Mental health is an issue widely talked about these days. The most famous of which include depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. About 1 in 100 persons worldwide suffer from some form of Schizophrenia. These people have a risk of dying prematurely, losing almost 30 years of their lives due to Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia literally means “split-mind,” but schizophrenia is not to be mistaken with a dissociative identity disorder. Schizophrenia means split-mind because it causes people to have disrupted thought processes, an example of a symptom is psychotic symptoms.
What is Psychosis?
Psychosis occurs when a person loses his/her touch with reality. It may be through delusions (false beliefs) and hallucinations (seeing things that are not there and/or hearing things that are not there). Psychosis is always present in schizophrenia, but it can occur in other mental health illnesses such as depression. Psychosis affects a person’s touch with reality. That is why scientists sought to find an effective drug to reduce psychosis better than the antipsychotics currently available in the market.
CBD and THC
There has been a massive interest in the effects of marijuana on psychosis. Some claim that it causes psychosis, others say the opposite. Both of which are true. There are two cannabinoids present in cannabis: δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) – which is a psychotomimetic that creates psychosis and cannabidiol – a cannabinoid that exhibits antipsychotic effects. In a study of 140 individuals, researchers gathered hair samples to examine the levels of cannabinoids in the subject’s hair. In their study, they found it conclusive that those who have had cannabidiol have fewer delusions when compared to a cannabidiol-free control group.
Cannabidiol as an Antipsychotic
Cannabis use is indeed associated with psychosis, but cannabidiol has been widely studied for the past ten years. Potential of it being an antipsychotic is numerously written through research journals and papers. Other researches also claim that anxiolytic actions (drugs that combat anxiety) and antipsychotic effects. This has been studied in animal models and eventually carried over to human subjects. It is also a safer alternative option than the currently available atypical antipsychotic drugs on the market. A study compared cannabidiol and atypical antipsychotic drugs. Not only it is a safer option, but also well-tolerated by the human subjects. The antipsychotic effects are even comparable to clozapine, a leading antipsychotic drug at the moment. Currently, it is only heavily based on psychosis. Bipolar disorder has yet to be studied.
Positive Symptoms Reduction
In another study of 1877 subjects, researchers also found that those who used cannabidiol have a reduced occurrence of positive symptoms in schizophrenia. Positive symptoms in schizophrenia do not mean the same as its namesake but mean that it “adds” something to the person that was not there before such as delusions and hallucinations. The observable effects were subtle, but future researches may conclude differently if studied further. Also, recent studies showed that CBD can be used in the treatment of autism.
A Future Antipsychotic Drug: A Thirty-Year Investigation
For 30 years, cannabidiol was investigated as a potential antipsychotic. Cannabidiol appears to resemble pharmacological profile when compared to current antipsychotic drugs. This was observed through animal models by observing the behaviors and their neurochemical techniques. It is said to prevent psychotic symptoms in general. Even patients with schizophrenia appear to experience less of the psychotic symptoms and deem themselves safe from others. The fMRI results can even image the same effects in the brain, but the fMRI can also see the psychotic effects of THC, the other cannabinoid, can do to the brain. Though the results look promising, the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol are not yet fully understood. Only future studied can determine whether or not cannabidiol can be used as a future antipsychotic. As of the moment, it does have its potentials for a therapeutic option in psychosis and schizophrenia.
Mental health disorders are prevalent throughout the world, but few medications are available. The ones available may cause side effects that are why scientists are continuously looking for better options than the ones currently available at the moment. Fortunately, there is a possible option – cannabidiol. It is not yet understood, but its mechanisms are there. As more researches come and replicate the studies done by previous researchers, the sooner cannabidiol will be released as an antipsychotic drug. The world will benefit from this wonder. It makes sure that schizophrenia and mental disorders, in general, are not an eternal sentence, but rather a circumstance we can overcome together.