A University of New Mexico study has found that cannabis may be an effective treatment option for schizophrenia, according to a report on the research. The report was published last week in the journal Medicines by Jegason P. Diviant and Jacob M. Vigil of the University of New Mexico Department of Psychology and Sarah S. Stith of the university’s Department of Economics.
‘Safe and effective treatment option’
The researchers reviewed previous data on the impact of environmental factors, particularly the effect of auto-immune activity, in the expression of schizophrenic profiles. The authors also explored the role of cannabis therapy in regulating immunological function.
The results of the study found that cannabis can be an effective treatment for schizophrenia, either alone or in conjunction with other medications.
“A review of the literature shows that phytocannabinoid consumption may be a safe and effective treatment option for schizophrenia as a primary or adjunctive therapy,” the study’s authors wrote.
The researchers concluded that the use of cannabis can be part of an effective treatment plan for patients with the mental disorder.
“Emerging research suggests that Cannabis can be used as a treatment for schizophrenia within a broader etiological perspective that focuses on environmental, autoimmune, and neuroinflammatory causes of the disorder, offering a fresh start and newfound hope for those suffering from this debilitating and poorly understood disease,” the report reads.
The researchers noted that about 1 in 200 people have schizophrenia and that pharmaceuticals are the most common treatment for the disease.
“Approximately 0.5% of the population is diagnosed with some form of schizophrenia, under the prevailing view that the pathology is best treated using pharmaceutical medications that act on monoamine receptors,” the researchers wrote.
CBD shows promise
The study also noted that although some data suggest that THC may exacerbate symptoms of schizophrenia in some individuals, new evidence shows that CBD might be an especially effective treatment for the disease.
“A review of the literature suggests that CBD in particular may be a safe and effective treatment option for schizophrenia as a primary or adjunctive therapy, supporting both inflammatory causes of schizophrenia and the potential importance of targeting the ECS in treating this poorly understood disease rather than ill-tolerated antipsychotics with debilitating side effects,” they wrote.
One study showed that CBD can add to the effectiveness of other medications used to treat schizophrenia.
“In a recent placebo-controlled trial among schizophrenics, CBD treatment was shown to affect positive psychotic symptoms over and above the effect of a patient’s antipsychotic treatment,” according to the research.
A serious mental disorder
Schizophrenia is a chronic and sometimes severe mental disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks, and behaves. People with the disease may feel as if they have lost touch with reality. The exact cause of schizophrenia is not known, but it is believed a combination of genetic factors, environment, and altered brain chemistry and structure may contribute to the disease. Common treatments include antipsychotic and anti-tremor medications in conjunction with various forms of therapy. There is no known cure for the disease.