A compound found in marijuana can treat schizophrenia as effectively as antipsychotic medications, with far fewer side effects, according to a preliminary clinical trial. Researchers led by Markus Leweke of the University of Cologne in Germany studied 39 people with schizophrenia who were hospitalized for a psychotic episode. Nineteen patients were treated with amisulpride, an antipsychotic medication that is not approved in the U.S., but is comparable to other medications that are.

The rest of the patients were given cannabidiol (CBD), a substance found in marijuana that is thought to be responsible for some of its mellowing or anxiety-reducing effects. Unlike the main ingredient in marijuana, THC, which can produce psychotic reactions and may worsen schizophrenia, CBD has antipsychotic effects, according to previous research in both animals and humans.

The use of CBD for schizophrenia is becoming more and more common. Studies from around the world are showing great promise and my own experience with these patients and modest doses of high ratio CBD:THC dosed extracts are working very well for many.

Here are a number of references:

1.Cannabidiol exhibits anxiolytic but not antipsychotic property evaluated in the social interaction test.
 Almeida V, Levin R, Peres FF, Niigaki ST, Calzavara MB, Zuardi AW, Hallak JE, Crippa JA, Abílio VC.
 Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Mar 5;41:30-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2012.10.024. Epub 2012 Nov 2.
 PMID: 23127569 [PubMed – in process]
 Related citations
2.Medical use of cannabis. Cannabidiol: a new light for schizophrenia?
 Deiana S.
 Drug Test Anal. 2013 Jan;5(1):46-51. doi: 10.1002/dta.1425. Epub 2012 Oct 25.
 PMID: 23109356 [PubMed – in process]
 Related citations
3.Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia.
 Leweke FM, Piomelli D, Pahlisch F, Muhl D, Gerth CW, Hoyer C, Klosterkötter J, Hellmich M, Koethe D.
 Transl Psychiatry. 2012 Mar 20;2:e94. doi: 10.1038/tp.2012.15.
 PMID: 22832859 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
 Related citations
4.A critical review of the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol: 30 years of a translational investigation.
 Zuardi AW, Crippa JA, Hallak JE, Bhattacharyya S, Atakan Z, Martin-Santos R, McGuire PK, Guimarães FS.
 Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(32):5131-40.
 PMID: 22716160 [PubMed – in process]
 Related citations
5.The endocannabinoid system and schizophrenia: integration of evidence.
 Zamberletti E, Rubino T, Parolaro D.
 Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(32):4980-90.
 PMID: 22716159 [PubMed – in process]
 Related citations
6.Subjective and physiological effects of oromucosal sprays containing cannabinoids (nabiximols): potentials and limitations for psychosis research.
 Schoedel KA, Harrison SJ.
 Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(32):5008-14.
 PMID: 22716155 [PubMed – in process]
 Related citations
7.Antipsychotic-like effects of cannabidiol and rimonabant: systematic review of animal and human studies.
 Roser P, Haussleiter IS.
 Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(32):5141-55.
 PMID: 22716153 [PubMed – in process]
 Related citations
8.Antipsychotic profile of cannabidiol and rimonabant in an animal model of emotional context processing in schizophrenia.
 Levin R, Almeida V, Peres FF, Calzavara MB, da Silva ND, Suiama MA, Niigaki ST, Zuardi AW, Hallak JE, Crippa JA, Abílio VC.
 Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(32):4960-5.
 PMID: 22716146 [PubMed – in process]
 Related citations
9.Potential protective effects of cannabidiol on neuroanatomical alterations in cannabis users and psychosis: a critical review.
 Hermann D, Schneider M.
 Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(32):4897-905.
 PMID: 22716143 [PubMed – in process]
 Related citations
10.Neural mechanisms for the cannabinoid modulation of cognition and affect in man: a critical review of neuroimaging studies.
 Bhattacharyya S, Atakan Z, Martin-Santos R, Crippa JA, McGuire PK.
 Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(32):5045-54.
 PMID: 22716136 [PubMed – in process]
 Related citations
11.The yin and yang of cannabis-induced psychosis: the actions of Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in rodent models of schizophrenia.
