Treating bipolar disorder, mania, and depression associated with it continues to challenge patients and doctors alike — many people with bipolar depression experience difficult-to-treat, recurring manic-depressive episodes.
You may be wondering if CBD could provide much-needed relief for you or a loved one's symptoms. We will dive into the topic within this article...
In early 2016, a blogger wrote about his son's struggle to find an effective treatment for bipolar disorder. After four years of almost yearly hospitalization, cannabis was the only option that seemed to be helpful.
"From my first breath, I could see the momentary improvement of mood," Father wrote. But curiously, he also thought his son's smoking habits of the "street pot" increased his psychosis, even causing manic episodes.
How can the same plant shake and alleviate the symptoms of his child?
The boy's father claimed to find the key to effective treatment. When looking into this further, he determined that the chemical composition of the cannabis strain he used contained large amounts of cannabidiol (CBD).
Can CBD Help Alleviate Bipolar Disorder Symptoms?
Whether or not CBD is helpful in alleviating Bipolar Disorder Symptoms remains a contested subject.
An investigation into the association between cannabis and bipolar disorder has led to some conflicting results. Some studies claim that using cannabis improves cognitive function and that patients feel that the effects are better than conventional drugs for treating their symptoms.
However, other studies suggest that it may increase depressive symptoms or that continued cannabis use is associated with a higher incidence of manic episodes. There is also a risk of drug dependence and drug abuse. Research has shown that people with bipolar disorder have a 6.8 times higher chance of using marijuana illegally than the rest of the population.
There is numerous evidence suggesting that CBD has the same antipsychotic and anticonvulsant properties as conventional bipolar disorder treatments. Also, it appears that the chemical composition of strain you use is crucial.
The balance between the two most notable compounds within cannabis seems to be the critical component of effective treatment. Strains with higher CBD over THC seem more effective than others.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder (BD), also known as manic depression, is a mental health problem that results in extreme mood swings, including acute (mania or hypomania) and minimal (depressive) emotional disturbances.
When you are depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or enjoyment for most activities. When your mood becomes manic or hypomanic (less extreme than manic), you may feel euphoric, full of energy, or unusually irritable. BD can affect sleep, energy, activity, behavior, and ability to think clearly.
Mood swings may occur infrequently or a few times a year. Although most people experience emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not feel it.
Although bipolar disorder is a chronic disease, you can control your mood swings and other symptoms following the treatment plan your doctor prescribes. In most cases, therapists treat bipolar disorder with drugs and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).
What Causes Bipolar Disorder?
The exact causes of bipolar disorder are difficult to pinpoint, but several factors may be involved, such as:
- Biological Differences: It seems that people with bipolar disorder have physical changes in the brain. The importance of these changes is still uncertain but can help identify causes.
- Genetics Bipolar disorder: Hereditary symptoms are common in people with first-degree relatives, such as a brother or sister, or a father with that illness. Researchers are attempting to locate the genes involved with the suspected causes of bipolar disorder.
People who struggle with bipolar disorder appear to also struggle with addiction and substance dependence.
A study by the Epidemiologic Catchment Area found that 46% of patients with bipolar disorder also had a history of alcohol dependence, while 41% had a history of other substance abuse and addiction.
Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
If you experience symptoms of depression or mania, contact your doctor or mental health professional. Bipolar disorder does not improve alone. Being treated by mental health professionals with bipolar disorder experience can help you manage your symptoms.
While CBD is not a cure for any disease, it has been shown to help with symptoms you may be experiencing. If you want relief and think CBD may be a solution for you, be sure to check out Mana Artisan Botanics™
A variety of drugs are used to treat bipolar disorder. The types and doses of prescription drugs depend on your specific symptoms.
Medications may include:
- Mood stabilizers like lithium (Lithobid), valproic acid (Depakene), divalproex sodium (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol, Equetro, others) and lamotrigine (Lamictal)
- Antipsychotics like olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone (Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel), aripiprazole (Abilify), ziprasidone (Geodon), lurasidone (Latuda) or asenapine (Saphris) may help.
- Anti-anxiety medications
Depending on your needs, other treatments may help treat your symptoms.
During electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), electrical currents go through the brain, deliberately causing a short seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that may reverse the symptoms of some mental illness.
Bipolar therapy may be a treatment option if symptoms do not improve with medication. It may also help if you cannot take antidepressants for health reasons such as pregnancy or if it presents a high risk of suicide.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (SMT) is an option for those who do not respond favorably to antidepressants.
