CBD - a supportive treatment alternative for schizophrenia?

CBD - a supportive treatment alternative for schizophrenia?

Are you interested in cannabidiol (CBD)? Then you've probably already noticed something: Positive effects have been described for this cannabinoid from the cannabis plant in a wide range of health areas.

This paper deals with the possible complementary use of CBDs in schizophrenic people.

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that is not self-treatable and requires medical attention. There are, however, hopeful scientific findings that CBD can provide support in this area, particularly in the alleviation of symptoms, in addition to conventional medical treatment. Learn more about the topic now.

What is schizophrenia?

As a serious mental illness, schizophrenia has a considerable impact on the personality of affected people. Depending on the degree of these personality changes, the intensity of these changes varies.

Although laypeople have been associated with Schizophrenia like to speak of a split personality, this description is medically non applicable. At this point, schizophrenic forms of mental illness must be distinguished from the so-called dissociative identity disorder.

But how come some medical laymen to the assumption that schizophrenia could be about a split personality?

Symptoms and progression

In connection with schizophrenic disorders, patients often experience delusions. About 80% of all those affected suffer from these. They experience a loss of reality. In this context, for example

  • delusional assumptions occur, are pursued or observed.
  • fears of poisoning can be developed.
  • delusional ideas about special abilities exist.

Sick people are then no longer able to believe that their delusions do not correspond to reality. They thus lack the ability to understand their condition. It can therefore happen that they initially do not perceive their suffering as pathological and only their environment perceives the changes in them.

This already complicates the diagnosis and later the treatment of schizophrenia.

Those who do not perceive themselves as sick are hardly prepared to seek medical help. Often affected persons torture themselves with psychotic symptoms for a long time without being treated. If there is no danger to oneself or others, no treatment can be enforced. In this context, there is often strong social isolation and the loss of normal everyday life.

CBD in schizophrenic diseases

The symptoms are divided into so-called plus symptoms and minus symptoms.

Positive symptoms (plus symptoms) - the normal experience of the patients is exaggerated. Hallucinations and delusions dominate the affected persons more or less intensively.

Negative symptoms (minus symptoms) - the affected persons torture themselves with a lack of drive, attention disorders and the inability to feel joy. In this context there is usually also an intensive social withdrawal.

In addition to hallucinations and delusions, symptoms often include ego disorders. It is these ego-disturbances that can give the impression of a split personality to medical laymen.

For those affected, the border between the environment and the self becomes blurred in this context. For example, the patients experience thoughts, feelings or body parts as not belonging to them. Their environment seems unreal to them.

You mean, thoughts spread through space. They experience thoughts as separate from them and beyond their control. They may experience their own thoughts as being introduced from outside. This can give them the feeling that they are controlled by outside, other people or beings.

Schizophrenic patients often suffer from erratic, illogical thinking. In this context, the psychotic symptoms also affect emotional disorders. The emotional expression of these people is often characterized by lack of emotion or exaggerated reactions.

In addition, motor disorders such as permanent restlessness and an urge to move, which is characterised by repetitive processes (stereotypical movements), occur in most cases.

No general statements can be made about the prognosis and the possible course of the disease. Schizophrenia has individual aspects in every patient. In addition, the prognosis is also strongly dependent on how faithful the patient is to therapy. It can be beneficial if schizophrenic disorders are diagnosed as early as possible and treated consistently.

Forms and causes

Depending on the severity of the different symptom groups as well as on age, different forms of schizophrenic disorders are distinguished.

Paranoid schizophrenia focuses on hallucinations and delusions. It is the most common.

In the catatonic form, the stereotypical movements take up the widest space. This often leads to a so-called stupor, an apparent complete immobility.

Hebephrenia is the medical term for a form of the disease in adolescence.

On the other hand, the schizophrenia simplex a particularly mild form of schizophrenic illness. The focus here is on gradual changes in concentration and performance.

Doctors and scientists have not yet been able to conclusively clarify what the causes of schizophrenic diseases are. Among other things, hereditary components are discussed, but also drug abuse as possible triggers.

Based on the findings to date, it is also assumed that particular stressful situations in the lives of some people can promote the development of schizophrenia. It seems that the affected person is already predisposed to the development of schizophrenic symptoms. These then manifest themselves in a life crisis with the loss of a loved one or another severe blow of fate.

A characteristic feature of schizophrenia is a change in brain structure. Various chambers in the brain - those filled with fluid - are dilated. It also leads to reduced blood flow in some areas of the brain. At present it is also assumed that there could be a connection between the messenger substance dopamine and schizophrenia. However, research in this field is not yet complete.

