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The Curious Case of Bipolar Disorder and Marijuana

By January 19, 2017Bipolar

Amongst the plethora of psychological diseases out there, Bipolar Disorder is undoubtedly one of the cryptic and often misunderstood one.  This is the very seem disease which forced famous and iconic characters into their demise such as robin Williams and Amy Winehouse. Not to mention the sad event in history where Vincent Van Gogh cut off his own ear!

So, what exactly is Bipolar Disorder? 

In the most general terms, bipolar disease is a form maniac depression. In fact, up until the 1990s, Bipolar Disorder was known as “Maniac Depressive Illness” and it falls alongside the likes of other clinical depressions.

A victim who is affected by Bipolar Disorder is reported to cause significant mood swings that jumps between multiple states of depression and even mania.

One of the main difference of Bipolar Disorder in contrast to Unipolar is that, in this case the patient experiences prolonged “Episodes” of depressions that are closely intermixed with episodes of mania. In some cases however where, people have been reported to go through a much milder form of Bipolar Disorder where the patient suffers from more controllable mood swings which are known as hypomania.

If we were to differentiate the symptoms between a Bipolar Mania and depression. We would be looking at the following

In terms of Mania we would see symptoms such as

  • Intense irritation of mood
  • A general increase in energy that comes out of nowhere
  • A barrage of thoughts constantly hitting the mind
  • Inability to get a proper sleep
  • A general sense of Grandiosity
  • Enhanced level of promiscuous sexual behavior
  • Enhance sensation of delusion while feeling that you are losing touch with reality

In terms of depression, the symptoms include

  • A lack of energy and extreme fatigue
  • Symptoms of flu such as joints, headache, aching muscles
  • A feeling of insecurity
  • Inability to come up with concrete thoughts and everything feels foggy
  • Increase suicidal tendencies
  • Suddenly losing the need of maintaining the hygiene
  • Insomnia or oversleeping

Is Cannabis Helpful?

The answer to this question isn’t really as straightforward as one might think. Since the disease itself is such a complex amalgam of various moods, pinpointing the positive effects of Cannabis is really difficult. One group of people claims that exposure to Cannabis helped to mitigate their stress, on the other hand another group side by side claimed that Cannabis actually caused even more depression.

Due to such results, the effectiveness of Cannabis largely depends on the person who is taking them.

One very strong anecdotal evidence of its effective comes from 35 years old patients who claimed

“I smoked marihuana for the first time in high school and couldn’t believe how good it made me feel. My normally chaotic emotions subsided and I had a sudden sense of calm, peace, and well-being. My perceptions of other and life changed dramatically”

So…yes, Cannabis does indeed have the potential to treat patients with Bipolar Disorder. And this is primarily due to the presence of two significant mood stabilizing compounds, namely Cannabidiol and THC.

Researches indicate that under specific conditions, THC is shown to have very strong anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects on the patient which greatly helps to improve mood and enhance overall well-being. On the other hand, CBD seems to perfectly counter the psychoactive effects of an accidental high dose of TCH and also has anti-anxiety, hypnotic and anticonvulsant properties of its own!

But that actually covers up the “Mania” part, but how about depression?

The Effect Of Cannabis In Depression

When considering the hyper energetic mania episodes, you are bound to go into a serious depressive phase once the mania wears off. And again, in this case the effectiveness of Cannabis is in questions.

One thing is certain though, Cannabis has been scientifically proven as a strong and natural antidepressant. So, how does it pile up here?

While going for low dosage of THC, it has been seen that the patient is able to feel happy thanks to the psychoactive ingredients that boosts serotonin. For those of you who are unaware, Serotonin is a very crucial neurotransmitter that is considered to be a key ingredient when it comes to enhancing the mood.

But then again, THC’s are psychoactive so people often opt for the more effect Non-Psychoactive brethren, Cannabinoid.

Similar to THC, Cannabinoid also helps to boost up the level of serotonin, but unlike THC. CBD doesn’t contain the psychoactive properties and helps to stabilize the mood further without making you feel “High”.

Aside from increasing your Serotonin level, CBD also helps to increase the level of “GABA” which is essentially another neurotransmitter that helps to damp the excitability of the brain. Both of these together makes CBD so effective in tackling depression that some researchers have even gone as far as to compare CBD to Depakote.

And the fact that CBD starts to show off its effects much faster when compared to other pharmaceutical solutions doesn’t hurt either! Who wouldn’t want a quick recovery right?

What’s the final verdict then?

As you may have already guessed, the effectiveness of Cannabis largely varies, depending on your personal physical Chemistry and the stage of Bipolar disorder at which you currently are in. The key here is to find the right strain of the herb that will be the most suitable one for you which will require you to do some researches as well or talk to a professional.

However, below are some tips which you might keep in mind in order to help you find the perfect strain

  • Try to go for strains that are high in CBD contents instead of THC
  • Try to avoid strains which are known to cause paranoia.




Join the discussion One Comment

  • Erich Bauchman says:

    Wow! That was a fantastic read. I never thought that Marijuana could be so much effective when it comes to tackling Bipolar Disorder. I am definitely going to share this article and let my friends know about it, the information in this article might just be extremely valuable to any individual who is suffering from Bipolar.

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