Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular health product, with research exploring it as a potential treatment for anxiety, pain, seizure conditions, and more. But can CBD help with schizophrenia?
CBD is derived from cannabis and hemp. It’s one of the many chemical compounds, called cannabinoids, which are found in these plants.
CBD is non-intoxicating. Another cannabinoid, called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is responsible for the “high” effect of cannabis.
THC is also the reason why cannabis is associated with psychosis and schizophrenia. There’s some evidence that cannabis use can trigger the symptoms of schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia are advised to avoid cannabis.
CBD, however, is a different chemical — and some evidence suggests that it might have beneficial effects for those with schizophrenia.
Although it might be tempting to use CBD on your own, it’s vital that you don’t self-medicate. Instead, speak with your doctor and get their approval before using any health product.
Although more studies is needed on CBD and schizophrenia, a fair amount of research suggests CBD might be helpful for those with schizophrenia. In particular, it might be a potential treatment for psychosis.
A 2017 randomized control trial looked at whether CBD could be an effective add-on treatment for schizophrenia. The trial involved giving 1,000 milligrams (mg) of CBD per day to the study group and comparing them to a control group.
The study concluded that CBD could have beneficial effects in people with schizophrenia, including reduced levels of positive symptoms.
One randomized placebo controlled trial from 2018 looked at whether CBD improves cognitive impairments associated with schizophrenia (CIAS). Schizophrenia can affect attention, memory, and executive functions.
The trial looked at 36 participants, all of whom were being treated with antipsychotic medication for schizophrenia. The study found that CBD didn’t necessarily improve CIAS. However, it was well-tolerated among participants.
More recently, a 2020 review looked at research on CBD and schizophrenia. It found that there’s a fair amount of evidence to suggest that CBD can be an antipsychotic, but that further trials are needed, particularly those designed as suggested by regulators in schizophrenia.
The review also noted that research will have to look at whether CBD could interact with primary medications used to treat schizophrenia — in other words, whether CBD and antipsychotics can safely be used together.
Many of the more promising trials on CBD and schizophrenia involve high doses of CBD. For example, one of the above-mentioned trials looked at a 600 mg dosage and another looked at a 1,000 mg dosage.
If you’re interested in using CBD for schizophrenia, it’s essential to speak to your doctor first. Self-medicating schizophrenia can be extremely risky.
Although cannabis can induce psychosis, there’s no evidence that suggests CBD can.
CBD is being explored as a
People with schizophrenia are advised not to use cannabis because THC is associated with triggering or worsening psychosis. If you have schizophrenia, it’s best to avoid cannabis and any product that contains THC.
It’s not advisable to self-medicate schizophrenia. Instead, it’s a good idea to talk to your treatment team about potential options. If you’re looking into using CBD as an add-on treatment, speaking with your doctor is a good first step.
Some CBD products contain small amounts of THC (0.3%). These products are labeled as “full-spectrum CBD.” Because THC can worsen psychosis, it’s a good idea to avoid this. Rather, opt for a THC-free broad-spectrum CBD product or CBD isolate.
A doctor will also be able to advise you on finding high-quality CBD products. Because CBD products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some companies mislabel CBD products. Some products that are marketed as CBD products might not actually contain CBD, or contain less than what’s advertised.
If you use CBD for any reason, it’s important to purchase your product from a reputable company. Look for products that are third-party tested. The independent lab report, also known as a certificate of analysis or COA, should confirm the contents.
CBD can interact with a variety of different medications. What this means is that combining CBD with certain medications can cause some side effects.
Drugs that carry a “grapefruit warning” — in other words, you’re not advised to eat grapefruit while using them — shouldn’t be combined with CBD unless you have your doctor’s approval. This is because CBD and grapefruit both affect the liver in such a way that your body will process certain medications differently.
But does CBD interact with antipsychotics? There’s very little research on this topic. The above-mentioned studies that looked at CBD as an add-on treatment to antipsychotics did not note any adverse effects. CBD seemed to be well-tolerated. However, more research is needed.
Some antipsychotic drugs carry grapefruit warnings, such as:
- lurasidone (Latuda)
- quetiapine (Seroquel)
- ziprasidone (Geodon)
Once again, it’s not advised to self-medicate schizophrenia. It’s best to speak with your doctor first. They’ll be best equipped to advise you on whether you can use CBD, and if so, how you can use it safely.
Although there isn’t enough evidence to confirm that CBD can be used to help people with schizophrenia, the research is promising. If you’re interested in using CBD, it’s important to talk with your doctor first.
If CBD isn’t an option for you, remember that there are various forms of treatments for schizophrenia out there, including antipsychotic medications and talk therapy. You might also benefit from certain self-care practices and surrounding yourself with supportive people.