How Does Medical Marijuana Help With and Treat Bipolar Disorder?

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The use of medical marijuana among people suffering from bipolar disorder is increasing on a daily basis. Bipolar disorder is a mental condition that is characterized by extreme shifts in mood. People with bipolar disorder always find difficulties when it comes to handling their jobs, school tasks or even maintaining relationships. An estimated 2.8 percent of the adults in the United States of America have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Even though bipolar often affects older people, the average age at which people with bipolar disorder start showing symptoms is 25 years. Some of the common symptoms of bipolar disorder include the feelings of excitement, impulsiveness as well as euphoria. Also, some patients with bipolar disorder become depressed and therefore, activities such as unprotected sex, spending sprees and even drug abuse manifest. In addition, most people with bipolar disorder suffer from hopelessness, loss of energy, suicidal thoughts, and deep sadness.

There are several treatments for bipolar disorder, including medications such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants and antipsychotics. Additionally, counselling and changes in lifestyle are usually recommended to manage patients with bipolar disorder. That said, some of the medications that are used in treating bipolar disorder have adverse effects and that explains why medical marijuana is being considered as an alternative treatment for the condition.

There exists a plethora of anecdotal evidence that suggest that the right medical marijuana regiment can help patients manage some or all the symptoms associated with bipolar disorder. According to an article that was published in 1998 through the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, many sufferers of bipolar disorder admitted to have found medical marijuana to be an effective treatment option. However, the author of the article, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, an associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and well-recognized cannabis activist stated that there was a need for more research on the subject to ascertain the full extent to which medical marijuana can be used in the treatment of mental disorders, bipolar disorder inclusive.

Several years later, in 2005, the Journal of Psychopharmacology published a review and discussion that explored the therapeutic potential of medical cannabinoids in the effectiveness of the treatment of bipolar disorder. According to the review, bipolar disorder is most often poorly controlled by prescription drugs and that explains why the team was interested in finding out the extent to which medical cannabis could provide mental health benefits.

Researchers also undertook a literature review of the use of cannabis by people with bipolar disorder and of the neuropharmacological properties of cannabinoids. The researchers found out that anecdotal reports suggest that some patients consume medical marijuana to alleviate both the symptoms of mania and depression. The findings therefore indicated that medical cannabis probably has therapeutic effects in treating bipolar disorder. Detailed findings from this study indicated that cannabinoid’s tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) could possibly exert anxiolytic, antidepressant, antipsychotic, sedative, hypnotic as well as anticonvulsant effects.

In 2012, another study that focused on the cognitive and clinical outcomes associated with cannabis use in patients with bipolar disorder was also conducted. The objective of the study was to compare clinical and neurocognitive measures in people with bipolar disorder with a history of cannabis use disorder (CUD) versus those without a history. According to findings from the study, patients with cannabis use disorder (CUD) demonstrated a significantly better performance in terms of attention, working memory as well as processing speed.

According to a 2016 study that was published via PLOS One, bipolar disorder participants who smoked medical cannabis regularly reported significant reduction in mood symptoms every time they medicated with cannabis. Of course, this finding indicated that medical marijuana potentially has mood stabilizing properties. The same study further revealed that the use of medical marijuana among bipolar patients may not result in additional impairment.

However, scientists have concluded that there is a need for further research in a bid to clarify the relationship between the use of medical marijuana and the treatment or manifestation of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. The reason is that research into the relationship between medical cannabis and bipolar disorder has resulted in contradictory results. According to some studies, medical marijuana improves cognitive functions and some patients have reported that it works better than other conventional prescription drugs when it comes to treating mania and depression. Meanwhile, other studies have reported that medical cannabis increases depressive symptoms and continued use is associated with a higher occurrence of maniac symptoms. Another school of thought is worried about the risk of dependence and drug abuse by patients who opt for medical marijuana as an alternative treatment of bipolar disorder.

Sources:

Healthline
Medical Jane

Marijuana strains reported to help with Bipolar Disorder:

Blue Dream
Lamb’s Bread
Head Band
Alaskan Thunderf
Maui Wowie

How To Get Medical Marijuana

If you are a resident of a legal state interested in trying medical marijuana to treat Bipolar Disorder or other medical conditions, you will first need to consult with a certified doctor in order to get a medical marijuana card. To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.

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