The following information is presented for educational purposes only.
Medical Marijuana Inc. provides this information to provide an understanding
of the potential applications of cannabidiol. Links to third party websites
do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Medical Marijuana
Inc. and none should be inferred.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that affects about 1% of
Americans. Studies have shown cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid found in
cannabis, has antipsychotic properties and can thereby reduce psychotic
Overview of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental illness that interferes with
the ability to think clearly, regulate emotions and connect to others. The
disabling brain disorder can develop at any age, but the average age of
onset is late teens to early 20s for men and late 20s to early 30s for
Common symptoms associated with schizophrenia include hallucinations,
delusions, negative symptoms (being emotionally flat and disconnected), and
disorganized thinking or cognitive issues. It can cause people to hear
voices that don’t exist or may make them to believe others are reading or
controlling their minds and thoughts. A person with schizophrenia may not
make sense when talking or may sit for long hours without talking or moving.
For a diagnosis of schizophrenia, symptoms must be present for a minimum of
While the exact cause of schizophrenia remains unknown, according to the
National Alliance on Mental Illness, research suggests that genetics,
environment, brain chemistry and substance abuse may play a role in the
disease developing. The illness occurs in 1 percent of the general
population, but 10 percent of people with a first-degree relative with have
the disorder develop.
There is no cure for schizophrenia, but psychotherapy and self-management
strategies can help manage its symptoms. Antipsychotic medications help
reduce psychotic symptoms, like hallucinations and breaks with reality.
Findings: Effects of Cannabis on Schizophrenia
While use of cannabis high in the psychoactive cannabinoid
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been found to be associated with an increased
risk of developing psychotic disorders, numerous studies have shown that
cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, has
antipsychotic properties (Schubart, et al., 2014) (Zuardi, et al., 2012)
(Robson, Guy & Di Marzo, 2014) (Roser & Haussleiter, 2012). Both animal and
human subject studies have demonstrated that CBD has antipsychotic-like
properties and is both safe and well tolerated (Zuardi, et al., 2006). One
study found that CBD caused significantly lower degrees of psychotic
symptoms (Schubart, et al., 2011). In addition, evidence suggests that CBD
can ameliorate both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia (Deiana,
Researchers have suggested that cannabinoids like CBD offer antipsychotic
effects because of their activation of the CB2 receptors of the
endocannabinoid system. Psychotic disorders have been associated with an
alteration of the immune system, which is regulated by the endocannabinoid
system. Through their activation of the CB2 receptors, CBD could be helping
modulate the body’s immune system and as a result, reducing psychotic
symptoms (Bioque, et al., 2013). One study found that CBD inhibits the
degradation of anandamide, an endocannabinoid that when elevated has been
shown to be inversely correlated to psychotic symptoms and caused a
significant clinical improvement (Leweke, et al., 2012).
States That Have Approved Medical Marijuana for Schizophrenia
No states have approved medical marijuana for the treatment of
schizophrenia. However, in Washington
D.C., any condition can be approved for medical marijuana as long as a
DC-licensed physician recommends the treatment. In addition, various other
states will consider allowing medical marijuana to be used for the treatment
of schizophrenia with the recommendation from a physician. These states
include: California (any
debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been recommended
by a physician), Connecticut (other
medical conditions may be approved by the Department of Consumer
Protection), Massachusetts (other
conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician), Nevada (other
conditions subject to approval), Oregon (other
conditions subject to approval), Rhode
Island (other conditions
subject to approval), and Washington (any
“terminal or debilitating condition”).
Recent Studies on Cannabis’ Effect on Schizophrenia
Cannabis high in CBD significantly lowered the degree of
with high cannabidiol content is associated with fewer psychotic
CBD inhibits anandamide degradation, contributing to its
enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms
of schizophrenia. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22832859)
Bioque, M., García-Bueno, B., MacDowell, K. S., Meseguer, A., Saiz, P. A.,
Parellada, M., Gonzalez-Pinto, A., Rodriguez-Jimenez, R., Lobo, A., Leza,
J.C., and Bernardo, M. From the FLAMM-PEPs study—Centro de Investigación
Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM). (2013). Peripheral
Endocannabinoid System Dysregulation in First-Episode Psychosis. Neuropsychopharmacology, 38(13),
Cannabis Compound May Augment Antipsychotic Meds. (2016, April 21). Medscape.
Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/862312#vp_2.
Deiana, S. (2013, January). Medical use of cannabis. Cannabidiol: a new
light for schizophrenia? Drug
Testing and Analysis, 5(1), 46-51.
Leweke, F.M., Piomelli, D., Pahlisch, F., Muhl, D., Gerth, C.W., Hoyer, C.,
Klosterkotter, J., Hellmich, M., and Koethe, D. (2012, March 20).
Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms
of schizophrenia. Translational
Psychiatry, 2, e94.
Robson, P.J., Guy, G.W., and Di Marzo, V. (2014). Cannabinoids and
schizophrenia: therapeutic prospects. Current
Pharmaceutical Design, 20(13), 2194-204.
Roser, P., and Haussleiter, I.S. (2012). Antipsychotic-like effects of
cannabidiol and rimonabant: systematic review of animal and human studies. Current
Pharmaceutical Design, 18(32), 5141-55.
Schizophrenia. (n.d.) National
Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml#part_145430.
Schizophrenia. (n.d.). National
Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Schizophrenia.
Schubart, C.D., Sommer, I.E., Fusar-Poli, P., de Witte, L., Kahn, R.S., and
Boks, M.P. (2014, January). Cannabidiol as a potential treatment of
psychosis. European Neuropsychopharmacology,
Schubart, C.D., Sommer, I.E., van Gastel, W.A., Goetgebuer, R.L., Kahn, R.S.,
and Boks, M.P. (2011, August). Cannabis with high cannabidiol content is
associated with fewer psychotic experiences. Schizophrenic Research,
Zuardi, A.W., Crippa, J.A., Hallak, J.E., Moreira, F.A., and Guimaraes, F.S.
(2006, April). Cannabidiol, a cannabis sativa constituent, as an
antipsychotic drug. Brazilian
Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 39(4), 421-9.
Zuardi, A.W., Crippa, J.A., Hallak, J.E., Bhattacharyya, S., Atakan, Z.,
Martin-Santos, R., McGuire, P.K., and Guimaraes, F.S. (2012). A critical
review of the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol: 30 years of
translational investigation. Current
Pharmaceutical Design, 18(32), 5131-40.
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