An Introduction To CBD & Schizophrenia
Why are CBD and Schizophrenia being linked together? With so much research going on in the world on the medicinal uses of CBD, Schizophrenia is also being studied in this new light of CBD. Among many other mental disorders, CBD may also be used to treat Epilepsy, Cancer, Arthritis, and Multiple Sclerosis.
What Exactly Is SCHIZOPHRENIA?
Imagine yourself in a state where you are overpowered by your own thoughts so profoundly that it affects how you think, how you speak, what you feel, and how you behave. Imagine being rigorously driven by bizarre and odd beliefs. Imagine not being able to take care of yourself, unlike every other person, not being able to perform normal daily life tasks let alone academic or social interactions because you are imprisoned in your own mind that is making you think and behave oddly.
While you put yourself in the picture depicted above, it would not be unusual for society to call you ‘mad’ because what they cannot see and experience is something that is going on in your mind resulting from chemical imbalances. What society has been referring to as ‘madness’ in ancient times as well as in modern times too sometimes, is what the Statistical Manuals of Mental Disorders being used worldwide defines Schizophrenia as.
The Sad Discrimination These Patients Face
The term ‘Schizophrenia’ carries with it; a huge stigma probably as a result of stories in the press about psychotic killers. These do exist but relatively few in number while majority of the schizophrenics spend their daily lives in obscurity.
If you are wondering what Schizophrenia feels like, let me help you paint a mental picture. You are a normally functioning person until you meet an extremely traumatic event that has left you in a state of utter distress and discomfort.
Over time, you begin to experience Delusions; Hallucinations, your speech becomes disorganized, deviating from the normal expectations of one’s speech, you exhibit catatonic behavior by not reacting to any stimuli, going completely numb and rigid and you present some negative Schizophrenia symptoms including diminished emotional expression, abolition, and anhedonia.
Out of these, you must present two or more symptoms during a one- month period (or less if treated) for a significant portion of time with a significant impairment in daily life functioning in order to be diagnosed by Schizophrenia according to the DSM –V (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
Imagine what it feels like to have a nightmare during the day or one that doesn’t go away when you wake up from your slumber. These individuals are usually deprived of normal privileges because of their psychotic features. They have to hide behind closed doors and suffer in silence because of a lack of acceptance from society.
Some of them fall into crimes, while others start to wander. If you can experience what it feels like to be imprisoned to your own thoughts so much that you want to scream in order to get rid of it, while you cannot; that is exactly how the world of Schizophrenia is like.
Causes of Schizophrenia
Studies have generally attributed the causes of Schizophrenia to one or more of the following:
- Family history of the illness (Genetic factors)
- Traumatic childhood/family events (Environmental factors)
Such factors can lead to chemical imbalances in the brain chemistry at any age particularly late adolescence and adulthood.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol is abbreviated as CBD. The famous plant of cannabis is responsible for its extraction and it was initially discovered in 1940. It is a completely natural chemical compound found in the cannabis or hemp plants and accounts for 40% of its extracts.
Not only do these chemical compounds have several medicinal benefits and usage but also provide relaxation, pain relief, calmness, and a sense of wellness. All of this, without the addictive chemical in the cannabis plant i.e. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Even if you do find THC in your CBD products, it will usually be present in trace amounts that have no significant user implications.
To know more about CBD, give this a read: Types of CBD Concentrates
Is CBD Legal?
CBD is actually derived from Hemp that is initially obtained from Cannabis Indica i.e. one of two Cannabis plant types and from a legal standpoint in several parts of the world, hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC for it to be legal. It is a controlled substance under the United Nations Drug Control Conventions and is a controlled substance thus, in the USA as well.
What Is THC?
THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is one of 113 natural compounds found in the cannabis plant that is psychoactive in nature and is responsible for the ‘high’ users’ experience after the recreational use of this substance.
THC is also responsible for many other cannabis side effects such as the dependency one develops towards the substance. Both THC and CBD, interact with the endocannabinoid system but exhibit completely opposite and different effects. The amount of THC present in any definite amount of substance tells us about how potent the stuff really is.
How Does CBD Help With Schizophrenia?
Now that you have a full understanding of the disease, it may be easier to understand the results of the recent researches on CBD and schizophrenia. According to new research regarding using CBD for Schizophrenia’s treatment, it was learned that CBD helps reverse and reboot the chemical imbalances in the brain by resetting parts of the brain and reducing psychosis symptoms. CBD has been found to have anti-psychotic or anti-psychoactive properties.
Psychosis is an even common disease all over the world and is almost the same as schizophrenia where people have “episodes” and are delusional. They see, hear, and believe things that aren’t there, and so, such researches on CBD are opening up new avenues of possibilities for schizophrenic patients.
Research carried out on Schizophrenic patients are painting an optimistic picture of the future where patients who were administered CBD dosages seemed to show less abnormal brain activity (as seen in their MRI’s) and thus displayed lesser psychotic behaviors as compared to patients who were not given these dosages. Thus, it is believed that CBD may reduce abnormal activities in the brains of schizophrenic and psychosis patients.
Why Hasn’t Anyone Heard of CBD & Schizophrenia?
The reason that this research hasn’t made it to the headlines is because of the limited nature of the research. Since there are a number of reasons that contribute towards a mental illness, it has not been yet possible to control every factor during the research.
Moreover, as with any research that involves human beings that are such complex creatures, research is carried out over a period of YEARS to fully test the effects of the compounds in question before public announcements are made.
Only large-scale human trials can determine whether the positive effects are prominent in every type of schizophrenic patient or are there exceptions and what will be CBD’s long-term impact on the brain. As for now, it is the start of what may be a permanent cure to the disease.