May 4, 2016 8:05 AM

Schizophrenia and Cannabis. Is There Connection?

A large body of cannabis research is concentrated on studying the potential connection between cannabis and different psychiatric disorders. Schizophrenia is on the list of the most common objects of research. The debates on the matter are still hot.

Do not hurry to order a medical marijuana card online; it may not be as useful for you as you think. Unfortunately, one of the most significant arguments against marijuana legalization is its association with psychosis risks. But do people who consume weed really have a higher chance of developing schizophrenia in the future?

It is well known that the plant influences our endocannabinoid system. Unfortunately, this system also plays a great role in neurotransmission, and, as a result, in schizophrenia. In addition, it also plays a part in reward processing which the patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders lack.

THC is the most dangerous compound of cannabis for people which schizophrenia. This component is psychoactive. However, there are many other compounds in the plant that are not psychoactive and completely safe.

Matthijs Bossong, Ph.D., from the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, studies the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in schizophrenia's symptoms. He found out that patients who suffer from this disease have higher levels of endogenous cannabinoids in their bodies. He also found many similarities between the brain functions among the schizophrenia patients and the cannabis-intoxicated volunteers.

In fact, cannabis consumption may pose a problem for people with schizophrenia. A study, published in 2014, shows that almost a half of schizophrenia suffering patients have comorbid cannabis-use disorder that only worsens their condition. Another study proves that the deficit of reward processing may cause patients with any psychotic illness to consume marijuana even more often.

But is cannabis use such a bad idea for patients with psychosis? Why do they show a bigger tendency towards marijuana use? Considering the increasing popularity of weed among patients with schizophrenia, the scientists began a search for those compounds of the plant that may be used in alleviating the symptoms of the disease.

Unlike THC, another plant's component—cannabidiol—is famous for its properties that reduce the psychoactive effects of the former compound. Until recently, the scientists believed that CBD does not play any serious medical role. However, today, they find more and more ways that the component helps us.

A few studies prove that CBD can reduce psychotic symptoms that are caused by the use of high THC doses. Cannabidiol can act like an atypical antipsychotic drug. It was also reported effective in clinical trials among patients with schizophrenia.

Although the whole connection between cannabis and psychotic illnesses has not been fully studied yet, there is a great potential in the field that inspires numerous new studies.

As with all medical marijuana aspects, we recommend visiting and consulting a doctor—they are the ones qualified to decide whether you should become one of the people with medical marijuana cards.

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