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Can CBD Help Treat Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by distorted thinking, difficulty functioning, and a general abnormality in relating to external surroundings. It may vary widely from person to person, and can last indefinitely. Treatment typically includes some combination of anti-psychotic medication, and psychotherapy and/or social interventions. While some evidence suggests CBD can reduce psychotic symptoms, more research is ultimately needed.

How Is Schizophrenia Identified?

Schizophrenia is generally diagnosed after recurrent displays of associated symptoms. In general, the symptoms are characterized as an abnormal way of relating to and processing reality. In practice, they can vary widely. In addition to the symptoms above, the following symptoms can be present in individuals dealing with schizophrenia:

•         Unusual motor behavior, including a lack of response to others or external stimuli, strange or unnecessary movements, and general disorder in physical behavior

•         Inability to communicate in an effective or coherent way, including disorganized responses and garbled or meaningless speech

•         “Negative symptoms,” including failure to make eye contact, lack of interest in activities or surroundings, neglect of personal hygiene, and similar behaviors

Individuals displaying these qualities — particularly in young adulthood — may be referred to a doctor, who can make a diagnosis of schizophrenia based on physical tests and a psychological exam.

How Is Schizophrenia Treated?

Despite many innovations in mental health treatment, schizophrenia treatment is still relatively imperfect. It often involves any number of anti-psychotic medications — including clozapine, aripiprazole, paliperidone, and many other drugs — which can help to manage symptoms, but may also have notable side effects.

Psychosocial treatment can also be useful, including individual and family therapy, as well as social and vocational skills training.

Can CBD Help Treat Schizophrenia?

There is some evidence that CBD reduces psychotic symptoms, particularly in early stages of psychosis, suggesting CBD may have a role to play in treating schizophrenia. However, more research is certainly needed to fully determine the potentially therapeutic role of CBD in treating schizophrenia. 

Because schizophrenia is a complex disorder that manifests in very different ways in unique individuals, it is essential to consult with a medical professional before using CBD to treat symptoms of schizophrenia.

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