CBD as a Natural Antipsychotic Drug
Antipsychotics are a class of medicines that are used as treatment for patients with serious mental conditions. Some of the common mental conditions that antipsychotics are used for include:
- Mania (caused by bipolar disorder)
- Drug-induced psychosis
- Delusional disorder
- Severe anxiety or depression
Mental illness plagues our society today, and oftentimes they are so debilitating and change one’s life completely, not to mention the financial and emotional burden placed on families and loved ones of those affected. Depression and anxiety are more widespread, but according to the World Health Organization, one out of 4 people already live with a mental condition. Given the sheer number of people affected by mental illness, there’s no doubt that there is a need for a safe, natural antipsychotic to help patients.
Antipsychotics work by adjusting how certain chemicals work in the brain; specifically serotonin (antidepressants included), dopamine, noradrenaline, and acetycholine. These chemicals all have a huge impact on your mood, behavior, and emotions. When you take antipsychotic drugs, they can prevent you from experiencing delusions, thought disorders, and extreme mood swings.
Some of the most commonly used antidepressants and antianxiety medications include:
While some of the most commonly prescribed antipsychotics include:
Unfortunately, many patients don’t find relief from using antipsychotics. Even worse, these drugs come with terrible side effects such as:
- Weight gain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Slowed thinking
- Difficulty speaking
- Loss of balance control
- Sluggishness, fatigue
- Stiffness of joints
- Tardive dyskinesia
In general, antipsychotics are major tranquilizers. They tend to deliver mild sedation, a feeling of contentment although sometimes these medications induce restlessness, discomfort, and drowsiness. Increasing the dosage of medications can result in sleepiness, and these drugs also pose the risk for abuse and overdose.
How CBD Can Help
Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, shows promise as a natural and safe alternative to these pharmaceutical drugs without any side effects. On the other hand, tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), the compound that gets you high, requires much more research as there is conflicting evidence that it may actually worsen or induce psychosis in some patients. From what we know so far, consuming THC especially in high amounts isn’t beneficial for patients who already have mania or psychosis; however CBD is a different story.
A study conducted by the University of California-Irvine revealed that CBD may be effective in treating schizophrenia just as well as other antipsychotic medications for the condition, and at a lesser cost. According to Daniele Piomelli, co-author of the study and professor of pharmacology at UC-Irvine, “The results were amazing, not only was CBD as effective as standard antipsychotic drugs, but it was also essentially free of the typical side effects seen with antipsychotic drugs.”
Despite the mounting evidence that CBD acts the same as antipsychotic medications, there is also increasing data about the importance of choosing the right strain because the ratio of THC to CBD will affect the success, or lack of, when using it for medication.
Additionally, CBD is much more fast-acting whereas pharmaceutical drugs often take several days or weeks for its effects to be felt. For patients who have severe episodes, this can be brutal. In a study, researchers analyzed the effectiveness of CBD in animal models with depressive and anxious behavior. Once they were injected with CBD, the mice began to show normal behavior once again.
Cannabis or Isolated CBD?
For the most part, we know that whole-plant medicine will always be more effective in treating several (even life-threatening) conditions due to the entourage effect. From cancer to depression, whole plant medicine usually provides patients with much better results. However, in the case of mental illness, there’s much more evidence that isolated CBD such as in the form of oil or extremely high CBD strains is much more effective. This is why understanding the ratio of THC to CBD in the strains you use is extremely important.