Prohibitionists in the UK have long claimed that cannabis causes psychosis. However, new research is showing that CBD – a compound derived from cannabis – may actually offer an effective treatment for symptoms of mental disorders.
This important new research highlights the value of using CBD alongside THC in order to reduce any potential psychotic symptoms.
So what’s the truth about cannabis and psychosis?
Well, when it comes to cannabis, there really are two sides to the story. You see, cannabis contains hundreds of unique compounds in countless combinations. Many of these compounds have very different effects on the human brain and body.
The two most prevalent compounds in cannabis are CBD and THC – both of which part of a group of compounds called cannabinoids. And the fact that these two cannabinoids can seem to have opposing effects is why the cannabis debate has been so decisive over recent decades.
But let us be frank here. No causative relationship has been found between cannabis and any form of psychosis. Previous research has found that cannabis use is linked to mental health disorders, but this means little in terms of causation.
That said, we at High & Polite believe in openness and honesty, and to deny that cannabis may contribute to poor mental health would be wrong. In fact, studies have shown that just a single dose of THC can induce temporary psychotic symptoms in subjects. Cannabis has also found to be a risk factor for psychosis.
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, 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 probably plays a big part in this.
With the potential risks of THC in mind, a new study has found that a high dose of CBD was able to reduce brain function abnormalities seen in people with psychosis.
Scientists working out of King’s College of London last week published a study which backs up previous findings that shows CBD has antipsychotic properties and can negate the negative effects of THC.
The researchers looked at a group of 33 young people who were experiencing distressing psychotic symptoms but had not yet been diagnosed with psychosis. A single dose (600mg) of CBD was given to 16 subjects while the other 17 received a placebo.
All participants were studied in an MRI scanner while performing a memory task which engages three regions of the brain known to be involved in psychosis.
As expected, the brain activity in the participants at risk of psychosis was abnormal compared to healthy people. However, among those who had the large dose of CBD, the abnormal brain activity was less severe than for those who received a placebo, suggesting CBD can help “re-adjust” brain activity to normal levels.
The study concluded that “the influence of cannabidiol (CBD) on these three brain regions could underlie its therapeutic effects on psychotic symptoms.”
Why you should consume CBD alongside THC
If we take a bird’s eye picture of all the research available, as well as anecdotal evidence, it seems that THC can lead to – even if temporary – some of the symptoms associated with psychosis. CBD, on the other hand, has broadly opposite neurological and behavioural effects.
Therefore, anyone who is consuming large amounts of THC regularly should really consider using CBD as well – especially if they ever experience anxiety or paranoia from THC, which is very common.
Mixing CBD with THC
If you have consumed cannabis then chances are it had high concentrations of THC and hardly any CBD. This is because cannabis has been bred for its euphoric ‘high’ – caused by THC.
But now that the world is coming round to cannabis and legalisation is sweeping the globe, we are learning more about the power of CBD and its ability to negate the negative effects of THC.
Personally, I have found mixing CBD-rich cannabis with my THC-rich cannabis makes my ‘high’ a lot more manageable and enjoyable. I can feel the potent psychological effects of THC but am still able to read, socialise and work. You can read more about my experiences with CBD flower here.
You don’t have to use CBD flower, however. There is now a huge range of CBD products on sale in the UK. You could also use a CBD oil before and after your smoke. You could add CBD crystals to your joint. You could even throw in some CBD hash.
Alternatively, you could use a balanced strain with both THC and CBD, but unless you are in a place where cannabis is legal, this could be easier said than done.
Cannabis a wonderful substance that helps a lot of people and, when compared to other intoxicants such as alcohol, is extremely safe. That doesn’t mean it can’t be abused, however. While it does has tremendous therapeutic value, for some people cannabis can negatively affect their mental health. This is largely down to high levels of THC.
Newly-published research has confirmed previous studies that show CBD has potent antipsychotic properties and the power reduce THC-induced anxiety and paranoia. This suggests that using CBD alongside THC may help protect the individual’s mental health.
If you suffer from weed anxiety, paranoia, or other such mental issues when consuming cannabis, please give CBD a try. It could help you to handle your highs and get the most out of this incredible plant.
Feature image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinalonsophotography/