Schizophrenia is a neurological disorder that disrupts thought, a person’s ability to think and feel clearly. Gradually over time symptoms can worsen, causing psychosis episodes that can be detrimental to somebody’s health. Approximately 24 million people, or 1 in 300 people are diagnosed with schizophrenia. In this blog we’ll talk about the effects of schizophrenia on somebody's life, how schizophrenia can come about, and if CBD could potentially help alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia.
What Are The Symptoms of Schizophrenia?
There are a few common misconceptions on schizophrenia on a societal level. For example, it’s a common myth among people who haven’t been around somebody with schizophrenia that people with it have split personalities. A poll performed recently shows that 64% of Americans believe somebody with schizophrenia has multiple personalities. This is not the case, however, and is largely due to the overall rarity and open discussion on the condition. Common symptoms of schizophrenia can be separated into three different categories.
This category is one of the more prevalent ones when it comes to symptoms. Communication with somebody with schizophrenia shows a clear disconnect with thinking and reasoning. In cases untreated, many people show signs of having trouble discerning reality from fiction. This in turn can show bizarre ideas being conveyed or speech. Another aspect of thinking and mental symptoms of schizophrenia includes confusing dreams or a sense of distorted reality. This can manifest as delusions or false beliefs that are not based in reality.
Schizophrenia can directly affect behavior in an individual as well. A lack of motivation and withdrawal from friends and family can be a key sign in early onset symptoms of Schizophrenia, as well as even farther into the diagnosed person’s life. Recreational drug use can also become prevalent, as a way to mask the condition or as a coping mechanism. Trouble sleeping can also be a behavior sign of schizophrenia, as mentioned above, confusing dreams and a distorted reality view can happen, further contributing to sleep troubles.
Emotional symptoms can manifest in a few different ways in somebody with schizophrenia. For one, somebody with the condition is at an increased risk of developing depression over somebody who does not. A lack of general emotion or regulation occurs as well and can contribute to a further disconnect from friends and family, as it interrupts connectivity within a social setting. Altogether, these three categories of symptoms work in conjunction and usually contribute to the delusion of excessive suspicion of others that leads to further self isolation that people with Schizophrenia experience.
How Does Schizophrenia Happen?
The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown. However, research suggests a combination of physical, genetic, and even environmental factors can make it more likely for somebody to develop the condition. The Onset of schizophrenia can vary depending on a few different variables, but symptoms typically start in early adulthood, though could start sooner or later.
Neurotransmitters within the brain are a complex connected web of chemicals in the brain that are responsible for sending signals between brain cells. An imbalance can occur within these neurotransmitters, which can result in the nervous system trying to compensate for the deficiency. Imbalances of these chemicals are believed to contribute to the development of schizophrenia, as well as other mental health conditions. Research on chemical imbalances in the brain has found evidence that dopamine causes an overstimulation of the brain in people with schizophrenia, potentially accounting for some symptoms of the condition. Glutamate, the neurotransmitter in the brain and central nervous system responsible for learning and memory, is another chemical that’s been linked to Schizophrenia. The implications of the research done on imbalances of Dopamine and Glutamate suggest that even minor differences in the brain structure may play a role in the development of the psychiatric disorder.
Another variable that could potentially lead to the onset of schizophrenia is genetics. Genes are considered one of the most significant risks of developing Schizophrenia. The risk runs high with a family member like a parent, sibling, or close relative with the disorder. A combination of genes could make someone more susceptible to schizophrenia, not just one singular gene passed down. An interesting study on twins and Schizophrenia shows evidence that if one identical twin has schizophrenia, the other has a 1 in 2 chance of developing it, even if the twins are raised separately. If a twin is nonidentical and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, the other twin has a 1 in 8 chance of developing the same condition. Discovering how specific genes work in conjunction with each other in the risk of developing schizophrenia has been elusive over the years, but researchers are constantly studying the correlations.
Lastly, we have environmental factors which can be a plethora of different things contributing to the disorder. Trauma or abuse suffered in childhood can be a contributing factor in developing schizophrenia. It’s a severe form of stress that can even change the overall development of a child and how they interpret the world around them. Childhood trauma is associated with impaired working memory, executive function, and verbal learning. Another environmental factor that can have an effect is drug abuse. Drugs don’t directly cause Schizophrenia, however, the misuse of certain drugs certainly can. Using amphetamines or cocaine can produce acute bouts of psychosis and may trigger onset symptoms of schizophrenia in those susceptible to it. Several studies conducted on the correlation of people with diagnosed schizophrenia and drug abuse is prevalent and highlights the increased risk of it happening due to the neurological condition.
