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Can Marijuana Help Bipolar Disorder

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How Does Medical Marijuana Help Bipolar Disorder Patients

Can Marijuana treat BIPOLAR DISORDER? Well Sort Of…

Some patients suffering from bipolar disorder experience symptoms which can be treated with medical marijuana such as anxiety and depression, insomnia, and loss of appetite.

Again, its important to point out that the effects of medical marijuana depend highly on the strain of cannabis or the cannabinoid formula being used as well as the dosage and regimen.

For example, high doses of THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid found in marijuana can sometimes reduce depression but can also increase anxiety. On the other hand, another cannabinoid, CBD, is non-intoxicating and well-known for its ability to reduce anxiety in some patients.

An article published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs in 1998 claimed that medical marijuana to be an effective treatment option for some patients.

A 2012 investigation studied bipolar patients with a history of cannabis use disorder . Researchers reported that these patients demonstrated significantly better performance in terms of attention, working memory, and processing speed.

And according to a 2016 report published in PLOS One, bipolar disorder participants who smoked medical cannabis regularly reported a significant reduction in mood symptoms after smoking marijuana.

Can Marijuana Help Your Bipolar Disorder

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Award-winning mental health journalist and author, John McManamy, wrote a thoughtful blog about the implications of medical marijuana as a treatment for bipolar. It’s reasonable to think that the risks outweigh any possible benefits, but the topic is certainly worth discussing.

Since both bipolar depression and mania can have psychotic features, there is some evidence that even medical marijuana use might have negative effects in people with bipolar disorder.

Triggering Manic Episodes And Worsening Symptoms

A review published in early 2015 found that using marijuana could make manic symptoms worse in a person with bipolar disorder. They also found that marijuana use could trigger a manic episode.

In addition, above touting benefits to marijuana use, also found that it worsened manic or depressive symptoms in some people.

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Smoking Marijuana May Cause Cancer

Smoking is a particularly harmful way of administering marijuana, as marijuana smoke contains at least 50 of the same known carcinogens found in tobacco. The smoke released when marijuana is burned can also contribute to bronchitis and impaired respiratory function in regular smokers.

As with antidepressants, there is a potential for dependency on marijuana. Current statistics indicate that cannabis dependence syndrome occurs in around 1 in 10 users.

How It Might Help

All In The Mind #5: Cannabis And Bipolar Disorder

MS is a disease that attacks your brain, spinal cord, and nerves. The marijuana plant, or Cannabis sativa, has dozens of chemicals that can affect your mind and body.

An influential national group of scientific institutions concluded that marijuana, aka cannabis, is proven or highly likely to help ease stiffness and muscle spasms that are common with MS, at least as measured by self-reported symptoms.

Some evidence suggests that marijuana or its active compounds, called cannabinoids, may ease sleep problems in some people with MS, fibromyalgia, and certain other medical conditions.

But evidence is weak that marijuana or cannabinoids:

  • Improve muscle tightness, or spasticity, as measured by a doctor.
  • Help or donât ease depressive symptoms among people with MS or long-term pain.

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What To Watch For

Whether you smoke pot or dab on CBD oil, you may not always know exactly what youâre using. The FDA doesnât regulate them, so the THC levels, for example, may vary a lot from one batch to the next. Or you may react very differently to CBD than someone else.

Itâs not safe to drive while youâre high on marijuana. Smoking or vaping it also can irritate your lungs, affect your memory, and make it harder to think clearly. It also can make you feel:

  • Anxious

How Cannabis Works On Bipolar Disorder

The endocannabinoid system exists in all vertebrates and helps regulate crucial functions such as sleep, pain, and appetite. The human body produces its own cannabinoids, which modulate and activate its various functions, but as its name suggests, the endocannabinoid system can also be modulated and activated by cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Because the entire system was only discovered in the past 30 years, scientists still have much to learn about the myriad ways cannabis affects the human body.