 Arnold JC, Boucher AA, Karl T.
 Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(32):5113-30.
 PMID: 22716133 [PubMed – in process]
 Related citations
12.Cannabidiol for neurodegenerative disorders: important new clinical applications for this phytocannabinoid?
 Fernández-Ruiz J, Sagredo O, Pazos MR, García C, Pertwee R, Mechoulam R, Martínez-Orgado J.
 Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Feb;75(2):323-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04341.x.
 PMID: 22625422 [PubMed – in process]
 Related citations
13.Distinct neurobehavioural effects of cannabidiol in transmembrane domain neuregulin 1 mutant mice.
 Long LE, Chesworth R, Huang XF, Wong A, Spiro A, McGregor IS, Arnold JC, Karl T.
 PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34129. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034129. Epub 2012 Apr 3.
 PMID: 22509273 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
 Related citations
14.Cannabidiol and clozapine reverse MK-801-induced deficits in social interaction and hyperactivity in Sprague-Dawley rats.
 Gururajan A, Taylor DA, Malone DT.
 J Psychopharmacol. 2012 Oct;26(10):1317-32. doi: 10.1177/0269881112441865. Epub 2012 Apr 9.
 PMID: 22495620 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
15.Blurred boundaries: the therapeutics and politics of medical marijuana.
 Bostwick JM.
 Mayo Clin Proc. 2012 Feb;87(2):172-86. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2011.10.003. Review.
 PMID: 22305029 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
 Related citations
16.Induction of psychosis by Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol reflects modulation of prefrontal and striatal function during attentional salience processing.
 Bhattacharyya S, Crippa JA, Allen P, Martin-Santos R, Borgwardt S, Fusar-Poli P, Rubia K, Kambeitz J, O’Carroll C, Seal ML, Giampietro V, Brammer M, Zuardi AW, Atakan Z, McGuire PK.
 Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012 Jan;69(1):27-36. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.161.
 PMID: 22213786 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
17.[Does cannabis use lead to schizophrenia?].
 Heekeren K.
 Praxis (Bern 1994). 2011 Nov 2;100(22):1361-7. doi: 10.1024/1661-8157/a000714. Review. German.
 PMID: 22048912 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
18.Endocannabinoid system and psychiatry: in search of a neurobiological basis for detrimental and potential therapeutic effects.
 Marco EM, García-Gutiérrez MS, Bermúdez-Silva FJ, Moreira FA, Guimarães F, Manzanares J, Viveros MP.
 Front Behav Neurosci. 2011;5:63. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2011.00063. Epub 2011 Oct 5.
 PMID: 22007164 [PubMed] Free PMC Article
 Related citations
19.Endocannabinoid system dysfunction in mood and related disorders.
 Ashton CH, Moore PB.
 Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2011 Oct;124(4):250-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01687.x. Epub 2011 Mar 9. Review.
 PMID: 21916860 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
20.Association between a cannabinoid receptor gene (CNR1) polymorphism and cannabinoid-induced alterations of the auditory event-related P300 potential.
 Stadelmann AM, Juckel G, Arning L, Gallinat J, Epplen JT, Roser P.
 Neurosci Lett. 2011 May 27;496(1):60-4. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2011.04.003. Epub 2011 Apr 12.
 PMID: 21513772 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
21.Effect of cannabidiol in a MK-801-rodent model of aspects of schizophrenia.
 Gururajan A, Taylor DA, Malone DT.
 Behav Brain Res. 2011 Sep 23;222(2):299-308. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.03.053. Epub 2011 Mar 31.
 PMID: 21458498 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
22.The interplay of cannabinoid and NMDA glutamate receptor systems in humans: preliminary evidence of interactive effects of cannabidiol and ketamine in healthy human subjects.
 Hallak JE, Dursun SM, Bosi DC, de Macedo LR, Machado-de-Sousa JP, Abrão J, Crippa JA, McGuire P, Krystal JH, Baker GB, Zuardi AW.
 Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Jan 15;35(1):198-202. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2010.11.002. Epub 2010 Nov 7.
