In a recent animal study published in Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers from the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute determined cannabidiol (CBD) could help treat the negative and drug resistant symptoms of schizophrenia. The team set out to investigate whether or not the non-psychoactive CBD could improve the cognitive impairments and concentration and memory difficulties that often coincide with schizophrenia, and found CBD improved recognition and working memory, and social behavior. To conduct the study, the team used a prenatal infection model to examine the effects of consistent CBD treatments on cognition and social interaction. On the 15th day of gestation, the pregnant rats were infected with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid to produce psychiatric disorders. The male rat offspring were then given 10 mg/kg CBD for three weeks, and were then tested for cognition and working memory and sociability. The team also looked at body weight and food and water intake.
The medications that are currently used for schizophrenia are generally effective at reducing delusions and hallucinations, but they are not particularly good at treating the cognitive and negative emotional and social symptoms, and they can produce negative side effects. Study author Ashleigh Osborne explains, “These findings are interesting because they suggest that CBD may be able to treat some of the symptoms of schizophrenia that are seemingly resistant to existing medications. In addition, CBD treatments did not alter body weight or food intake, which are common side effects of antipsychotic drug treatment.” The team was inspired to undertake this study after sifting through 27 previous studies, where supervisor Dr. Katrina Green says they discovered “CBD will not improve learning and memory in healthy brains, but may improve aspects of learning and memory in illnesses associated with cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer’s disease, as well as neurological and neuro-inflammatory disorders. Evidence suggests that CBD is neuroprotective and can reduce cognitive impairment associated with use of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis.”
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