Interestingly, cannabinoids , are also able to activate receptors in the ECS, and thus trigger similar effects. So when something is regulated by the endocannabinoid system, there is a good chance cannabis can impact it.

Some researchers believe that bipolar might be able to be treated by cannabis, in part because of how both are tied to this important system. Since bipolar is a disorder related to emotional regulation, and emotion is partly regulated by the ECS, researchers hypothesize that modulating this system with cannabinoids could be a potential treatment option. Based on what we know about emotional regulation and the ECS, activating particular ECS receptors could help stabilize mood. Other researchers point to different receptors in the ECS, which can help boost positive mood, particularly during depressive episodes.

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Current Treatments Available For Bipolar Disorder And Their Side Effects

Most bipolar patients, even people who have severe forms of the condition, can substantially stabilize their symptoms and mood swings with the right treatment. Since this is a recurrent illness, professionals highly encourage long-term preventative treatment. For optimal management of the disorder long-term, youll need a treatment plan of both psychotherapy and medication.

Types Of Bipolar Disorder

Medical marijuana and bipolar disorder

Various bipolar disorder types exist, but all involve episodes of mania and depression to a certain degree. These forms consist of these five:

  • Bipolar I disorder. Here you experience severe mood events from depression to mania.
  • Bipolar II disorder. This is a milder type of mood elevation and involves milder hypomania episodes, which can switch to periods of severe depression.
  • Cyclothymic disorder. You have brief periods of hypomanic symptoms alternating with short depressive symptom periods when you have a cyclothymic disorder. These arent as long-lasting or extensive as you would see in full depressive or full hypomanic episodes.
  • Mixed features. Here, youre hypomanic, manic or depressive and experience concurrent opposite mood polarity symptoms.
  • Rapid-cycling. This type of bipolar disorder occurs when you have four or more mood events in a year.
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    Treatment And Prognosis Of Cannabis

    For someone diagnosed with this condition it is important to get treatment for bipolar disorder but also for cannabis use disorder. If an individual has used marijuana heavily or frequently enough to induce bipolar symptoms, it is likely he or she can also be diagnosed with a substance use disorder. The best outcomes for co-occurring disorders are when both are addressed and treated at the same time.

    For both conditions therapy is a central factor in treatment. Behavioral therapies that help patients learn to make positive changes, as well as group and family therapies, alternative therapies and creative therapies, can help lead to sobriety and symptom management. A residential facility and outpatient programs can provide appropriate therapy and may also have supplemental services, such as medical care, holistic treatment, recreation, and support groups.

    Bipolar disorder is also often treated with medications, although the best care includes therapy as well. Medications used for bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers to steady moods and control cycle between depression and mania. Some patients may also benefit from antipsychotic medications and antidepressants. It can take some time to find the right combination of medications, and it is important for individuals to follow a doctors instructions during this process, never stopping use of a drug without guidance.

    Improves Mood Symptoms And Lower Mental Impairment

    Limited studies have examined the impact of marijuana on mood in bipolar patients. However, a pilot study published in 2016 concluded that some patients experienced a substantial, yet temporary improvement in mood symptoms after using marijuana.

    Furthermore, the above study found that these symptomatic improvements were not at the expense of impaired mental performance. There was a significant difference in cognitive impairment between bipolar patients using marijuana and bipolar patients who had never used marijuana.

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    The Relations Between Bipolar And Marijuana Is Complicated And We Get Most Of It Covered Bonus Know If Marijuana Can Help Other Medical Conditions

    When looking into the use of medical marijuana on bipolar disorder, it is first important to understand how marijuana can affect the chemical structure in the brain. Bipolar disorder is an organic mental health condition where sufferers go through periods of too much energy and periods of low energy . Normally, synthetic mood stabilizers and therapy are used to manage the condition.

    In recent times, guidelines for the use of medical marijuana have expanded to include mood disorders in some states. There is scientific research being done to see if marijuana can help reduce the swings and prevent manic or psychotic symptoms.

