Schizophrenia is a chronic medical condition that disrupts mental health. It may appear from adolescence up to the age of 35. According to the World Health Organisation, this condition affects around 24 million people worldwide—i.e. 1 every 300 people. Schizophrenia has a high degree of interference in the life of the patient, and it presents itself in the form of acute episodes, known as psychotic breaks, and relapses. The most noticeable behavioural changes are the occurrence of delirious thoughts and hallucinations. Apart from acute psychotic episodes, patients experience a marked inability to socialise because of a persistent impairment of cognitive or brain-based skills, such as memory, attention, and problem solving.
Patients are indicated a comprehensive treatment targeting several aspects of this condition with the purpose of achieving social interaction. Priority should be given not only to containing and preventing acute episodes through individual-, group- and family-oriented therapeutic strategies, but also to developing life-related aspects such as social and occupational integration. On most occasions, pharmaceutical treatments consist in the prescription of antipsychotic drugs. Schizophrenia is frequently associated with high levels of anxiety and a significant impairment in several spheres of life, including a patient’s personal and social life, family, education, work, and other relevant matters, which is why a comprehensive intervention is needed.
Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis
Prohibition advocates have pushed patients away from cannabis use, especially by fabricating a relationship between this plant and schizophrenia. However, the latest research developments indicate the antipsychotic effect of cannabidiol (CBD) serves as a good drug therapy for this condition. Studies show there are changes in the endocannabinoid system that may contribute to treating schizophrenia. Schizophrenic patients show altered endocannabinoid levels in blood and cerebrospinal fluid, prompting a disruption of 2-AG and anandamide concentrations in the brain.
A 2012 study compared the antipsychotic effect of CBD with that of amisulpride. Both proved to be safe and resulted in a significant clinical improvement, but side effects were more tolerable in the case of CBD. CBD treatment also showed a significant increase in serum anandamide levels, associated with clinic improvement.
Still, although this evidence is related to the antipsychotic effect of pure CBD administered in high doses, more and more families are turning to homemade preparations using plants rich in CBD as a plant-based supplementary therapy. Patients and their families claim that, in this way, they require a smaller amount of psychotropic drugs to control symptoms, and they also report less cases of treatment‑refractory schizophrenia as compared with the traditional treatment. It is worth noting that scientific research uses high doses of isolated CBD, while homemade extracts contain a lower CBD concentration, but they also feature other cannabinoids and terpenes.