Schizophrenia is a particularly severe type of psychotic disorder which affects all aspects of a person’s thinking, emotions and actions. They may find it difficult to differentiate reality from imagination, experiencing hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that do not exist) and delusions (false beliefs). They experience symptoms such as disorganised thoughts or catatonic movements (repetitive or awkward movements) and, in more severe cases, a loss of normal functions or a loss of speech. Schizophrenia is caused by an imbalance between the chemicals that send signals to the brain, as a result of which a person’s perception is focused on unrealistic events and phenomena.
In 2004, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 26 million people suffered from schizophrenia, which makes it possible to put this disease on the list of the 20 most important causes of disability worldwide. Despite intensive research, the treatment of schizophrenia is still not possible. However, it is possible to treat and alleviate the symptoms, and to identify the risk factors or “warning signs” of a new impending relapse of the disease.
Patients with schizophrenia have shown increased activity in three parts of the brain (Striatum; Midbrain; Medial Temporal Cortex). A new brain imaging research has shown CBD’s ability to reduce psychosis symptoms. According to this study, cannabidiol can reduce the symptoms by “resetting” activity in these three areas of our brain. The results of this study may help generate new treatments and start a new chapter in psychosis and schizophrenia treatment. Another study was done on participants experiencing psychotic symptoms which included the use of CBD and engaging these three areas of the brain. This study gave promising results that may change the whole history of schizophrenia and psychosis treatment one day. However, the conducted research had limitations and, of course, it’s not enough to state confidently about the CBD’s ability to treat such conditions.
Cannabidiol is gaining popularity due to its health benefits, but the evidence supporting its therapeutic role in psychiatry remains at its very nascent stage. Current CBD benefits are limited to positive symptoms of psychosis such as delusions and hallucinations. Further research is needed for understanding the effect of CBD on negative symptoms such as mood disruption and affective flattening, but these early indications are very encouraging.