How CBD Works - How does CBD work for psychosis and schizophrenia
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In full disclosure, unlike some of the other articles, this one hits close to home.
An extended family member is schizophrenic and I've seen the suffering first hand.
The person's suffering might pale to the family's suffering.
There have been rounds of medications used but only for short periods of time and with terrible side effects.
I keep an eye on studies, research, and any insights into how these issues might one day be eliminated for good.
In one of my many science and medical update emails, something caught my eye.
It was primarily looking at sodium bicarbonate but very interesting.
Then the big one came across the wire shortly after (seem to be speeding up!)
A study on CBD and psychosis that was caused me to pause.
Pretty interesting results!
We'll get into that below but suffice it to say...
We'll get into the research and we'll look at what it's telling us about the system in question.
Very exciting (for a change).
God bless NAMI but let's hope we can free up their nightly meetings before too long!
If you want to jump right to the list of CBD brands screened for safety, ranked by value here:
Otherwise, feel free to jump to any topic here:
Lots to cover.
We'll skip all the statistics that most websites throw out.
If you're researching this, you know the statistic of 1 is all that matters.
Let's get to it.
We're finally getting some intriguing clues as to what is going on in the brain with schizophrenia and psychosis.
Not held to be simply a question of neurotransmitter being out of balance, clearly more is as work.
Now we throw in virus in-utero and during brain development.
The mind requires so much to go right.
It's a miracle I'm writing this and you're reading it.
Much less everything else we do.
Let's focus down on the aspects that are important in terms of what we know about CBD.
There are three main schools of thought that have evolved over time:
All shed some light on the underlying causes.
First, there appears to be abnormal activity in certain parts of the brain
We can actually see this activity in MRI's when psychotic behavior is becoming present.
That's a good place to start...hard evidence.
Learn about the brain area model here:
Then there's the whole delicate dance of neurotransmitters.
Dopamine and Glutamate have been implicated.
Lots of great information here including exciting results on:
The connection furthers reflects CBD's promise in regulating dopamine levels:
There's the whole fascinating tie in with nicotine.
90% of people with schizophrenia smoke.
This isn't to say that a smoker is mentally ill.
Just that people with mental illness smoke large amounts.
They're essentially self-medicating.
More on that here:
That doesn't mean we should take up smoking but it points to underlying imbalances in neurotransmitters and chemistry.
Finally, there's the newest kid on the block.
Brain inflammation and excitability
People with schizophrenia show high levels of inflammatory agents:
High levels of pro-inflammatory substances such as cytokines have been described in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of schizophrenia patient
Remember when we talked about influenza in utero...
A large epidemiological study clearly demonstrated that severe infections and autoimmune disorders are risk factors for schizophrenia.
On a very interesting note...
CBD actually showed progress offsetting these results in animals models:
There's the immune system again (a common theme through this whole site and most of our modern diseases).
Anti-inflammatory have long been a first line option with schizophrenia.
There's also the connection with histamine response and schizophrenia.
Again...we're back to the immune system.
Finally, let's introduce 1000's of toxic chemicals that we come in contact with (glysophate shows up in umbilical cord blood and it's essentially a neurotoxin!)
Obviously, schizophrenia and psychosis are complicated but we'll focus on those elements impacted by CBD.
More importantly, we'll look at the recent study which showed interesting results.
So...how does the endocannabinoid system affect these different aspects?
Let's take a look!
Otherwise...a quick recap.
You have a system that naturally runs through the entire body.
It's called the endocannabinoid system.
Here's a quick picture:
The CB1 receptors are primarily in the nervous system and the CB2 receptors can be found throughout the body.
The endocannabinoid system helps to balance these primary systems:
Based on research coming out, these systems are incredibly important to the underlying causes of schizophrenia and psychosis.
Especially the intersection of the nervous system and immune system.
We'll get into the research later but let's take a look at why there is so much buzz around CBD for schizophrenia an psychosis.
With a simple question...
This is it.
This is the study that sparked so much attention.
First...here's the study.
They're currently replicating for a much larger study and with longer durations.
Basically, they took 33 people at high risk of psychosis.
They followed up with fMRI scans of the brain.
The results were astounding!
Furthermore, the clinicians deemed a majority of them to no longer appear at risk of psychosis afterwards!
The effects of a single dose carried forward for days
Keep in mind that the current regime of antipsychotic medications have very significant side effects and none have shown such a pronounced effect as this study.
We need more studies...and they're coming.
But it's very exciting!!
A good summary of the test can be found here:
Also, we get information on what dose for serious issues.
Check out the Is CBD Safe page for more detail.
So...what's going on here?
As always, let's look at the research on CBD.
There are dozens of studies going on right now and we'll add those results as they come in.
