Approximately 1.2% of Americans, 3.2 million, suffer from schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. About 1.5 million people will be diagnosed with schizophrenia this year around the world.
Neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia are associated with cognitive impairment, including learning, memory and attention deficits, and can be fatal if left untreated. Approximately one-third of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia are not able to adequately control their symptoms with standard antipsychotic drugs.
Abnormalities in the levels of dopamine and serotonin often result in the occurrence of schizophrenia. The endocannabinoid system of our body is composed of certain lipids and receptors. These receptors and lipids are linked to the control of appetite, mood, memory, sensitivity, and pain. Even a slight malfunction in the receptors or lipids can cause the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Several lines of experimental and clinical evidence point to a close relationship between the human endocannabinoid system and schizophrenia. A variety of animal and human studies found a dysregulation of endocannabinoid signaling in psychosis.
CBD, a non-psychoactive constituent of hemp, has been receiving growing attention for its antipsychotic-like properties. CBD mimics the properties of our naturally produced endocannabinoids.
Another prominent cannabinoid, THC, the ingredient in marijuana that causes a high, induces psychotic-like symptoms at high doses. The effects are significantly reduced by adding CBD. This observation led researchers to suspect that CBD might have antipsychotic effects. And studies on animals are backing up that theory. Results suggest that CBD has a pharmacological profile similar to typical antipsychotic drugs. Treatment with CBD led to significant clinical improvement but without the side effects of typical antipsychotic drugs.
In a study titled, "CBD enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia," CBD treatment significantly improved recognition, working memory, and social interaction deficits in mice. These findings present interesting implications for the potential use of CBD in treating the cognitive deficits and social withdrawal of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a serious and life-threatening disease that requires professional medical attention. But these and other studies show that a lot can be done just by tapping into the health benefits program that nature has to offer.
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