 PMID: 21062637 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
23.[Therapeutical use of the cannabinoids in psychiatry].
 Crippa JA, Zuardi AW, Hallak JE.
 Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2010 May;32 Suppl 1:S56-66. Review. Portuguese.
 PMID: 20512271 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free Article
 Related citations
24.The endocannabinoid system and psychiatric disorders.
 Parolaro D, Realini N, Vigano D, Guidali C, Rubino T.
 Exp Neurol. 2010 Jul;224(1):3-14. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2010.03.018. Epub 2010 Mar 29. Review.
 PMID: 20353783 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
25.Performance of schizophrenic patients in the Stroop Color Word Test and electrodermal responsiveness after acute administration of cannabidiol (CBD).
 Hallak JE, Machado-de-Sousa JP, Crippa JA, Sanches RF, Trzesniak C, Chaves C, Bernardo SA, Regalo SC, Zuardi AW.
 Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2010 Mar;32(1):56-61.
 PMID: 20339735 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free Article
 Related citations
26.Potential antipsychotic properties of central cannabinoid (CB1) receptor antagonists.
 Roser P, Vollenweider FX, Kawohl W.
 World J Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Mar;11(2 Pt 2):208-19. doi: 10.3109/15622970801908047. Review.
 PMID: 20218784 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
27.A behavioural comparison of acute and chronic Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in C57BL/6JArc mice.
 Long LE, Chesworth R, Huang XF, McGregor IS, Arnold JC, Karl T.
 Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2010 Aug;13(7):861-76. doi: 10.1017/S1461145709990605. Epub 2009 Sep 29.
 PMID: 19785914 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
28.Cannabidiol reverses the reduction in social interaction produced by low dose Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol in rats.
 Malone DT, Jongejan D, Taylor DA.
 Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2009 Aug;93(2):91-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2009.04.010. Epub 2009 Apr 23.
 PMID: 19393686 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
29.Modulation of mediotemporal and ventrostriatal function in humans by Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol: a neural basis for the effects of Cannabis sativa on learning and psychosis.
 Bhattacharyya S, Fusar-Poli P, Borgwardt S, Martin-Santos R, Nosarti C, O’Carroll C, Allen P, Seal ML, Fletcher PC, Crippa JA, Giampietro V, Mechelli A, Atakan Z, McGuire P.
 Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009 Apr;66(4):442-51. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.17.
 PMID: 19349314 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
30.Psychomotor performance in relation to acute oral administration of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and standardized cannabis extract in healthy human subjects.
 Roser P, Gallinat J, Weinberg G, Juckel G, Gorynia I, Stadelmann AM.
 Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2009 Aug;259(5):284-92. doi: 10.1007/s00406-009-0868-5. Epub 2009 Feb 17.
 PMID: 19224107 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
31.What is the mechanism whereby cannabis use increases risk of psychosis?
 Luzi S, Morrison PD, Powell J, di Forti M, Murray RM.
 Neurotox Res. 2008 Oct;14(2-3):105-12. doi: 10.1007/BF03033802. Review.
 PMID: 19073418 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
32.Cannabidiol: from an inactive cannabinoid to a drug with wide spectrum of action.
 Zuardi AW.
 Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2008 Sep;30(3):271-80. Review.
 PMID: 18833429 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free Article
 Related citations
33.Cannabis and schizophrenia: towards a cannabinoid hypothesis of schizophrenia.
 Müller-Vahl KR, Emrich HM.
 Expert Rev Neurother. 2008 Jul;8(7):1037-48. doi: 10.1586/14737175.8.7.1037. Review.
 PMID: 18590475 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
34.Effects of acute oral Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and standardized cannabis extract on the auditory P300 event-related potential in healthy volunteers.
 Roser P, Juckel G, Rentzsch J, Nadulski T, Gallinat J, Stadelmann AM.
 Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2008 Aug;18(8):569-77. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2008.04.008. Epub 2008 Jun 10.
 PMID: 18544469 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
35.Effects of cannabidiol on schizophrenia-like symptoms in people who use cannabis.
 Morgan CJ, Curran HV.
 Br J Psychiatry. 2008 Apr;192(4):306-7. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.107.046649.
 PMID: 18378995 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free Article
 Related citations
36.Acute effects of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and standardized cannabis extract on the auditory evoked mismatch negativity.
 Juckel G, Roser P, Nadulski T, Stadelmann AM, Gallinat J.
 Schizophr Res. 2007 Dec;97(1-3):109-17. Epub 2007 Sep 19.
 PMID: 17884351 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
37.Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex N-acetylaspartate/total creatine (NAA/tCr) loss in male recreational cannabis users.
 Hermann D, Sartorius A, Welzel H, Walter S, Skopp G, Ende G, Mann K.
 Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Jun 1;61(11):1281-9. Epub 2007 Jan 17.
 PMID: 17239356 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
38.Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an antipsychotic drug.
 Zuardi AW, Crippa JA, Hallak JE, Moreira FA, Guimarães FS.
 Braz J Med Biol Res. 2006 Apr;39(4):421-9. Epub 2006 Apr 3. Review.
 PMID: 16612464 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free Article
 Related citations
39.Cannabidiol monotherapy for treatment-resistant schizophrenia.
 Zuardi AW, Hallak JE, Dursun SM, Morais SL, Sanches RF, Musty RE, Crippa JA.
 J Psychopharmacol. 2006 Sep;20(5):683-6. Epub 2006 Jan 9.
 PMID: 16401651 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
 Grotenhermen F.
 Curr Drug Targets CNS Neurol Disord. 2005 Oct;4(5):507-30. Review.
 PMID: 16266285 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
41.Cannabidiol reverses MK-801-induced disruption of prepulse inhibition in mice.
 Long LE, Malone DT, Taylor DA.
 Neuropsychopharmacology. 2006 Apr;31(4):795-803.
 PMID: 16052245 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free Article
 Related citations
42.Cannabis-based medicines–GW pharmaceuticals: high CBD, high THC, medicinal cannabis–GW pharmaceuticals, THC:CBD.
 [No authors listed]
 Drugs R D. 2003;4(5):306-9. Review.
 PMID: 12952500 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
43.Different effects of nabilone and cannabidiol on binocular depth inversion in Man.
 Leweke FM, Schneider U, Radwan M, Schmidt E, Emrich HM.
 Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2000 May;66(1):175-81.
 PMID: 10837858 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
44.Antipsychotic effect of cannabidiol.
 Zuardi AW, Morais SL, Guimarães FS, Mechoulam R.
 J Clin Psychiatry. 1995 Oct;56(10):485-6. No abstract available.
 PMID: 7559378 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Related citations
Allan Frankel, MD Dr Allan Frankel is one of the few physicians in the US who truly understands Cannabis as a medicine. All treatments suggested have been well studied. Every patient seen by Dr Frankel is given a personally created Treatment Plan created with the patient's specific issues defined. Plant medicine requires "tuning" of the dosing. Dr Frankel works with his patients thru a messaging portal. The use of this portal, allows quick and simple follow up contact with Dr Frankel. Patients are not charged for these messages, as this is how Dr Frankel has learned what he has learned. Follow up appointments in person or by phone/video are also available when needed

You Might Also Enjoy...

Rationing Health Care

With COVID, we have never been more aware of critical shortages of masks, ventilators, hospital beds, etc., all leading to rationing. In this BLOG, Dr Frankel, examines how rationing in our medical care is a much bigger problem than just face masks.

Cannabis May Prevent COVID-19 Infections

Early studies in both Israel and Canada show findings consistent with CBD's effect on COVID-19's ability to take hold in the lungs or the gastrointestinal tract. If the receptors are reduced, the viral infection and pulmonary toxicity should be reduced.