Schizophrenia and Dronabinol

It’s not much of a study, really. And, beings the subjects were already cannabis users it does nothing to unravel the chicken\egg question. “Chicken\egg?” A good many schizophrenics indulge in illegal drug use. There’s been some question if cannabis induces schizophrenia in people predisposed or if the use is relative to the individual “self-medicating.”

This small study gives credence to the self-medicating hypothesis. I suppose.

Synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (dronabinol) can improve the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Schwarcz G, Karajgi B, McCarthy R.

Rockland Psychiatric Center, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA.


We are reporting improvement of symptoms of schizophrenia in a small group of patients who received the cannabinoid agonist dronabinol (synthetic Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Before this report, cannabinoids had usually been associated with worsening of psychotic symptoms. In a heuristic, compassionate use study, we found that 4 of 6 treatment-refractory patients with severe chronic schizophrenia but who had a self-reported history of improving with marijuana abuse improved with dronabinol. This improvement seems to have been a reduction of core psychotic symptoms in 3 of the 4 responders and not just nonspecific calming. There were no clinically significant adverse effects. These results complement the recent finding that the cannabinoid blocker rimonabant does not improve schizophrenic symptoms and suggest that the role of cannabinoids in psychosis may be more complex than previously thought. They open a possible new role for cannabinoids in the treatment of schizophrenia.

PMID: 19440079 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]



  1. gepr said,

    December 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I have a friend with a schizophrenic S.O.. They’ll be interested in this.

  2. capndrift said,

    December 17, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I would recommend that you recommend to your friend they go to and enter “schizophrenia cannabis research.”

    Frankly, I don’t want to get hung-out here because someone might imply that I’m providing medical advise. You know what I mean? I’m merely “parroting” published studies.

    One might care to look at the available information, beyond some whacko’s blog, to make informed decisions.

    Or am I just being paranoid?

    There -is- a lot of information on the subject out there. Tons.

  3. gepr said,

    December 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I think you’re being paranoid, but paranoia can be a good thing, too. No. They won’t take anything they read as medical advice. And I didn’t forward your log entry, anyway, just the paper. Mea culpa. I already promote your log on my website, though; so I don’t feel so bad. 😉

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