How Cannabis Helps Schizophrenia

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a severe, lifelong mental disorder that disrupts the connection to reality. Schizophrenia is found in 1% of the general population and in 10% of people who have a first-degree relative with it.

Symptoms of schizophrenia can include a mix of positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms. Positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, thought disorders, and movement disorders, including not moving at all (catatonia) and repetitive movements. Negative symptoms include speaking few words even when engaged in conversation, lack of pleasure in everyday life (anhedonia), lack of motivation to begin and finish tasks, and lack of emotion (flat affect). Cognitive symptoms include poor attention span, trouble focusing, problems with working memory and poor executive function.

Does Marijuana use cause Schizophrenia?

No. Research from Harvard Medical found there is an increased risk of schizophrenia in cannabis users, but only if they had schizophrenia in their family to begin with. To be on the safe side, if you do not have schizophrenia but someone in your family does, talk to your doctor before using cannabis. Most cases of schizophrenia begin at age 21 and rare to begin after the age of 30, so if you use cannabis after that age you do not need to worry.

But Hasn’t Every Person with Schizophrenia used Marijuana?

Schizophrenia is highly comorbid with cannabis use, meaning patients with schizophrenia also use marijuana. The reason is likely self-medication, because schizophrenia is linked to endocannabinoid deficiency. While patients with schizophrenia that use cannabis have changes in brain area volumes than patients that do not use cannabis, it is not clear these changes are “bad.”

How is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) Disrupted in Schizophrenia?

Patients having their first psychotic episode shows signs of endocannabinoid deficiency. They have lower levels of cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) during than healthy patients. Patients with schizophrenia also have lower levels of the enzymes that makes endocannabinoids, N-acyl phosphatidylethanolamine phospholipase (NAPE) and diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL). Cerebrospinal fluid levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) are lower in non-medicated schizophrenics having an acute episode and are negatively correlated with psychotic symptom severity. This means the lower the levels of AEA, the more psychotic the patients were. Finally, patients with schizophrenia show increased levels of the enzymes that break down endocannabinoids, fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL).

How Does Cannabis Help Schizophrenia?

Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may enhance psychotic symptoms, while cannabidiol (CBD) helps relieve symptoms. CBD inhibits the breakdown of the endocannabinoid AEA, thus boosting the ECS. AEA may even postpone the onset of psychosis. In one study, patients began treatment with 200 mg of CBD a day, and added 200 mg of CBD each day until they reached a dose of 200 mg of CBD 4 times a day for a total of 800 mg a day.

How Can I Take Cannabis For Schizophrenia?

Eating CBD tincture, CBD pills, CBD drinks, or CBD-rich edibles may help control your symptoms. If you take CBD oil or pills, you may want to take as much as you can afford as these products are expensive. Try to space out your dose 3 times a day, with a target daily dose of 600 mg if you can.

Vaporizing cannabis is better than smoking cannabis in a joint, pipe, or bong because it doesn’t burn the cannabis. Smoking cannabis releases toxins similar to cigarettes, can cause lung irritation and often disintegrates cannabinoids with healing properties. Vaporizing cannabis heats the air around the cannabis, releasing a range of cannabinoids, each with unique health benefit.

A new way to get cannabis into your body is via a transdermal patch, similar to the birth control patch or the nicotine patch. This discrete method provides extended release medication for up to ten hours and is perfect for people who feel uncomfortable with other methods such as smoking cannabis.

What Strains Are Best For Schizophrenia?

High CBD strains are best for schizophrenia. High THC strains should be avoided, as they may cause more psychosis. High CBD strains include Charlotte’s Web, Harlequin, AC/DC, Sour Tsunami and Cannatonic.

Try These Products

PAX 2 Vaporizer

High-CBD Cannabis

Mary’s Medicinals Patch

Apothecanna Pain Creme

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Has cannabis helped your schizophrenia? We’d love to feature patients with a picture and quote from you, and perhaps even a full interview. Please contact us at [email protected] if you’d like to be featured.

Michele Ross, PhD

Author at Vitamin Weed: A 4-Step Plan to Prevent & Reverse Endocannabinoid DeficiencyDr. Ross is CEO & founder of IMPACT Network. As a neuroscientist and cannabis patient, she lectures across the country on the benefits of medical marijuana.

Latest posts by Michele Ross, PhD (see all)

  • Colorado Health Research Council Formed To Oppose THC Potency Cap Law – June 30, 2016
  • Ebbu Announces Cannabinoid Research Program – June 23, 2016
  • IMPACT Network Hosts First Conference on Brain Health and Cannabis – June 9, 2016


Written by Michele Ross, PhD

Dr. Ross is CEO & founder of IMPACT Network. As a neuroscientist and cannabis patient, she lectures across the country on the benefits of medical marijuana.

