Cannabis Use Protects the Gut in Schizophrenia

Cannabis Use Protects the Gut in Schizophrenia

Danish researchers have found that cannabis users with schizophrenia experienced significantly fewer gut-related issues than non-cannabis users
Distraught man holding head

An essential connection between the gut and mind is now recognized by Western medicine. Diseases like schizophrenia and Parkinson’s are closely related to digestive disorders and metabolic dysregulation. Researchers in Copenhagen probed this connection by analyzing medical records from over 20,000 people with schizophrenia. In people with schizophrenia, cannabis use disorder is associated with decreased risk of disorders of gut–brain interaction and inflammatory bowel disease [IBD], and possibly also other serious disorders of the digestive organs, according to the scientists. Cannabis-using schizophrenics were 30% less likely to have IBD and 10% less likely to have severe digestive disorders, but no beneficial effect was found in healthy individuals. Many antipsychotics cause metabolic dysregulation and increase weight, probably in part by disrupting endocannabinoid signaling. The authors suggest that cannabis may correct this in schizophrenics, but not healthy individuals. This study considered people with a DSM V diagnosis of cannabis use disorder. A study published just two days earlier defined cannabis use as any use in the past year. The lack of a consensus on what constitutes use leads to many contradictions in cannabinoid research.

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