The mental disorder schizophrenia dramatically changes the perception of thought and reality. People with the disorder experience hallucinations, paranoid beliefs, delusions, and disorganized thinking and language. Schizophrenia patients also find it hard to make decisions and choices due to lack of concentration and evaluating information. Though such patients are given antipsychotic medications, these medications are accompanied by several side effects like weight gain, restlessness, drowsiness, and high cholesterol and diabetes. CBD has been found to be effective in treating schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders and serves to lessen psychotic symptoms. CBD for schizophrenia can impact memory, learning, and attention, which indicates that the phytocannabinoid could help handle cognitive symptoms more efficiently and with lesser side effects than commonly available medication.
What Comprises Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia comprises a serious brain disorder that misrepresents the way a person acts, thinks, perceives reality, expresses emotions, and relates to others. People possessing schizophrenia – the most acute and debilitating of the primary mental illnesses – frequently face problems functioning in society, at school, at work, and in relationships. Schizophrenia can make its patient frightened and reserved. It’s a permanent disease that cannot be cured but can be managed with proper treatment.
In contrast to common belief, schizophrenia does not comprise a split or multiple personality. Schizophrenia constitutes a psychosis, a kind of mental illness in which a person cannot distinguish the real from the imaginary. Occasionally, people having psychotic disorders lose contact with reality. The world may appear like a maze of confusing thoughts, sounds, and images. The attitude of people having schizophrenia may be extremely unusual and even shocking. An abrupt change in personality and behavior, which happens when schizophrenia patients lose touch with reality, is termed a psychotic episode.
Causes Of Schizophrenia
Causes of schizophrenia are unknown, though researchers hold that a mix of brain chemistry, genetics, and environment lead to the development of the disorder.
Problems with specific naturally present brain chemicals, like neurotransmitters called dopamine and glutamate, may cause schizophrenia. Neuroimaging analyses reveal differences in the central nervous system and brain structure of people having schizophrenia. Though researchers aren’t sure about the importance of these changes, they suggest that schizophrenia constitutes a brain disease.
Symptoms Of Schizophrenia
While the disease is active, it can be marked by episodes during which the patient can’t distinguish between real and imaginary experiences. The duration, severity, and frequency of symptoms can differ like with any illness, nevertheless, in persons having schizophrenia, the cases of severe psychotic symptoms often reduce in a patient’s lifetime. Not sticking to prescribed medications, consumption of alcohol or illicit drugs, and stressful conditions tend to elevate symptoms. Symptoms fall into different categories:
Positive psychotic symptoms: Hallucinations, like hearing voices, paranoid delusions and overblown or distorted perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors.
Disorganization symptoms: Confused and disordered speech and thinking, problem with logical thinking and occasionally bizarre behavior or unusual movements.
Negative symptoms: An absence or a reduction in the capacity to initiate plans, express emotion, speak or find pleasure.
Impaired cognition: Problems with memory, concentration, attention and falling educational performance.
Symptoms generally initially manifest in early adulthood. Men frequently witness symptoms in their late teens or early twenties and women frequently show initial signs in their twenties and early thirties. More subtle symptoms may be present earlier, like estranged relationships, poor performance at school and decreased motivation.
How CBD Helps With Schizophrenia
Studies have revealed CBD’s antipsychotic qualities and its promise in bettering the hard-to-treat negative symptoms and cognitive damage found in patients of schizophrenia.
Effect On The Brain And Body
CBD also shows potential in repairing the hard-to-cure negative symptoms and cognitive deterioration resulting from schizophrenia. Animal studies discovered that CBD improved a few of the negative symptoms like working memory deficits and social interaction deficits.
Moreover, CBD is well-tolerated and carries fewer side effects as against traditional antipsychotics. For example, CBD doesn’t affect food intake or gain of weight that is a prevalent adverse side effects of antipsychotic medication.
Antipsychotic Impact Of CBD
All antipsychotics appear to act at the dopamine D2 receptor. So, it would be startling for CBD to exert an antipsychotic impact without some inhibition of dopamine signaling.
The D2 receptor is present in 2 states: one with a great affinity for dopamine binding (D2high) and one with less affinity for dopamine binding (D2low). D2 High levels seem to be raised in schizophrenia, resulting in a state of super-sensitivity to dopamine. CBD was displayed to be a selective partial agonist of the D2 high receptors. Though it can stimulate the receptor as a partial agonist, it will functionally operate as an antagonist in the presence of the total agonist dopamine. This affords CBD a comparatively rare profile at the D2 receptor (exchanged only by the atypical antipsychotic aripiprazole) and can partly explain why it has fewer side effects as against other agents acting at the D2 receptor.
A major neurotransmitter that plays a part in the progress of schizophrenia is dopamine which is a neurotransmitter existing in various brain areas and cannabinoids are the antagonists of these dopamine neurotransmitters.
Dopamine-generating cells are situated in the reticulated portion of the substantia nigra of the midbrain. This region also carries groups of cannabinoid receptors, and, so, CBD is ascribed to the beneficial medicinal effects for treating psychiatric ailments like schizophrenia.
Elevates Levels Of Anandamide
CBD can also raise levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide. The 2012 clinical study revealed that the schizophrenia symptom lowering was correlated with the rise in blood anandamide levels after CBD therapy. This does not necessarily imply that anandamide is leading to the improvement, though it is probable.
Though anandamide is raised in schizophrenics in general, it has been indicated that this comprises a protective mechanism. Elevated anandamide levels are usually linked to fewer symptoms and a trend towards the reduced probability of progression from a pre-disease state to psychosis.
Acts On Glutamate
The abnormal interaction patterns existent in schizophrenia manifest in various ways, though the most prevalent is dysfunction in 2 kinds of brain chemical systems: dopamine and glutamate. These chemicals, or neurotransmitters, are utilized by brain cells for interacting with each other by stimulating receptors on different brain cells.
A common neurotransmitters within the brain, glutamate activates several receptors, like NMDA receptors. Stimulating NMDA receptors comprises a vital step within brain cells building linkages with each other, and they perform a crucial part in the development of the brain, memory, and learning. Many people having schizophrenia possess abnormally low receptor activity of NMDA, which can limit development of brain and cognitive output. In few cases, this reduced NMDA receptor activity can cause schizophrenia symptoms in later life.
Occasionally, glutamate transforms into an excitotoxin and causes cellular damage. CBD can effectively block glutamate and lower hydroperoxide toxicity in neurons. So, the antioxidant properties of CBD aid to restrict glutamate toxicity that is a probable factor in different neurodegenerative disorders of the CNS (Central Nervous System).
CBD Improves Neurogenesis
The application of CBD promotes hippocampal neurogenesis that advances cell development in the region of the brain connected with memory and learning as well as stress, anxiety, and depression.
Final Thoughts On CBD For Schizophrenia
Antipsychotics, commonly prescribed by doctors as the leading treatment for schizophrenia carry some serious side effects. Thus, they can lessen sensations of pleasure and motivation, and also raise a person’s chance of weight gain and diabetes. Perhaps the most bothersome potential side effects of traditional antipsychotics are movement disorders that can be completely devastating and are sometimes permanent. CBD for schizophrenia has displayed matching levels of effectiveness in treating schizophrenia and is wholly free from all of those risks.
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