The relationship between cannabis and bipolar disorder is quite complex. We want to be careful when it comes to the mind and the brain and must look deep into research to understand the complexities at its fullest. With many mental illnesses, each treatment can work differently for each individual. For each pharmaceutical drug that has to be offered, comes both its negative and positive side effects.
When it comes to bipolar disorder (BD), we want treatment to be able to calm those in stress or to relieve feelings of anxiety. People will try for many years to find the correct solution with maintaining a healthy mind, and cannabis may be one of them.
According to statistics, about 5 million American citizens currently have bipolar disorder. It is a mental disorder that can cause great changes in mood. Symptoms can include a person mood to be extremely lifted (known as mania), and periods of depression. These significant changes in mood can often affect one’s management of work, school, and maintaining healthy relationships.
As lightly discussed above, there are 3 main symptoms associated with bipolar disorder which include mania, hypomania, and depression. Each are characterized in very different ways and each will be felt in extreme doses by the individual. Some may experience an episode several times in the year, and others very rarely. Treating bipolar disorder can be difficult but there are available methods.
Those with bipolar disorder that are experiencing a manic episode will usually feel an extreme emotional high. These types of emotional highs are much different to those that do not have bipolar disorder. An individual will feel impulsive, excited, euphoric and as if there energy were endless. It is also common during an episode of mania, to engage in unprotected sex, drug use and spending copious amounts of money on unimportant things. This state of mind can usually last a week or more.
With a manic episode, an individual can expect to experience; confused thoughts, be uncontrollably excited, easily distracted, convinced they have special powers (invincibility), behaving extremely rude, not looking after their overall health, paranoia and hallucinations.
Hypomania is a lesser form of mania, lasting up to a few days. It is still apparent and can have disruption on the individuals daily life. There are still changes in mood and behavior that are similar to that of manic episodes. The difference is that you can manage your responsibilities and activities without being seriously affected.
Those that have a hypomanic episode will usually feel a sense of; euphoria, become more confident and sociable, have an increased sexual desire, take large risks, hardly sleep and wear very colourful clothes, but can also become much more irritable, angry and impatient.
As we all are familiar with, after a long time of feeling euphoric, will, unfortunately, follow great sadness. Unlike those that just experience sadness, depression for those with bipolar disorder is totally different. It is an extreme sadness that can last a long time and can ultimately consume you and your lifestyle.
For those that have just had a manic or hypomanic episode, depression is a come down to reality. After a full night sleep after a week of impulsiveness, the inevitable regret starts to kick in. Some people report that they can’t even remember what they doing during an episode which is of course, very distressing. Unfortunately, those that have reported being depressed after a manic episode have stated that they have either spent all of their money or lost very important friendships and relationships in an account to their behavior.
Using cannabis or any CBD (cannabidiol) product to treat bipolar disorder is at a higher rate than those who do not have bipolar disorder. It reflects on the individual’s desire to rid of their depression after a manic episode. Studies have kept a close eye on patients and have found that their mania was plucked away due to the therapeutic effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD within cannabis. Some patients will also use it to help during depressive moments, and feel as though cannabis uplifts them.
Again, we must stress that each persons body chemistry is different and what works for one, may not work for the other. Cannabis can help those with bipolar disorder to slow ‘spinning thoughts’ which allows those to focus in at one thing at a time. Because cannabis can be seen as a therapeutic, it can also stop anxiety attacks from progressing or even put a halt to them from starting. In other words, it could perhaps take the edge off.
It is important to consider the dosage you are consuming and monitor your emotional response. Too much or too little could make your symptoms worse/better. Some argue that the constant use of cannabis can lead to dependency and give the onset of paranoia.
With all things revolving around cannabis and CBD, it is crucial to always discuss your options with a doctor. Your mental health is worth your research.