Psychosis and schizophrenia

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A psychosis is a disorder in the perception of reality. A person who has a psychotic episode can no longer properly distinguish his own thoughts from reality. There may also be hallucinations or delusions. Psychosis is generally accompanied by strong anxiety. Someone diagnosed with schizophrenia has had at least one psychosis, but often someone with schizophrenia has had several psychoses in his life. In addition to that people with schizophrenia often have a lowered level of social, mental and/or emotional functioning [1].

There are indications that CBD has a beneficial effect on the symptoms of psychosis and schizophrenia.


In order to investigate the anti-psychotic effects of CBD, an experiment was carried out in which subjects were administered ketamine to mimic psychotic experiences [2]. Ketamine is a drug which is known for its effects of depersonalization (detachment of one’s own body or mind). In this study, CBD suppressed this effect. There are also case-studies described in scientific literature in which patients with psychosis were administered CBD for a period of time. One of these cases was a psychotic patient who could not tolerate the regular medication [3]. During a period of 4 weeks, this individual was administered a high dose of CBD. This led to a reduction in psychotic symptoms, which returned when CBD was discontinued.


There are also some more recent studies that were performed on a bigger scale. In one of these studies, CBD was compared with traditional antipsychotics in a larger group of patients [4]. It was found that CBD was as effective in controlling psychotic symptoms as conventional antipsychotics, but with the advantage that the side effects of CBD were much less. Possibly, this result can be explained by the fact that CBD has a beneficial effect on the release of the neurotransmitter anandamide. Anandamide is involved in many important bodily processes.

CBD in the present study shows the potential to be used as an antipsychotic in the future. Further research is in progress.


Advice for use of cannabinoids in psychosis or schizophrenia

When you are currently taking medication for psychosis or schizophrenia, always consult with your prescribing doctor or psychiatrist first. When you do choose to take CBD, you can for example opt for hemp oil with CBD. Make sure you choose a substance that contains little or no THC, as THC can actually have a negative effect on psychotic symptoms. Click here to read more about safe use of cannabinoids.




  1. Zuardi, A.W., Crippa, J.A.S., Hallak, J.E.C., Moreira, F.A. and Guimarães, F.S. (2006). Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an antipsychotic drug. Braz J Med Biol Res, 39(4) 421-429.
  1. Zuardi, A.W., Morais, S.L., Guimarães, F.S., Mechoulam, R. (1995). Antipsychotic effect of cannabidiol. Journal of clinical psychiatry, 56: 485-86.
  1. Leweke, F.M., Piomelli, D., Pahlisch, F. (2012). Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signalling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizofrenia. Transl psychiatry, Published online, 2012 Mar 20.





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