The relationship between weed, or cannabis, and schizophrenia is complex. Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical substance in cannabis, could help manage schizophrenia. However, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another compound in the plant, may induce or exacerbate the condition. Doctors do not currently recommend cannabis to treat people with schizophrenia.
Cannabis is a natural plant with recreational and medicinal properties. Researchers continue to investigate the potential health benefits of the plant and how it may affect physical and mental health. Cannabis contains
This article will explore the connection between cannabis and schizophrenia and whether people living with schizophrenia can use cannabis.
Schizophrenia is a mental health condition affecting speech, thinking, and emotions. A person may receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia if they display
- disorganized speech
- very disorganized or catatonic behavior
- symptoms people may describe as negative, including reduced emotional expression
A 2017 study suggests that some substances in cannabis could trigger the condition in susceptible individuals who were likely to develop schizophrenia. However, it can be difficult to distinguish symptoms between schizophrenia and drug-induced psychosis.
Another 2017 study suggests that CBD may have beneficial effects and could help lower levels of schizophrenia symptoms. Similarly, a
A 2021 systematic review notes there is currently insufficient evidence for the effect of THC or CBD on schizophrenia. As such, it does not recommend using recreational or medical cannabis to treat the condition, indicating the need for further research.
According to the
- experience a relapse in symptoms
- experience worsening symptoms
- have longer hospitalization periods
These negative effects may occur even if the individual is taking their schizophrenia medication.
There is also evidence that cannabis use may cause schizophrenia in people with a predisposition to the condition. Some research notes that cannabis use may increase the risk of schizophrenia by
Cannabis has several active ingredients, including THC and CBD. While there is some
However, it is worth noting that if a person uses cannabis instead of CBD isolate, which does not contain any THC, they will likely expose themselves to THC. This may counteract the possible therapeutic benefits of CBD.
CBD is yet to receive approval for treating schizophrenia, and a 2022 narrative review concludes that more research is necessary. However, the authors add that there is sufficient evidence to suggest the promising beneficial effects of CBD in treating those with schizophrenia.
When treating schizophrenia, several different therapeutic options are available. As each person’s experience of schizophrenia will be different, a doctor or psychiatrist will tailor the treatment to suit the individual. Typically, initial treatments will involve the use of antipsychotic drugs. Examples of these
People with schizophrenia can also benefit from nondrug interventions. These might include:
- cognitive behavioral therapy
- art therapy
- drama therapy
- coordinated special care
Anyone who suspects they may be presenting signs of schizophrenia should consult a doctor. The severity, duration, and frequency of symptoms can vary, and the use of illegal drugs can increase symptoms. Possible symptoms of schizophrenia may include:
- disorganized, unfocused, or incoherent speech
- highly disorganized behavior
- catatonic behavior
- diminished emotional expression
- lack of motivation
If a person notices certain negative behaviors or symptoms that frequently occur following cannabis use, it may be advisable for them to stop using it and contact their doctor.
Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that affects a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Various factors can contribute to developing this condition, and they may include the use of certain drugs, such as cannabis, in susceptible individuals.
As such, doctors do not currently recommend cannabis use for people with schizophrenia. This is because THC present in the plant may exacerbate symptoms. However, research suggests that CBD, another chemical present in cannabis, may be a useful treatment option. However, further research is necessary to explore CBD’s therapeutic benefits.