Cannabis Treats Schizophrenia.

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.”

This is attributable Creative Commons 2.0 to AnosmiaCBD 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

Richard Shrubb is a freelance journalist with a specific interest in medical science and sailing, for more info about Richard, see his web site and you can follow Richard on Twitter #Shrubberz


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  1. I was reading something similar to this about cancer treatment & how companies like big pharma are making synthetic CBD in the lab as a so called cure, the trouble is coz its synthetic it has side effects which need to be counteracted with another synthetic drug & so on…. think its about time they learned they cant improve on what nature gave us so why do they keep trying, oh yeah forgot its ALL about the MONEY!

  2. Interesting. I have been on amisulpuride for over 10 years now and have been smoking hash and weed for over 40 years. I find amisulpuride controls my symptoms very nicely and if I run out of it a part of my mind becomes hell on earth, that is not an overstatement. Smoking spliff does not help with this “hell” that is latent in me, only amisulpuride does this. If I had to choose between meds and drugs, I would pick meds anyday.

  3. CBD couchlock,THC speedy you do notice this when smoking from both ends of the spectrum.(depending on strain)chemical process can change from cbd to thc to cbn also and vise-versa when curing even.As for the papers their like those doctors thats how they make their money get you operated on rather than perscribe you that weed so i have heard. big up richard peace out!

  4. this is an interesting study. However there are some curious facts. It is a rather obtuse online journal which even by its own admission ran out of money to complete the study to a resonable power.
    Firstly if it was randomised why is there inequality between the two groups – one has 14 and one has 28?
    Secondly randomisation involved someone “not involved with the study” pulling bits of paper out of a bowl – hardly normal randomisation that could not be interfered with.
    The numbers are tiny and while it demonstrated non inferiority I would be hesitant to say it had any power. This was for a short period of time ( 4 weeks) in supervised conditions and no comment can be made about long term safety or efficacy.
    Perhaps the reason that a newspaper headline didn’t print the suggested headline as it would be patently untrue. Cannabis is a mixture of compounds and to extrapolate one compound taken orally in selected individuals who were screen not to have taken cannabis as they were excluded from the trial , should use a mixture of smoked compounds when there is clear evidence that smoking cannabis is associated with mental illness including schizophrenia would be entirely wrong.

    • A stronger article will be published in the next month or so – fully researched and impartial. It will answer your questions.

      • Arent all scientific publications supposed to be fully researched and impartial.?I was simply highlighting this is a tiny study which seems to have abnormal and potentially corruptible randomisation. However your title for the article even regardless of this rather dubious nature seemed to be extrapolating the treatment for a condition that was somewhat akin to tabloid headlines about cannabis killing people that are so often decried.

  5. I know anecdotes aren’t evidence, but as person with long-term severe depression neither me or my family have noticed anything but positive effects from cannabis use.

    More importantly, I was put on a phenomenal number of anti-depressants over the years, but the only one that worked for me citalopram. I never gave it much thought until I found this on the Wikipedia entry for Citalopram –

    “Some research suggests that citalopram interacts with cannabinoid
    protein-couplings in the rat brain, and this is put forward as a
    potential cause of some of the drug’s antidepressant effect.” (links in article)


  6. It’s the CBD content that’s important here…

    Prohibition has actually driven CBD levels in cannabis to shockingly low levels while also helping to push THC levels to new highs…

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is indeed a powerful anti-psychotic as I’m unable to get high from using “Harlequin” at all.

    “Harlequin” is a cannabis plant that has 8% CBD and only 6% THC. You can use as much as you ‘need’ to without the psyche effects of THC getting in your way.

    Keep it Clean! 😀

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