Cannabidiol inhibits serotonin reuptake in rats, suggesting that it improves abnormalities of CB1 receptors that inhibit release to mice. If CBD works the same way in the human brain, this could be an alternative to conventional antidepressants, especially in people with refractory BD.
How CBD Can Treat Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
There are many types of bipolar symptoms and related disorders, which include mania or hypomania and depression. Symptoms can cause unpredictable mood swings and behavior, causing significant difficulties in life.
- Bipolar Disorder I: You have had at least one manic episode that can precede or follow great hypnosis or depression episodes. In some cases, mania can cause interruptions with reality (psychosis).
- Bipolar Disorder II: You had at least one severe depression episode and at least one episode of hypomania, but you never had a manic episode.
- Cyclothymic Disorder: Symptoms appear for a longer-term (1-2 years)in children and adolescents. There are frequent periods of hypomanic and depressive symptoms (though less severe than depression).
- Other Types: This includes, for example, bipolar and related disorders induced by certain drugs or alcohol or due to a pathological condition such as Cushing's disease, or multiple sclerosis.
CBD rarely causes side effects. However, conventional methods of treating and using cannabis derivatives as a treatment may have potentially adverse side effects.
NOTE: The most dangerous side effect of any BD treatment is a potentially aggravated symptom.
People with symptoms of bipolar disorder, or who have had one of the variants previously diagnosed, should consult a doctor before starting treatment or modifying a medical procedure.
Even those with variations in disease-resistant diseases can benefit from traditional methods (such as psychotherapy).
Regulation of the endocannabinoid system with CBD may be a way of reducing symptoms in patients with bipolar affective disorder. There is a need for more clinical trials on people to check for preliminary data, but the future of cannabinoids as a BD treatment seems promising.
The Links Between Cannabis, CBD and Bipolar Depression
Cannabis use for Bipolar Depression is highly contested these days. On the one hand, THC-heavy cannabis use has been shown to worsen bipolar symptoms, while other studies show cannabis use as a potentially useful alternative treatment for the disease.
Why? Well, we must differentiate the types of cannabis being consumed.
THC is a psychoactive compound found in cannabis, which may exacerbate bipolar symptoms. However, CBD’s antipsychotic properties not only mitigate the effects of THC in that it reduces the impact and duration of THC’s psychoactivity, but it also works as an alternative to traditional antipsychotics without the long-term side effects.
Bipolar depression is not a simple condition to treat. It comes in varieties, noted by the severity of episodes and behaviors during manic events.
According to an inpatient study over a month, patients with Bipolar Disorder underwent a clinical trial to identify if CBD monotherapy was effective in treating manic episodes.
Researchers concluded that CBD might not be sufficient for manic episodes of Bipolar Affective Disorder because patients with BD did not show any improvements for their manic symptoms.
Further clinical trials with larger samples may corroborate or refute current findings.
What's the CBD Dosage for Bipolar Disorder?
Based on widespread anecdotal evidence only, the standard CBD dosage recommendation may depend on your body weight. Start with 1 to 6 mg for every 10 pounds of body weight.
We've built a calculator for you so that you can find the lowest starting dose for your body weight below:
The above dosage recommendation is general and merely a suggestion. Your case may differ in that you may need a lot more, while others may need a lot less. Please consult with your physician before supplementing your treatment with CBD.
Before beginning or attempting any supplement, including CBD oil or other CBD products, first, consult a physician or psychiatrist. CBD may have unintended interaction with psychiatric drugs and may have adverse side effects or health problems.
In short, the CBD looks promising to help alleviate some of the symptoms of some mental disorders. However, much research based on human development is still in the background, but early signs are promising.
Mayoclinic.org. (2018). Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) - Mayo Clinic. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/electroconvulsive-therapy/about/pac-20393894 [Accessed 22 Oct. 2019].
Mayfield, E. (2016). A Father’s Perspective: Clinical Studies Show High-CBD Cannabis Provides Mood Stabilization for Bipolar Schizophrenia” – United Patients Group. [online] Unitedpatientsgroup.com. Available at: https://unitedpatientsgroup.com/blog/2016/03/02/guest-post-a-fathers-perspective-personal-experience-clinical-studies-show-high-cbd-cannabis-provides-mood-stabilization-for-bipolarschizophrenia [Accessed 22 Oct. 2019].
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