Common Misconceptions About Schizophrenia
There’s quite a few misinterpretations of schizophrenia in incorrect information and media. A common misconception is the belief that people with Schizophrenia are violent and dangerous. This is not the case and stands on the contrary to the fact that people with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims of violence. They’re more likely to hurt themselves than others. Suicide rates of people with schizophrenia are much higher than those without the neurological condition. Another common misconception is that people with schizophrenia have a split personality, which means somebody acts like they are two different people. Although one of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia are hallucinations and delusion, it’s not the same as something like multiple personality disorder.
With the right treatment and a great support system, people with the condition can be high functioning and productive. People with schizophrenia are often limited by stereotypes and stigma more so than their actual symptoms. Stigma starts with individuals and how they perceive mental illness and schizophrenia. The unfortunate nature of being diagnosed leaves a majority of the people unemployed. Individuals with the condition are six to seven times more likely to be unemployed compared to the general population. Schizophrenia can be ruthless on somebody's self esteem and confidence as well. Many people who experience an episode, whether that is delusion, social isolation, or something else entirely, could end up having little faith in their own capabilities. This is where a good support system can make a massive difference to somebody living with the condition.
The Cannabis Dilemma
It is heavily theorized that high potency THC could lead to an increased risk for psychiatric disorders, such as psychosis, depression, anxiety, and even substance abuse disorder. Whether or not cannabis could induce the extent of these disorders is incredibly illusive to determine due to a vast array of variables that conclude if somebody could possibly have the psychiatric disorders in the first place. Research is being done constantly to answer the cannabis dilemma. Research in 2012 concluded that adolescent marijuana use can contribute to developing psychosis later in adulthood if the person is genetically predisposed to the disorder. So once again, this highlights one of the genetic factors mentioned above of genetics and its significant influence on developing schizophrenia.
A study out of Denmark in 2021 has found that in the past 25 years the number of schizophrenia cases correlated with cannabis use has increased. Initially, only 2 percent of schizophrenia diagnosis in 1995 were associated with cannabis use. By 2015, that percentage had risen by nearly 8 percent. The researchers analyzed decades worth of data from Denmark’s National Health Registry, mostly focusing on extreme users with cannabis treatment disorder. Experts point out that the majority of schizophrenia diagnosis aren’t single handedly being caused by marijuana. There are still a plethora of different factors to influence that, however, studies are showing the issue does still have merit. The evidence that cannabis, specifically THC, can singularly act as a determining factor for developing schizophrenia has not been found and established so far, but studies are being done and cross correlated frequently.
Can CBD Help With Schizophrenia?
Studies on the effects of CBD and schizophrenia are being done consistently to help mitigate the side effects of antipsychotic pharmaceuticals. A 2012 study published by researchers suggested that CBD can be as effective at improving psychotic symptoms as the other standard antipsychotic pharmaceuticals. Almost half of a group of 39 people who were hospitalized for a psychotic episode were given CBD or an antipsychotic known as amisulpride. Those taking CBD had much fewer side effects with the alleviation compared to those taking the amisulpride.
Another study done with researchers at King’s College in London in 2020 using fMRI to examine brain activity of thirteen people diagnosed with psychosis, they were given a single dose of CBD compared to sixteen others that were given a placebo. When participants took one dose of CBD their brain activity became more like their counterparts without the disease. Indication from the study points to CBD having a moderating effect on the altered patterns of brain activity in those with psychosis and schizophrenia.
A more recent study done in 2021 highlights the benefit of administering CBD in the early stages of schizophrenia. The research concluded that CBD may act as a catalyst for a change in brain chemicals associated with psychosis and schizophrenia. Anandamide, one of the first endocannabinoids to be discovered, is a neurotransmitter that binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body. Anandamide is known for stimulating a sense of happiness and mental wellness. The 2021 study mentioned above indicates that CBD may raise Anandamide levels in the brain, furthering potential alleviation of symptoms of schizophrenia and psychosis.
CBD can potentially help a person experiencing schizophrenia and be an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs. The studies highlighting CBD’s involvement with mood and brain activity definitely show its therapeutic potential with no side effects compared to an antipsychotic like Clozapine or Risperdal. Taking one of our Active CBD oil broad spectrum tinctures, CBD isolate gummies, or even full spectrum capsules could make a massive difference to somebody living with schizophrenia. Though there are many misconceptions and stigmas associated with schizophrenia, we strive to help those who feel alienated by the condition feel like they are heard and are appreciated just the way they are. If you ever have any questions about CBD or having difficulty discovering the right product for you, please reach out to us anytime by visiting our stores, calling us toll-free at 1-844-GO-CBD-NOW (462-2366).or chatting with us online!