Bipolar Disorder

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Cannabis and CBD for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder used to be called manic depressive disorder with its extreme mood swings from depression to mania. Bipolar disorder is very serious and can cause risky behavior, even suicidal tendencies. Therapies and medications can be used to treat it.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a condition that has extreme mood shifts and energy and activity fluctuations which can make life difficult on a daily basis. It is a dangerous mental illness, known as manic depression, that can ruin relationships, hinder career prospects and adversely affect academic performance if left untreated. It may lead to suicide in some cases. Approximately 2.9% of Americans diagnosed with bipolar disorder and 83% of those diagnosed with severe depression. The most common occurrence is between 15 and 25 years of age, but it can occur at any age. It similarly affects both men and women.

There are Four Types of Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar I This is a condition in which people have experienced one or more episodes of mania. Although an episode of depression is not sufficient for a diagnosis, most people diagnosed with bipolar I will have episodes of mania and depression. The manic episodes of a person must last at least seven days or be so serious that hospitalization is required to be diagnosed with bipolar I.

Bipolar II This is a type of bipolar disorder where people experience depressive episodes shifting back and forth with hypomanic episodes, but never an episode of full manic.

Cyclothymic Disorder or Cyclothymia Is a chronically unstable mood in which people have had hypomania and mild depression for at least two years. People with cyclothymia may have short periods of normal mood, but these periods last less than eight weeks.

Bipolar Disorder, “other specified” and “unspecified” Is when a person does not meet bipolar I, II or cyclothymia criteria but has undergone periods of clinically significant irregular elevation of mood.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder’s main symptoms are alternating episodes of extreme euphoria, or mania, and major depression. The fluctuations may be severe, but between the peaks and troughs, moods may be normal.

The mood changes involved in bipolar disorder are much more severe, debilitating, and crippling than most people experience. Many people may experience hallucinations and other symptoms.

Most people with the condition can work, study, and live a full, productive life with treatment. Some people, however, stop or choose not to take their medication. Some studies showed that bipolar disorder people could have increased creativity, but mood changes can make it difficult to pay attention to projects or to carry out plans, leading to the start of numerous projects but nothing is finished. Signs vary according to humans and mood. Several people experience noticeable changes in their moods, signs of mania and then depression that last for months or months. In a “high” or “low” mood, several spend months or years. A “mixed state” is when an episode of manic and depressive happens concurrently. The person may feel negative as with depression, but also feel “wired” and restless.

How Cannabis Can Help Relieve the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Marijuana is a cannabis plant whose dried leaves, roots, and seeds may be smoked, consumed, or “vaped.” Marijuana includes substances called cannabinoids, including a chemical called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This is the ingredient in marijuana that can make a person feel “high.” Although marijuana and medical marijuana are not currently legal in all states, physicians are discovering how compounds might help to relieve certain symptoms in people with chronic conditions.

According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana compounds may help to treat symptoms such as:

  • appetite loss
  • inflammation
  • muscle control issues
  • nausea
  • pain

There are drugs available today that contain cannabinoid-like compounds but do not make a person feel high. An example of this is dronabinol (Marinol), which doctors prescribe for people with cancer to stimulate their appetite.

Medical Cannabis Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Evidence supporting marijuana use in the treatment of bipolar disorder since marijuana can have anxiety-relieving effects, some people believe it can help people with bipolar disorder improve their mood. Some research has found no harmful effects from the use of marijuana, while other research has identified actual benefits. Examples include:

  • Low mental impairment and better moods

A pilot study conducted in 2016 showed that there was no significant mental deterioration in people with bipolar disorder when using marijuana relative to people with bipolar disorder who did not use marijuana. Critics of marijuana use for bipolar disorder say that it affects the mind and memory of a person. This study did not find that to be true. The study also found that participants with bipolar disorder reported better moods after using marijuana.

  • Mood enhancing and a positive outlook

A 2015 study showed that marijuana use increased mood and improved a more positive perspective of some people with bipolar disorders. The study, however, found that people were more likely to use marijuana when they had a successful mood-wise day and not when their symptoms were more serious. It is important to remember that evidence is very tentative about the beneficial effects of marijuana use in bipolar disorder. Marijuana can also have a different impact on each person, so these findings do not suggest that marijuana can help everyone with bipolar disorder.

Right now, there’s not enough research to say whether the use of marijuana to treat bipolar disorder is a good thing or a bad thing.

Some people have reported positive effects, such as better mood. Others, however, have reported negative effects, such as worsening mania or suicidal thoughts. More research on the effects of marijuana on bipolar disorder and the long-term effects of extended use is required.

What doctors do know is that marijuana isn’t as effective as prescription medication and therapy can be in managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder. So, if you have this condition, be sure to stick to the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.

If you are considering using medical marijuana, first talk to your doctor about the pros and cons. Then, if you decide to try it, keep your doctor up-to-date on how it affects you.

Together, you and your doctor can determine whether this is a good addition to your treatment plan.

Personalized Cannabis Consultations

Whether you are new to cannabis and need to learn the basics, or are simply trying to achieve more positive cannabis experiences, Veriheal’s coaches are here to help. You have the opportunity to become informed about this wonderful plant. Book an appointment today with one of our compassionate coaches to have a private discussion about your cannabis journey.

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Data Last Updated 03/16/2020