Schizophrenia & clinical picture of schizophrenic patients

Conventional medical treatment approaches

Diagnostics often poses challenges for physicians because there is no specific test for the determination. Various other, similar diseases must therefore be excluded.

Since those affected can experience repeated relapses alternating with symptom-free phases, treatment is carried out with typical drugs from the group of neuroleptics, especially in acute phases.

Neuroleptics are a group of drugs that influence messenger substances in the brain. Drugs such as haloperidol or clozapine can help to reduce particularly distressing symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations.

However, strong side effects can occur when using the drugs.

They may lead to

  • Lack of movement or involuntary movements.
  • general motor disorders.
  • an increase in body weight.
  • Shaking spells.

This is why some patients refuse to take the drugs after a while, try to stop taking them or reduce the dose themselves. Overall, adherence to therapy for schizophrenia is a major problem. Some people affected let neither diagnose nor treat themselves from the outset. Others discontinue treatment after a short time.

In the event of danger to oneself or others, the patient may be admitted to hospital and forced to take medication. This also makes the disease very stressful for schizophrenic patients, as in many cases it completely changes the whole life of the affected person.

It can therefore be assumed that many affected patients could perhaps be helped better with a less side-effect rich treatment. This raises the question of whether CBD can support treatment.

Cannabidiol and its possible influence

CBD from the commercial hemp plant is a cannabinoid, the is neither intoxicating nor addictive. This observation is very important. Because there is between Schizophrenia and some cannabinoids have a possible causal relationship. This means that cannabis, in its addictive form, may even promote the onset of schizophrenic symptoms.

The connection to cannabis in general

You might have heard above that drug abuse is discussed as a possible cause of schizophrenic disorders. This also applies to noisy cannabinoids such as THC. The explanation for this phenomenon can be found in the brain.

The human organism has a Endocannabinoid-System. It releases a wide range of different messenger substances which, in interaction with receptor sites, influence the human nervous system. Different reactions occur when these messenger substances dock at the receptor sites.

According to the current state of scientific research, neurotransmitters generally play a key role in psychotic diseases such as schizophrenia. For example, it is possible that a psychoactive substance such as the cannabinoid THC may be found in certain people in Endocannabinoid-system is causing psychotic symptoms.

Psychoactive in this context means that a substance such as THC binds to receptors in the brain that trigger hallucinations, for example.

On the other hand, there is clear evidence that CBD - the non-rush cannabinoid in CBD oil - may have symptom-relieving effects in psychotic symptoms.

Can CBD alleviate schizophrenic disorders?

The Endocannabinoid-system as key

The potential effect of CBD for symptom relief in psychotic symptoms is described in Endocannabinoid-system. Here, especially according to previous study results and findings, a connection is assumed between the receptors for the messenger substance dopamine and those for cannabidiol.

Furthermore, CBD is supposed to act on a specific enzyme (Anandamide), which plays a key role in the development of schizophrenic symptoms. See also: K. Müller-VahlSocial Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, l, 2008, Cannabinoids and schizophrenia: what is the connection? Hannover Medical School, Department of Psychiatry.

Enzymes have the effect of a catalyst in the human body. In many cases, they make certain reactions possible in the human nervous system, reinforce some of them or lead to the termination of a reaction chain.

Symptom improvements - previous findings and study approaches

Previous studies have shown positive effects of CBD on various schizophrenic symptoms. Among other things, an animal study has shown that cannabidiol improves perception and social skills in affected animals.

In a study with human volunteers CBD showed that psychotic symptoms could be significantly reduced. In addition, the test persons were able to improve their cognitive abilities and reintegrate socially.

It has not yet been conclusively clarified how CBD works exactly in the case of psychotic symptoms. Further research work is necessary for this.

Interesting research results that give hope

The schizophrenia usually places a heavy burden on affected patients. This is also due to the fact that the conventional medical treatment used so far is associated with severe side effects. Frequently, people with schizophrenia can show little insight due to the change in their personality. This is especially true when they experience a disease-free period.

CBD oil could therefore be a complementary treatment alternative with no side effects in cases of relapses, which patients accept well. Further scientific studies with CBD are necessary here. However, the first study approaches already show the possible potential of CBD even in severe diseases such as schizophrenia.

Note: In this article we report on prescription cannabis, prescription CBD or over-the-counter or legal CBD. This Article does not make any proposal as to the possible purpose of the proposal and is for information and education purposes only. Promises of healing and benefits are excluded.