Schizophrenia is a severe, lifelong mental disorder that disrupts the connection to reality. Schizophrenia is found in 1% of the general population and in 10% of people who have a first-degree relative with it.
Symptoms of schizophrenia can include a mix of positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms. Positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, thought disorders, and movement disorders, including not moving at all (catatonia) and repetitive movements. Negative symptoms include speaking few words even when engaged in conversation, lack of pleasure in everyday life (anhedonia), lack of motivation to begin and finish tasks, and lack of emotion (flat affect). Cognitive symptoms include poor attention span, trouble focusing, problems with working memory and poor executive function.
Does Marijuana Use Cause Schizophrenia?
No. Research from Harvard Medical found there is an increased risk of schizophrenia in cannabis users, but only if they had schizophrenia in their family to begin with. To be on the safe side, if you do not have schizophrenia but someone in your family does, talk to your doctor before using cannabis. Most cases of schizophrenia begin at age 21 and rare to begin after the age of 30, so if you use cannabis after that age you do not need to worry.
But Hasn't Every Person with Schizophrenia Used Marijuana?
Schizophrenia is highly comorbid with cannabis use, meaning patients with schizophrenia also use marijuana. The reason is likely self-medication, because schizophrenia is linked to endocannabinoid deficiency. While patients with schizophrenia that use cannabis have changes in brain area volumes than patients that do not use cannabis, it is not clear these changes are "bad."
Patients having their first psychotic episode shows signs of endocannabinoid deficiency. They have lower levels of cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) during than healthy patients. Patients with schizophrenia also have lower levels of the enzymes that makes endocannabinoids, N-acyl phosphatidylethanolamine phospholipase (NAPE) and diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL). Cerebrospinal fluid levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) are lower in non-medicated schizophrenics having an acute episode and are negatively correlated with psychotic symptom severity. This means the lower the levels of AEA, the more psychotic the patients were. Finally, patients with schizophrenia show increased levels of the enzymes that break down endocannabinoids, fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL).
Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may enhance psychotic symptoms, while cannabidiol (CBD) helps relieve symptoms. CBD inhibits the breakdown of the endocannabinoid AEA, thus boosting the ECS. AEA may even postpone the onset of psychosis. In one study, patients began treatment with 200 mg of CBD a day, and added 200 mg of CBD each day until they reached a dose of 200 mg of CBD 4 times a day for a total of 800 mg a day.
Eating CBD tincture, CBD pills, CBD drinks, or CBD-rich edibles may help control your symptoms. If you take CBD oil or pills, you may want to take as much as you can afford as these products are expensive. Try to space out your dose 3 times a day, with a target daily dose of 600 mg if you can.
Vaporizing cannabis is better than smoking cannabis in a joint, pipe, or bong because it doesn't burn the cannabis. Smoking cannabis releases toxins similar to cigarettes, can cause lung irritation and often disintegrates cannabinoids with healing properties. Vaporizing cannabis heats the air around the cannabis, releasing a range of cannabinoids, each with unique health benefit.
A new way to get cannabis into your body is via a transdermal patch, similar to the birth control patch or the nicotine patch. This discrete method provides extended release medication for up to ten hours and is perfect for people who feel uncomfortable with other methods such as smoking cannabis.
Has cannabis helped your schizophrenia? We’d love to feature patients with a picture and quote from you, and perhaps even a full interview. Please contact us at email@example.com if you’d like to be featured.
"I was diagnosed three and a half years ago. Recently I started using CBD gummies. The change in my mood and symptoms are incredible! I have no depression and no negative or positive side effects of SZ. I am on antipsychotics but plan to talk to my Psychiatrist about decreasing or going off one of them as I have severe side effects from it. I plan to switch from gummies to vaporizing CBD.
It is a fact! CBD helps with depression, anxiety and psychotic disorders. I am living proof of this!"
Has cannabis helped you or a loved one with schizophrenia? Comment below: