Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that interferes with a person’s ability to make right decisions or to think coherently. Though not much is known about the condition, every patient afflicted with this disorder may not face the same problems. The exact reason triggering the onset of the disorder is yet unclear, but scientists are looking for possible solutions that can be used to effectively treat schizophrenics.
A recent study by the Western University revealed that cannabidiol (CBD) found in marijuana can be used as a viable treatment option for schizophrenia. According to the researchers, the specific phytochemical CBD found in marijuana contains curative characteristics propitious for the treatment of psychoses related to the disorder.
However, the study, titled “Cannabidiol Counteracts Amphetamine-Induced Neuronal and Behavioral Sensitization of the Mesolimbic Dopamine Pathway through a Novel mTOR/p70S6 Kinase Signaling Pathway,” is in complete contrast to the earlier findings which showed that adolescent exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in marijuana may trigger the symptoms in adults.
Effects of CBD on brain are opposite to that of THC
Published online in the Journal of Neuroscience in May 2016, the study revealed that CBD in marijuana helps diminish associated symptoms of the disease, including psychosis and problems with the intellect. The researchers used pre-clinical models in rodents to perform the study.
Commenting on the findings, Dr. Steven Laviolette, co-author and associate professor at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry said, “CBD is acting in a way that is the exact opposite to what THC is doing. Within the same plant, you’ve got two different chemicals that are producing opposite effects in terms of psychiatric effects, molecular signaling and effects on the dopamine pathway.”
Though the scientists have not been able to pinpoint any particular mechanism by which CBD gives way to antipsychotic effects, the findings are important as the current medications used for the treatment of schizophrenia have limited efficiency. The likely undesirable side effects of the drugs used currently for the treatment also necessitates the use of alternative treatment options.
The scientists observed that CBD helps alleviate schizophrenia-related disturbances in the brain’s dopamine system without causing any side effects, unlike other medicines. Thus, CBD can be used as a viable therapeutic intervention for the treatment of schizophrenia in the future.
Stressing on how treatment with CBD is more beneficial as opposed to traditional medications, Laviolette said, “When we measured the molecular changes that happened in the brain, we found that the effects of CBD were bypassing traditional molecular pathways that are activated by
antipsychotic drugs. We think that’s one of the reasons that it has better tolerability and fewer side effects.”
Coexistence of mental illness and substance abuse
The existence of mental illness and the use of addictive substances are not completely devoid of each other. In fact, mental illness and addiction are innately entwined. At times, the upheavals faced by mentally ill people force them to self-medicate through alcohol or drugs. Abuse of drugs and alcohol to treat mental health symptoms does not help much in dealing with the illness and, in turn, gives way to a new set of maladies, which aggravate the existing mental health problems.
Various researches have proved that smoking cannabis affects brain chemistry so seriously that it can trigger schizophrenia. Similarly, the impact of addiction can worsen the mental health of the affected person. People dependent on drugs have often been diagnosed with mental disorders, such as anxiety, and depression.
As patients suffering from schizophrenia often manifest symptoms like hallucinations and illusions, the disorder may sometimes be referred to as split personality or multiple personality. It might take some time to recover from schizophrenia, but scientists are constantly on the lookout for an innovative treatment that can check the development and the increasing prevalence of the disorder.
If you or your loved one has been suffering from schizophrenia or has been addicted to any substance to gain relief from its symptoms, you may get in touch with the Florida Dual Diagnosis Helpline for more information on the best dual diagnosis facilities in Florida. You may also contact our 24/7 helpline number at 866-337-7631 for more information related to dual diagnosis treatment in Florida.