  • Brent CarpenterHello. I have been taking anti-psychotic medication for twenty years now for Schizophrenia. At the time I was basically in a state of emergency and treated by hospitalisation but have always known I was in a state of spiritual emergence. To much THC and tick bite fever caused the first psychosis, but I was in a misunderstood inter-dimensional state. Repeated activity to the lure of THC ended me up with further psychosis and eventually when this pattern repeated a diagnosis was given, that I struggle to argue against to this very day. Your research is a godsend. It will probably, time has yet to tell, allow me to heal a lot of what has gone wrong by allowing my mind the freedom of some cannaboidial influence. I can also say I will be going back to the root of the epistemological problem on all levels…emotionally, mentally, spiritually and I need to do this for myself like it’s nobodies business. I tried some the other day and was pleasantly surprised at the relief it brought me from my agitated mind (To say the least).
  • Jace MindueCannabis has helped me with the overlapping voices they we’re too stoned to talk anymore….
  • Gerick BoulomI’m waiting on this process for a shop to become open in Texas. I have Paranoid Schizophrenia and It’s maintained well I still have self medicating tendencies but, those won’t be spoke of. I’m interested in Cannatonic the 1:1 ratio will stimulate mental vibes as well as the CBD. I’m not sure how a high can help me though… I’ll most likely want to find a doctor that knows how marijuana works with my situation and test trial the strains just like any drug. I am struggling to lead a life and a perk for the availability of medical use will invite me into a culture of healing users of well weed. I tend to be reclusive and if this drug is made legal I’ll find comfort and poise in society for they are helping with my handicap. It says it here it’s to help but, I can only do my research without action because there’s no way to obtain help.
    • Moni QDoesn’t weed make you more paranoid? I know smokers and used to be a smoker myself who had worsening symptoms when being high and even had anxiety attacks only while high. I remember getting schizophrenic symptoms but now it’s gone ever since I stopped.
      The answer is a real relationship with God-Christ Jesus who heals us and helps us…
      • BarleySingerParanoia from cannabis use is more strongly linked to the persons existing *fear* than to anything else. Because the substance is illegal, this gets complicated. From what I understand, this is far more common with Sativa and Sativa dominant crosses than with other strains. There are very probably cannabinoid profiles for some strains that could increase paranoia in vulnerable people, but then again there are people who become psychotic and paranoid from drinking a coke. A huge number of pharmaceuticals can cause serious psychological symptoms, and as drugs go, alcohol is a far larger trigger (and coping mechanism) for mental illness than cannabis is.
  • Steven CaldwellFascinating article. But yeah that’s the first time I’ve heard of CBD deficiency.
  • Sonic BoomWhy are schizophrenics the only ones who are shunned from smoking weed if it helps them live a better life?
    • Raz EdgeThey aren’t. I have PTSD and my therapists advise against weed use even though recent studies show promise in using cannabis to treat symptoms. I think once cannabis is legalized on a national level the stigma will be dropped.
      • Sonic BoomPTSD is a valid ailment for medical marijuana cards in many states.Schizophrenia on the other hand has zero support.The funny thing is that their are similarities between the two, if you dont follow mainstream opinion.
    • Blumen TopfGreat you think with an objective mind. I’m schizophrenic and all my doctors say is “keep away from weed” although I always believed and experienced the healing effect.
    • Red EchidnaIs your name really Sonic Boom? That game is amazing.
  • State of PsychosisI have schizophrenia and I’ve used cannabis to treat it for years. I don’t hallucinate anymore, no more delusions, and haven’t had a suicide attempt in years. I haven’t had any adverse side effects from THC either. I can’t access MMJ so I just have to smoke whatever is available and I’ve been fine. Just some stuff is less effective than others in treating it. the schizophrenia has gotten better and better as I’ve been smoking it over the years. The THC didn’t effect anything. I personally think the causation claims about THC are just more bogus reefer madness claims. Like the article says, self medication theory is much more likely to be the right explanation. causation theory gets all of the media attention sadly. typical.
