Cannabinoids and Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that dramatically alters the perception of reality and thought. People with the disorder suffer from hallucinations, delusions, paranoid beliefs and disorganized thinking and language.

This mental disease is a disabling disorder causing psychiatric symptoms. The cause is related to disturbances in the developing central nervous system (CNS ) . Early symptoms often occur during puberty and may lead to the further development of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia (Rapport et al, 2005)

Treating Schizophrenia with medical cannabis | Kalapa Clinic


  • Antipsychotic
  • Not a neuroleptic
  • Decreases cognitive impairment
  • Treatment for acute schizophrenia


The psychoactive effect of cannabidiol allows treatment for acute schizophrenia, when the levels of THC contained are lower than 0.2%. There are also studies that show improved cognitive levels.

Types of Cannabinoids that interact with Schizophrenia

An essential neurotransmitter that plays a role in the development of schizophrenia is dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter present in various areas of the brain and the antagonists of these dopamine neurotransmitters are cannabinoids.

Dopamine-producing cells are located in the reticulated part of the substantia nigra of the midbrain. This area also contains groups of cannabinoid receptors and therefore, cannabidiol (CBD) is attributed to the beneficial medicinal effects for treating psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia. (Muller-Vahl Kirsten, 1999).

Cannabidiol significantly reduces psychopathological disorders due to its antipsychotic effects and has fewer adverse side effects than traditional medicine. Many patients with schizophrenia experience adverse side effects from their neuroleptic medications that are similar to Parkinsonian symptoms; therefore, they turn to CBD to help them with managing these side effects.

What are the researchers saying about cannabinoids?

The Universities of both Hamburg and Cologne in Germany have conducted research using patients diagnosed with schizophrenia who have gone through cannabinoid treatment. In the study, they investigated the cerebral gray matter of the brain in patients using cannabis and patients not using cannabis. The research showed that patients using CBD had a higher density of cerebral gray matter and experienced less severe cognitive impairment, concluding that “results may support the hypothesis of a lower biological vulnerability at least in a subgroup of schizophrenic patients and cannabinoid consumers.[1]

Moreover, the Department of Psychiatry, Socio-Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Medical School of Hannover Germany, clinical analysis on Cannabinoids and schizophrenia: Where is the link ?, concluded after a trial that “the CBD can be an effective treatment for acute schizophrenia “and marked the endocannabinoid system” as a new treatment for this disease.” [2]

Another study on CBD and schizophrenia showed that cannabidiol could be a valuable treatment for patients with this disease. They showed that CBD works in a very similar way to other antipsychotic substances, without having to confront the side effects that lead to other treatments. [3]

In the cannabis plant there are more than 100 different cannabinoids. CBD and THC are the most widely used in the therapeutic field. In the case of schizophrenia, the benefits of medicinal cannabis fall exclusively in CBD as THC could have negative effects on the evolution of the disease.

Bibliography for Schizophrenia and Cannabinoids

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Other articles about cannabinoids and different conditions.