    Does Cannabis Help Bipolar Disorder

    Is Indica or Sativa better for Bipolar Disorder?

    Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects 2.6% of Americans. It has a profound effect on everyday life, and, at present, there is no known cure.

    There are various treatment options available, including therapy and medication to either prevent episodes of extreme behavior or treat them once they occur. Some believe that cannabis may help address some symptoms of bipolar disorder, such as self-doubt and pessimism however, the relationship between cannabis and bipolar disorder is contentious.

    Some people with bipolar disorder may look to find an uplifting and relaxing cannabis strain that works for them.

    One 2015 study, conducted by Gibbs et al., analyzed a collection of studies that reviewed the relationship between bipolar disorder and cannabis.

    Their findings, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, found that using cannabis could increase the risk of manic symptoms. Other studies have provided similar concerns about cannabis use.

    Despite this, some people with bipolar disorder may still look to find an uplifting and relaxing cannabis strain that works for them. Its important to note that these strains are not clinically proven to aid the lows or highs caused by bipolar disorder.

    Keep reading to discover the five best cannabis strains for bipolar disorder.

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    Is Medical Marijuana Safe For Treating Bipolar Disorder

    When used as directed by a knowledgeable medical marijuana doctor, cannabinoids have been shown to be well-tolerated with a low risk of long-term side effects for most patients. However, patients suffering from mental health disorders should use extreme care when attempting to treat their condition with medical marijuana.

    Wide mood swings produce a tendency in bipolar patients to overreact and take unwarranted risks. This factor can cause bipolar patients to take extreme measures including consuming excessive dosages of cannabinoids which can worsen mental health disorders. THC, in particular, because of its ability to induce feelings of euphoria has the potential for abuse.

    CBD might present a better option for bipolar patients as it is known to help reduce depression without causing anxiety in most patients. Moreover, anyone can buy CBD online without the need for a medical marijuana card. That being said, medical marijuana and cannabis-infused medicines should only be used at the direction of a qualified medical marijuana doctor.

    Cannabis Use In Bipolar Disorder Presents A Treatment Challenge

      Among patients with bipolar disorder, cannabis is the most commonly abused drug. Lifetime use of cannabis among bipolar patients is estimated to be around 70%, and 30% present a comorbidity of cannabis abuse or dependence. The risk for psychotic disorders increases with the frequency and intensity of cannabis use. Researchers have found that cannabis use is also associated with a younger age at onset of first manic episode, increased manic and depressive episodes, increased risk of rapid cycling, poorer outcome, and poorer treatment compliance.1

      These findings illuminate the challenges in treating patients with bipolar disorder who use cannabis, especially as an increasing number of US states legalize marijuana. Self-medication with cannabis was recently found to be 3.73 percentage points higher among those living in states with medical marijuana laws.2 Although further investigations are needed to clarify the relationship between mania onset and cannabis use, researchers say they are undeniably correlated.1

      Psychiatry Advisor spoke with Girish Subramanyan, MD, a psychiatrist in full-time private practice in San Francisco, California, specializing in the treatment of adults with mood and anxiety disorders, including treatment-resistant mood and anxiety disorders.

      Psychiatry Advisor: Does cannabis use present any challenges in treating patients with bipolar disorder? If so, what are the challenges and how do they affect treatment?

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      Let Marijuana Doctors Help You Get Your Bipolar Symptom Relief Through Medical Marijuana

      While there are still questions about whether individuals should treat their bipolar disorder with medical cannabis, only you will know if this medicine will help relieve your symptoms. Browse for a medical marijuana dispensary or search for a cannabis-certified doctor so you can sit down and discuss this potent herbs potential in treating your depressive or manic episodes.

      Find A Doctor Find A Dispensary

      Mental Conditions That Can Be Treated With Marijuana

      Cannabis and Bipolar Disorder: What do we know? What do we still need to learn?

