Does Cannabis Help or Worsen Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that can cause extreme changes in mood. This includes low, depressive episodes and high, manic episodes. These mood swings can be both extreme and unpredictable.

Someone living with bipolar disorder can also have symptoms of psychosis including:

  • hallucinations, seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
  • delusions, believing something is true that isn’t

Going through the emotional highs and lows of bipolar disorder can greatly affect a person’s ability to function in day-to-day life. There’s no cure for bipolar disorder, but treatments can help.

Standard treatments, such as prescription medications and therapy, can help a person manage their mood changes and other symptoms. Researchers continue to look into other treatment options as well, including medical marijuana.

While there are currently few studies on the use of CBD for bipolar disorder, CBD appears to generate the same type of response in the body as many of the medications used to treat the condition. The neuroprotective and antioxidative benefits of CBD may also help to alleviate the symptoms of bipolar and increase the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels.

It’s not difficult to find testimony from people living with bipolar disorder crediting CBD for relieving their symptoms, or reducing the side effects of their current medications. While testimonies are anecdotal, their findings appear to be backed by scientific evidence.

A federally funded research study neurologically assessed 133 patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The test subjects took 100 mg of CBD daily over the course of several weeks. All 133 participants reported feeling consistent energy levels throughout the day and stable mood levels. At the end of the study, their neurological tests were administered each of the participants showed remarkable improvement in attention, verbal fluency, executive functioning and logical- memory recall.

An animal study investigating the anti-depressive qualities of CBD concluded that CBD reduced the symptoms of depression by influencing cortical serotonin, glutamate levels, and 5-HT1A receptors. CBD also appears to reduce symptoms of psychosis and normalizes the functions affecting psychiatric patients. This appears to be due to the interaction of CBD with serotonin receptors.

In vitro studies show that CBD provides neuroprotection, including the oxidative stress and free radical damage, significant factors believed to contribute to the development of bipolar CBD also appears to trigger an action similar to lithium, a mood stabilizer used to combat symptoms. The results suggest that initial manic episodes may be triggered by increased oxidative stress and the activation of antioxidant defenses theoretically related to dysfunctional energy metabolization and neuroplasticity.

CBD appears to act similarly to atypical antipsychotic drugs without the potentially serious and long-term side effects, by providing anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing benefits, similarly to the medications used to treat manic episodes. CBD is also shown to have value as a low-risk antidepressant that is unlikely to interfere with prescription medications.

It’s important to remember that CBD is not a cure or treatment for any disorder. CBD is not a medication; it is a dietary supplement with the potential to supplement the neurotransmitters and influence the receptors that regulate your moods, emotions, and nearly every important function regulated by your endocannabinoid system.

The information supporting the use of CBD from hemp is based on research results, animal studies and the testimonies of those who claim benefits from CBD supplements. If you have a medical condition or take medication, it is important to discuss the potential benefits of CBD with your healthcare provider.

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