The rebirth of cannabinoid-based science strongly suggests that cannabinoids have numerous other applications besides reducing pain. In the paper summarized here, the scientists find that CBD (cannabidiol) provides effective relief from symptoms of schizophrenia.
In some strains of marijuana, CBD content is comparable or displaces THC. Historic research found CBD to be the predominant cannabinoid in the Indica strains. Unfortunately, growers bred Indica strains to produce the psychoactive THC instead. Research found that CBD provided a variety of desirable effects for patients, and growers have refocused on developing strains where CBD predominates.
Research on CBD’s effects on schizophrenia comes from Professor FM Leweke of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg. Leweke found that CBD is as effective at improving psychotic symptoms as the standard antipsychotic amisulpride. Cannabidiol also generated significantly fewer side effects of motor disturbances (so-called extrapyramidal symptoms), weight gain and sexual dysfunction.
Leweke’s findings suggest a link between the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol and CBD’s ability to inhibit anandamide degradation. CBD may enhance anandamide signaling by inhibiting the enzyme that degrades anandamide (fatty acid amide hydrolase-FAAH).
The study used dosages of 200 to 600 mg per day. A high yield CBD strain may contain 5% or 50 mg/ gram. Thus, a patient would have to consume 12 grams of CBD-yielding Indica to get the same effect as 600 mg per day. A patient could undertake such a regimen, but it would be costly and probably unpleasant. On the other hand, CBD showed “marked tolerability and safety, when compared with current medications.”
If growers can develop Indica strains that produce CBD content as high as the THC in premium Sativa (20%), oral consumption of Indica could be a practical way to treat some forms of mental illness.