Medical Marijuana for Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a severe disorder affecting your brain. Those with the condition might imagine people are bent on getting them. Referred to as auditory hallucinations, they can hear voices that aren’t there. When people with schizophrenia talk, they often don’t make any sense. Schizophrenia symptoms typically appear between ages 16 and 30, and men tend to exhibit signs before women. You always don’t get the condition after you turn 45 years old.


Schizophrenia has three primary symptoms:


  • The positive schizophrenia symptoms can affect your actions, thoughts, and behavior can include delusions, hallucinations, strange movements, and difficulty organizing thoughts.

  • The negative schizophrenia symptoms include flat affect and make it hard for you to function normally or show emotions. You can feel withdrawn or depressed.

  • The other symptoms can affect your thought process and include difficulty making decisions, using information, and listening.


Is Marijuana an efficient Treatment for Schizophrenia?

Researchers have found an active ingredient in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), offers antipsychotic effects since it activates CB2 receptors of your endocannabinoid system. Consistent with studies, psychotic disorders link to alterations of your system involved in regulating your endocannabinoid system. As CBD activates your CB2 receptors, it helps modulate your system and, thus, reduces psychotic symptoms. The studies found regular CBD administration attenuates the social withdrawal and cognitive deficits of individuals with schizophrenia.



Research on Medical Marijuana as Treatment for Schizophrenia


  • Marijuana has been touted as an explanation for schizophrenia, research into the efficacy of medical marijuana as a treatment for the disorder is scarce. Other psychiatric medications are similar as they will help some and make things worse for others. But there's a stigma surrounding marijuana that doesn’t hinder the prescribing of those other medications.

  • Some researchers have ignored this stigma and conducted research, knowing an answer for schizophrenia is desperately needed. These studies don't include human trials but are rather observations of the chemical changes wrought by medical marijuana.

  • Some suggest natural endocannabinoid levels are off in patients with schizophrenia. If this difference in endocannabinoid function differs between individuals with schizophrenia, it'd explain why some react well to medical marijuana, et al. respond poorly.

  • Endocannabinoids in a person who is affected by increased cannabinoids within the body could exacerbate whatever problems it’s causing. The other would be true if the person is affected by decreased cannabinoid function.

  • The research suggests the trick is locating the essential components of medical marijuana concerning schizophrenia. During this way, doctors can develop a drug that doesn't trigger psychotic symptoms in people with schizophrenia. If this is often the rationale, some individuals are being helped by it, and a few are suffering.


The Safety of Marijuana as Treatment for Schizophrenia


  • As mentioned above, medical marijuana can intensify the symptoms of schizophrenia. However, it's several benefits as a medicine most other antipsychotic, antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications don't have.

  • According to one study, 90% of individuals who use marijuana don't become addicted. Furthermore, there's no known dosage of marijuana, which can result in death. It’s possible to overdose on most medications given to people with schizophrenia. Because the risk of suicide is comparatively high among individuals with schizophrenia, giving them drugs to assist and are safe is both responsible and compassionate.

  • There is an array of schizophrenia medications available for people with schizophrenia. However, it takes diligent effort on the part of the health care professional as well as the patient to figure out the proper combination of drugs and therapy. People with schizophrenia exhibiting different symptoms have different tolerances for various medicines.

  • It’s common for people with schizophrenia to miss appointments due to their symptoms, cease taking their medications, and be convinced they're not ill. It makes treatment difficult. People who have schizophrenia need compassionate health care providers and understanding support groups who are careful with the treatment of the patient.



Current Schizophrenia Treatments and Their Side Effects

The goal of treatment is to eliminate your symptoms of schizophrenia since the cause remains unknown. Here are some schizophrenia treatment options that are generally prescribed.


Antipsychotics:

Your doctor can prescribe antipsychotic drugs either in pill or liquid form. They’ll administer antipsychotic injections once or twice a month. When starting antipsychotics, you'll experience side effects, but these are usually temporary and get away after several days.


First-generation antipsychotics include:

  • Haloperidol

  • Chlorpromazine

  • Perphenazine

  • Fluphenazine


This class of antipsychotics is more expensive than second-generation antipsychotics, particularly in their generic forms. You have to consider your budget if you want to think about taking first-generation antipsychotics for long-term treatment. The first-generation antipsychotics may cause movement disorders, including dyskinesia — a condition where your brain misfires, causing uncontrollable muscle movements.


Second-generation antipsychotics may cause weight gain leading to health problems like metabolic syndrome. Second-generation antipsychotics include:

  • Brexpiprazole

  • Aripiprazole

  • Iloperidone

  • Asenapine

  • Clozapine

  • Cariprazine


Psychosocial Treatments:

Psychosocial treatments prove helpful once your doctor puts you on medication. These treatments assist you in performing effectively at work or school by teaching you ways to use coping skills to tackle the day-to-day challenges of your condition. If you participate in psychosocial treatment regularly, you’re less likely to experience a relapse or be hospitalized.


Various psychosocial treatments include:

  • Family therapy

  • Individual therapy

  • Vocational rehab and supported employment

  • Social skills training


People living with schizophrenia require daily support. There are programs available to you to assist you with housing, jobs, crises, and self-help groups. A member of your treatment team, or your case manager, will assist you in finding resources. You can manage your schizophrenia symptoms with appropriate treatment.


Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT):

If you don’t respond to drug therapy, your doctor may suggest ECT, which is especially helpful if you also have depression. Albeit ECT is usually safe, however, you can experience side effects like confusion and amnesia. Usually, amnesia can improve within a few months after treatment ends. You can experience symptoms on the times of your ECT treatment like muscle aches, headaches, and nausea, or jaw pain. Your doctor can recommend treating these symptoms with medications.


Hospitalization:

When your symptoms are severe, or if you’re experiencing a crisis, you can even be hospitalized to ensure safety, adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and basic hygiene.


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