      After knowing the relations between marijuana and bipolar, now let’s look at other uses og marijuana. Medical Marijuana may be helpful for certain mental conditions. Medical research really does need to continue to push for more research, because the following conditions have shown improvement as reported by patients:

      • Migraines: Migraines may be physical pain, but they are often caused by over-stimulation of the neurotransmitters in the brain. Marijuana calms the neural system to help relieve migraines. It is also reported to be helpful with other side symptoms like sensitivity to light and nausea.
      • Anxiety: The right strain of marijuana can slow down thoughts which sometimes lead to intense anxiety over worry and tense situations.
      • Insomnia: Using edible medical marijuana before bed with some milk may be very helpful in falling asleep and staying asleep all night. Edibles have a very slow onset and should not be overused, but have less side-effects and addictive qualities than synthetic sleep aids.
      • Depression: Marijuana has been reported to raise mood levels in people who suffer from depression. People who suffer from both anxiety and depression noted feeling calmer and happier with relief of both low moods and anxious tendencies.

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      What Is The Best Strain For Bipolar Disorder Indica Vs Sativa

      There is limited research in the field of medical marijuana, and thats why there is no scientific evidence to prove which is the best marijuana strain for bipolar disorder. Some people may get the most results from Indica, and yet others will feel better after using Sativa strains.

      The difference is in which strain causes a body high and which one causes a mind high. Indica strains target the body and cause muscle relaxation and pain relief.

      On the other hand, Sativa brings on a mind high. This is where all the psychoactive effects like reality distortion occurs. It might seem that Sativa will benefit bipolar patients more, but Indica and hybrid strains can also have a great effect on mood disorders.

      Why Some People Use Marijuana For Bipolar Disorder

      Several anecdotal reports state that marijuana helps bipolar disorder. Marijuana essentially slows down the brain, which is why people with bipolar disorder may choose cannabis to help alleviate stress, anxiety and manic symptoms. Cannabis may seem like a good alternative to prescription medications that prove ineffective. According to interviews conducted by Psychiatry Advisor, several patients of a California marijuana dispensary reported that cannabis helps reduce the frequency of mood swings, racing thoughts and feelings of dread, making their daily life more manageable.

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      Where To Get It

      Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. But more than half the states have legalized cannabis for medical use, with the number doubling in 5 years. If you live in one of those states, your doctor will need to approve or certify you for medical marijuana. That allows you to buy it from a medically endorsed pharmacy or a dispensary.

      In addition, in least 20 states and the District of Columbia, recreational pot is legal or treated as a minor infraction.

      Bottom Line On Marijuana And Bipolar Disorder

      Can Marijuana Treat Bipolar Disorder?

      Current scientific research indicates that marijuana is probably not an appropriate treatment for bipolar disorder and could, in some cases, exacerbate or even trigger the condition. The exception could be cannabis containing high levels of whole-plant CBD and low levels of THC, but further research beyond anecdotal evidence is necessary. Bipolar disorder should always be treated under the care of a qualified medical professional.

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      Medical Cannabis Patients Share Their Stories

      Joshua Fields was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 27 years old. As a child he had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , often a comorbid condition with bipolar disorder. The bipolar diagnosis wasn’t a big shock. I kind of always suspected I could be bipolar, he told Weedmaps in a phone interview.

      The 31-year-old Colorado native started using medical cannabis shortly after his bipolar diagnosis. I dose with pretty low levels of THC because it can make me super anxious. Weed with more CBD has been better for me. Actually it’s been a lifesaver, he said.

      At the worst of his bipolar disorder, just prior to diagnosis, Joshua had been experiencing such severe mood swings that his relationships and career were suffering. My girlfriend broke up with me and I came really close to losing my job, he shared.

      When he started using whole-plant CBD-rich tinctures under his primary physician’s care, Joshua’s mood swings abated and he became more focused on his work as an insurance claims agent. I also started sleeping better and just felt more relaxed overall.

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