug testing, check out our article for a more thorough discussion of how to minimize your risk of a false positive.

Where to buy:

CBD From Ambary Gardens or Visit the CBD Help Guide