    • AndreaMy name is Andrea, in 2015 my daughter had a psychotic breakdown!!! That’s horrible.((( She stay in a mental health clinic on Florida for 4 months, they are totally lost about her diagnostic.. They gave to her 10 different medicines… She had Parkinson bc so much meds :((( her prolactin was in the high level.. They locked her in a soft room bc she was very aggressive… Florida is the worse place for mental illness…every week they said she had Ocd, border line,bipolar etc. And every single day she was worse:(((so I was so lost… And I contact the best Doctor in Brazil and thanks God and him, he started help my daughter and finally he make some calls and I took her and travel with her from Brazil to treat her with doctor Goldenstein in the best private mental clinic on Rio de Janeiro. For 3 weeks he took all psychotic meds and when he told me that she have squizofrenia!!! But infortully all psychotic medication was bad side effects for her… Only seroquel she can used… He put her on 15 ECT to took her for psychotic breakdown and finally my daughter was back without breakdown!!! She was in this clinic for more 3 months, lots of therapy and art therapy. A 2 months ago she come back to USA. She’s much better 🙏🙏she learning there workout with her voices 🙏now I trying give to her cannabidiol!!! I’m glad that works for you 😀and I hope work for my daughter ‘s too. I’m totally financial broke bc her clinic on Rio de Janeiro was very expensive… But anyway she’s back 🙏
      • State of Psychosisjust make sure you keep her on half of the seroquel while trying out CBD. suddenly stopping a medication for schizophrenia is dangerous. You need to ween in the transition. Glad to hear she’s doing better 🙂 yes, the way they put us in isolation is some places is really bad for us. That’s a fast track way to exasperate the schizophrenia.
      • CocoRoseI have a 24 y/o son with autism who is recovering from schizophrenia. My excellent holistic doctor is located in Miami Beach, Fl – Dr. Andrew Levinson. We have been following the protocol of Dr. Abrahm Hoffer, a Canadian doctor who successfully healed hundreds of patients with schizophrenia using massive amounts of niacin and vitamin C. (orthomolecular medicine) Although my son’s progress has been very slow it has been very effective. We are now including CBD in his protocol.My son had been put on an anti psychotic med (Geodon) before I met Dr Levinson. At one point he was on 85 mg. daily. We are weaning him off and he’s down to 9 mg. daily. I can only reduce by 1 mg. at a time, once a month since he’s super sensitive to the kickbacks of the lowering of the dose.
  • Mackle AlvinIn my late 24 i began to have this silly social withdrawal and depression, at a time many people thought it was because of my new job. This continued for 3 years and i decided to seek medical attention, i was told i was suffering from a brain disorder called schizophrenia and it has no cure, i almost gave up. But all thanks to my half brother who gave me the email address of Dr Joseph and he was able to restore my normalness with his very powerful medication which he sent to me when i explained my condition to him. Ever since then i have been living my normal life without any strange behavior. You want to contact him reach him on ([email protected])
  • tim him currently on 25mg of rispiradal and 40 mg off citalopram i was diagnosed as having schizophrenia and suffer depression i think my breakdown was caused by high THC weed and gambling losses ive smoked thc weed for years after breakdown while on medicaction and it just makes matters worse ( anxiety depression low self esteem social problems panic attacks haulusanations delusions) and so forth but over the last 16 months i found out that i could bye high cbd strains on the darknet so ive been using these strains such as HARLEQUIN CANNATONIC MEDICAL MASS AND OTHERS whilst on my medication but still find i get terrible mental health whilst smoking them (anxiety depression panic attacks haulusanations delusions anger ) does anyone understand why this is do you think its because im on presciption drugs as well as taking high cbd weed which is simply to much amti psycotic going in my body or that cbd isnt actually working as an anti psycotic or anti depressant or anti anxiety its come to a stage know where ive stoped smoking it as it seems just to make me more ill and stops me getting on with mylife
  • CocoRoseGood informative article. You say that for schizophrenia, a daily target of 600 mg. of CBD is recommended. Is there information about persons using that amount and what were the results? To be quite honest I don’t think the average person could afford to take 600 mg. of CBD daily.Do you know if CBD is cummulative in the body and if so would one theoretically be able to reduce the daily dose after a period of time? Thank you.
  • Wesley BlakeThis was how i got a cure for my son who was diagnosed with schizophrenia 9 years ago when he was 19. He told us that he got messages and he heard people telling him that he should hurt himself. He had a terrible temper with cursing and violence towards me and his dad. The doctor gave him different anti-psychotic drugs like Zyprexa, prolixin, risperidone, Ablify but all this even elevated the condition because he became worse over the years not until last two years that help came our way. I got Dr Joseph’s contact from an old colleague of mine who relocated to Kansas city and he told me about this herbal medicine that can put an end to my son’s condition. I contacted the doctor and i explained it all to him and he told me all will be well. I got the medicine and gave him as instructed and before i knew it he was normal again, no side effects at all. I am writing this today because i needed to be sure the cure was a permanent one which it is. I know what schizo is and how heart aching it can be but i tell you today that there is a cure for it. Contact the doctor on (josephakormah @ for psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, he can help you too

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