The Relationship Between CBD and Antipsychotic Effects

The Relationship Between CBD and Antipsychotic Effects

Researchers at King’s College in London have recently published a study that found that CBD reduces abnormal brain functions associated with psychosis. 

Current medications for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder include Thorazine and Haldol, both of which have limited effectiveness and can have serious side effects [1]. These side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, anxiety, sleep problems (insomnia), breast swelling or discharge, changes in menstrual periods, weight gain, swelling hands or feet [3], irregular heartbeats, and death in the elderly [2].

The King’s College study found that “participants treated with CBD had fewer psychiatric symptoms than those who received a placebo,” and were more likely to be seen as having improved conditions by their doctors [1]. Though the exact science of why CBD may work as an antipsychotic is unknown, scientists believe that CBD may inhibit an enzyme that clears anandamide which is a natural antidepressant that is regulated by the brains cannabinoid system [1].

The study used two groups of patients, one that received CBD and one that received a placebo, and all patients were given MRIs. The MRI scans showed that abnormal brain activity was lower in the group that received the CBD. Thus, the results suggest that CBD can help re-set brain activity levels [1]. The good news is that CBD does not present significant side effects like those associated with the current treatments for psychotic disorders. Many patients are afraid of antipsychotic medications because of the potential side effects and CBD treatments would eliminate this risk factor.

Though most studies have shown that CBD can improve psychotic symptoms, none have proved to be a cure. It seems that “CBD has a beneficial, but modest, impact on positive psychotic symptoms and severity of illness,”[4]. CBD has also been found to improve cognition and the impact of patient’s illness on their day-to-day lives [4].

As with most findings regarding CBD in the studies recently conducted, it is too early to draw any definitive conclusions. However, the science is trending toward supporting that CBD can be used to help relieve symptoms of psychotic diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and with much fewer negative side effects than the current prescription medications.