by Suzanna Mountain
More and more studies are evidencing Cannabis use as a natural anti-schizophrenic drug. How can scientists reconcile these facts with the more common studies and anecdotal evidence indicating Marijuana as a psychosis inducing drug? The secret to this mysterious paradox can be found on the molecular level. The healing properties of Cannabis are found in certain molecules, but are absent in other, more problematic molecules. Modern medicine contains the tools necessary to isolate those molecules to produce a natural alternative to BigPharma’s chemical concoctions.
A Bit of Brain Chemistry
For those unfamiliar with the basics of brain chemistry and weed, the story goes like this. Our brains are full of receptors, waiting to be activated or deactivated by molecules that fit into them like puzzle pieces. To simplify, think of it like this; your brain has areas which can be turned on or off by molecules that are generated inside your body or come from the outside. Anandamides are the bodies endemic cannabinoids. When we puff, we are simulating the effects of anandamides on our brains.
Increased amounts of anandamides are found in the cerebral fluids of people with symptoms of psychosis. For people who are in prodromal states of psychosis, people who have symptoms of psychosis but are not yet experiencing full blown psychosis, have elevated levels of anandamides relative to healthy patients. However, it appears that prodromal patients with lower levels of anandamides tend to have more sever schizophrenia down the line. It follows that prodromal patients which ultimately have less severe schizophrenia have higher levels of anandamides than their more severe counterparts.
Does herb really cure schizophrenia?
It appears that the body raises the levels of anandamides in the prodromal state as a natural defense mechanism. A mechanism that actually decreases the severity of psychosis down the line. The cannabinoid “Cannabidiol” works to slow the breaking down of annandamides, therefore acting as an enabler of the body’s natural defense mechanism against declining into deeper states of psychosis.
Good news for early stage schizophrenia patients or other patients of psychotic disorders! Weed contains a molecule which can actually slow the onset of psychotic symptoms. In a controlled study comparing the effects of Cannabidiol to amisulpride, a powerful anti psychotic, both medications were found effective in suppressing and alleviating psychotic symptoms. It may come as no surprise to the tuned in, but the side effects of the Cannabidiol were significantly less than those of the synthetic drug amisulpride. Just another reason to keep marijuana legal, available and de-stigmatized.