Schizophrenia study sheds new light
A new study coming out of the University of New Mexico shows potential of cannabis to treat an especially difficult mental disorder. This is welcome news for sufferers of schizophrenia since there is little good news about the disease in the press. As one of the most complex neurological disorders known, there is precious little known about it.
Despite the poor understanding most people have of schizophrenia, teams across the world work to discover the mechanisms of the disease and try to find new treatments. The journal Medicines published a report recently on new research performed by two departments of the University of New Mexico. Jegason P. Diviant and Jacob M. Vigil lead the study testing the effectiveness of phytocannabinoids in treating schizophrenia.
The Department of Psychology and Department of Economics collaborated for the study and published their findings together last week. They looked at how neurotransmitters in the brain work in the presence of cannabis. Diviant and Vigil used a systemic approach instead of a targeted one and observed significant changes.
This is big news
For decades, doctors and patients alike believed that consuming cannabis reduced control over episodes. But it seems that at least some cannabinoids reduce neuroinflammation, a prime component of schizophrenic delusions. Cannabis also eased several other key components of the disease with no added health risks.
The big news is that the groups findings indicate that cannabinoids may provide effective control and relief from schizophrenic episodes. They even found evidence that it works when used in conjunction with certain standard treatments. But the researchers stopped short of declaring it an outright cure for schizophrenia.
The medical establishment is still coming to terms with the reintroduction of cannabis. Progress is slow but research like this is moving forward, offering the promise of new hope to suffering people. But these results contribute to a growing library of diseases that are treatable with cannabis.
More research is needed
According to the study authors, schizophrenia affects about 0.5% of the population and most sufferers are on chemical medications. But the complex nature of schizophrenia means that researchers and medical doctors have to look at the environmental, autoimmune, and neuroinflammatory causes simultaneously. When they do, cannabis proves to be an effective method of treatment by interacting with the endocannabinoid system.
Similar to a master network of chemical signals, the endocannabinoid system promotes mental and physical homeostasis. By infusing our bodies with specific cannabinoids (in this case phytocannabinoids) we can bolster our natural abilities and promote balance. As more research becomes public, it highlights the overall impact of the endocannabinoid system on an individuals health.
There is significantly more to learn about schizophrenia and how cannabis helps treat it. But we can all appreciate what this means for the medical world. For patients suffering from the various forms of schizophrenia, this is wonderful news. There may be a cannabis based treatment developed and released in the near future.