A recent clinical trial has found a possible link between the use of CBD cigarettes and a reduction in antipsychotic medication use in patients with psychotic disorders including schizophrenia.
The trial, which was published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, is the first to study the effects of smoking CBD-rich hemp as a complementary therapy for psychotic symptoms.
While both groups in the study (CBD and non-CBD smokers) saw similar reductions in psychotic symptoms and depression, the CBD smoking group used less antipsychotic medication.
However, the study has a few holes. It was a small study sample to start with over 30% of participants dropping out and one from the CBD group even dying from opiates during the study.
“Hence, a larger study sample and a more rigorous study design (blinding of the interventional product, fixed dosing regimen) may reveal different results”, the researchers note.
High dropout rate
They also think the higher dropout rate for the placebo group could be down to the participants knowing they weren’t getting the CBD cigarettes and that the brand was not well liked.
Findings from a clinical trial in 2002 suggest CBD boosts anandamide signaling in the brain to reduce psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. It performed as well as one of the most effective drugs used to treat schizophrenia (amisulpride), but CBD had less side effects.
Is there a link between THC and psychosis?
While CBD appears to have antipsychotic properties, THC – the other famous cannabinoid – is known to cause short-term psychotic symptoms at high doses.
No causative relationship has been found between THC and any form of psychosis, but previous research shows that cannabis use is associated with mental health disorders. And associated does not mean causation.
This recent study on twins suggests that THC use has little impact on rates of psychosis. Its authors conclude: “The results suggest this association is likely attributable to familial confounds rather than a causal effect of cannabis exposure.”
Speaking from personal experience, THC acts as an amplifier. This means it certainly has the ability to amplify any negative feelings one may be experiencing or repressing, which over time can contribute to poor mental health.
But it’s also worth noting that not everyone is affected in the same fashion. Some people are, of course, more susceptible than others, and genetics play a part in this.