By Richard Shrubb
In an ideal world, on the 20th March 2012 the Daily Mail should have raved CANNABIS TREATS SCHIZOPHRENIA. It didn’t. We know that the Daily Mail believes cannabis is worse than heroin and has no therapeutic benefits whatsoever!
On that day a study was published in The Journal of Translational Psychiatry that suggests that Cannabidiol (hence, CBD) is better at treating schizophrenia than a leading antipsychotic. The double blind, randomised controlled trial compared CBD with Amisulpiride. Double blind randomised controlled trials are the gold standard of scientific testing.
The abstract of the study says “Either treatment was safe and led to significant clinical improvement, but cannabidiol displayed a markedly superior side-effect profile.”
Side effects are the bane of the mental health patient. I have taken the same drug since 1999. I couldn’t put a gram of weight on until I was put on this drug – I was skinny as a rake at 10 stone (75kg) and 6ft with a large frame. Within 6 months I had put on 5 stone. Side effects go beyond blobbing out – I have to be tested for diabetes every 6 months by my GP, as well as liver damage. In keeping me sane the antipsychotic is sending me to an early grave.
Medicating psychiatric patients only really caught on in the 1960’s. For 52 years pharmaceutical companies have been poisoning psychiatric patients to keep us safe for the general public at large. Big Pharma in turn are making a killing – Eli Lilly makes $4billion a year in profit on my antipsychotic alone!
Speaking to Brad Burge, Communications Director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Research, he explained “no pharmaceutical company wants to find a cure for mental illness, because their income would dry up if they did. It makes financial sense just to treat, as that is where the money is.”
CBD may never make it into a pill either! As a plant extract, you cannot patent it. GW Pharma has done a good job by making a “patent formula” with one active ingredient – cannabis oil in Sativex. As such, since they have patented some part of this formula, they can be the sole distributors and make their money off it. You cannot patent refined CBD – it is like aspirin.
The research into how it treats schizophrenia was of interest to Big Pharma as there is an opportunity to reinvent the wheel. The same journal previously reported that “an elevation of anandamide levels in cerebrospinal fluid inversely correlated to psychotic symptoms.”
This is a new line of study. No one knew that anandamide reduces psychotic symptoms. No one had been looking at medicines that reduced anandimide inhibition in cerebrospinal fluid. CBD does this and – wow – psychosis is reduced to the same degree as keeping dopamine levels high in the brain, as do most antipsychotics on the market – including the one they compared it with.
For me the patient, this is problematic. Since Big Pharma cannot use pure CBD, they will have to invent a new chemical that does this. For me this is like being denied vegetables in my dinner and being forced to swallow Senokot pills with my beef burgers – “Senokot,” Big Pharma will argue, “makes you shit so why eat veg?”
CBD is in early stage study. For anything to happen before my doc tells me to have CBD every night before I go to bed, clinical trials must be done. Fair sailing in good winds, and with the financial backing to do it, this will take 15 years before we can start a campaign for the NHS to start giving it to patients. Unless someone figures a way to patent this natural substance in some way, we will see what else the pharmaceutical industry comes up with – hopefully not something that shortens lives, as they have been giving us nutters for the last 52 years.
Richard Shrubb is a freelance journalist with a specific interest in medical science and sailing, for more info about Richard, see his web site www.richardshrubb.co.uk and you can follow Richard on Twitter #Shrubberz