First, let's start with how we discovered CBD's anti-psychotic effects to begin with.
Because of it's psychotic cousin, THC!
Learn about CBD versus THC here.
THC has been shown to potentially have psychotic effects.
In fact, many people use CBD to offset negative effects of THC or the so-called "bad trip".
CBD is not psychoactive in that regard.
In fact, it's shown to be neuroprotective...
Then there's the interplay between our endocannabinoid system and psychosis.
Let's start with some naturally occuring cannabinoids in our system.
Research points to abundance of Anandamide present in people with schizophrenia.
Anadamide is our main naturally occuring cannabinoid.
CBD appears to bring down these levels here:
The other naturally occuring endocannabinoid, 2AG impacts the disease as well:
So...the cannabinoid system is involved.
More evidence of that here for first episodes of psychosis:.
FEP is just a fancy way to say first episode but that's important.
It could be the one off psychotic event or even the beginning of schizophrenia.
What about inflammation and schizophrenia?
Lots of research coming out there and the much overworked endocannabinoid system is not keeping up with our modern world!
First, CBD appears to help with the internal inflammation and stress associated with schizophrenia:
Just affecting the histamine levels in the brain had a profound effect on psychotic behavior:
Histamines are a key actor in our immune response.
The endocannabinoid system helps to balance this system!
That ties into CBD's effects across a range of issues from arthritis to cancer to dementia!
Learn more about histamines relationship to schizophrenia here:
CBD's anti-inflammatory effects might be it's most powerful.
That could be very important for schizophrenia:
Here's a great summary of CBD's potential for psychosis and schizophrenia:
The net net from that study...
Many people shy away from CBD because they confuse it with THC, the psychoactive cousin in cannabis.
Let's tackle that!
Studies are not as kind on THC and schizophrenia.
There have been studies that implied higher THC consumption might lead to schizophrenia or reduce the threshold for an already pre-disposed person.
There's even a genetic and chemical pathway shared by both attributes.
It is true that people with schizophrenia smoke marijuana at a higher rate than the general population.
Some evidence changes the cause and effect on that relations.
It says that people pre-disposed to schizophrenia seek out or self-medicate with marijuana.
In fact, it's long been known that higher THC levels can trigger transitory psychotic behavior.
You see this with the legalization of marijuana (high THC) in Colorado with increased hospital admissions for psychotic breaks.
Interestingly, in that same article is the effect of CBD countering psychotic effect THC's effects!
Researchers found that strains of cannabis with higher levels of CBD limited these THC effects.
CBD has gained a reputation for being neuroprotective and offsetting the psychoactive effects of THC.
Where THC can create anxiety and psychotic behavior, CBD has been shown to counter these effects.
There has been an ongoing debate on the cause-effect relationship between THC and schizophrenia.
As there is a jump towards legalization, it's important to offset potential harm from THC consumption.
CBD might be a powerful ally in this effort as seen here:
In general, CBD should be considered a valuable option to offset the negatives of THC.
What about CBD itself? Can it trigger psychosis?
CBD is not psycho-active.
This is thought to be due to its interaction with CB2 receptors in the body and not CB1 in the brain.
In fact, CBD will bind to receptors in the liver which prevents THCv from being converted into its psychoactive form.
So...what are the side effects?
CBD has shown a very strong safety profile.
It's even been tested up to 1500mg dosages.
You can read all about the side effects at our IS CBD safe page here.
One note...we've seen reports of stomach issues but it seems to pertain to full spectrum CBD.
We touched based on what is going on there at our Full Spectrum versus Isolate page here.
You can check out the screened products by pricing here:
As for side effects, the most commonly reported ones (usually moderate) are:
CBD can interact with certain medications so it's important to check with your doctor.
Here's a good overview of studies on CBD safety here:
Dosage is tricky for such a critical issue.
The common dosages in the studies mentioned above are 300-600mg doses.
This is on the high side.
Generally accepted maintenance is usually around 25-30mg.
But we're talking about more serious health issues with psychosis and schizophrenia so that argues for larger dosages.
Here's a quick look:
Start lower and test how your body responds.
Make sure to to talk to a doctor regarding CBD and other medications you may have.
The CBD oil tinctures are generally the most popular for this issue.
Keep in mind that our digestive system will likely eat up a good amount of the CBD.
Isolate is much cleaner especially if people have histamine issues.
We need a higher amount of CBD so products with 1500+ would be advisable from a cost perspective.
You can see the safety screened products ranked by value here:
One note...for a much faster delivery of CBD, the vape oil might be an option.
You can use a vaporizer with this to avoid combustion.
Ideally, make sure the vape oil is clean of flavors, scents, and other additives.
Most importantly...please let us know what works (and what doesn't work) here.
Let's help each other heal!
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