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Can CBD Help Treat Bipolar Disorder

How CBD Can Treat Bipolar Disorder

The wondrous cannabinoid known as cannabidiol (CBD) has been known to treat many ailments, from different types of physical pain to serious conditions like epilepsy and cancer. Besides having anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, and anxiolytic properties, this non-psychoactive substance also has antipsychotic properties, which makes it very useful for treating bipolar disorder. Knowing what we

The wondrous cannabinoid known as cannabidiol (CBD) has been known to treat many ailments, from different types of physical pain to serious conditions like epilepsy and cancer. Besides having anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, and anxiolytic properties, this non-psychoactive substance also has antipsychotic properties, which makes it very useful for treating bipolar disorder.

Knowing what we know of the medication used for treating this mood disorder, most often than not called “psych meds” (and the many others,) they often carry dangerous side effects, making it safe to say that cannabis oil high in CBD is probably the safer and healthier alternative. By having the same antipsychotic and anticonvulsive effect as the above mentioned “psych meds”, CBD slowly but surely makes its way as the best natural treatment for mood disorders like bipolar disease.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

To put it simply, bipolar disorder is a complex mixture of different moods, the two main ones being depression and mania. Before the 1990s, this condition was known as manic depression, since it manifests itself through manic and depressive states of mood. A person suffering from this condition can start their day as any other day, then all of a sudden in the middle of the afternoon, for example, experience a manic episode where feelings of being full of energy and euphoria can become overwhelming. Then, as another example, prior to going to bed, their mood can shift from manic to depressed, where feelings of hopelessness and sadness take over. Knowing the fact that these high and low mood swings come and go as they like, bipolar disorder can have a huge impact on one’s daily life, interfering with many daily activities.

Bipolar Disorder and the Endocannabinoid System

According to this study and some others, bipolar disorder can occur as a result of an imbalance of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS consists of cannabinoids, produced internally by the human body, and our naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors, which can be found throughout the body but are most common in the brain and the immune system. Since our ECS is scattered throughout the brain, it’s only logical that it’s involved in modulating many of the brain’s functions, like mood for example. Due to this involvement in the mood, it’s safe to say that an imbalanced ECS affects mood-related disorders like depression or bipolar disorder.

CBD, being the magical ingredient that it is, brings back the lost balance of our ECS and is even suggested to improve its function. Instead of interacting directly with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD boosts their activity while activating other receptors as well. By activating certain receptors, CBD protects us from certain conditions. Let’s say that the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor is activated. If this happens, CBD will have an anti-depressant effect on one’s body.

CBD and Depression

A study published in 2016 by Dr. Linge et al., investigated the effects of CBD for treating major depression. After conducting the behavioral and neurochemical studies, scientists concluded that CBD indeed has antidepressant effects, and on top of that it acts with the speed of light, so to speak. CBD quickly increased the amount of serotonin, the happy hormone, and glutamate, a major transmitter in the brain.

Another study, published by Dr. Zuardi et al., reviewed the literature involving CBD as an antipsychotic drug, where CBD was compared to a typical antipsychotic medication called haloperidol. Interestingly, researchers noted that CBD produces the same effect as an antipsychotic drug, with one major difference. While the so-called “psych meds” have an abundance of side-effects like drowsiness, nausea, dry mouth, weight gain, even kidney damage, CBD has no side-effects whatsoever, which makes it the ultimate alternative for treating bipolar disorder.

Inflammation is often connected to almost all mood disorders. When having a depressive episode, brain inflammation rises, and the more it rises the more it contributes to that depressive episode. Fortunately, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties as well as pain-relieving properties, so it doesn’t only reduce inflammation significantly, but it also reduces bodily pain like headaches, joint pain, and so on.

Oxidative stress in the brain, which results in the formation of free radicals, is also connected to bipolar disease. CBD, having anti-oxidative and neuroprotective properties, protects the brain from free radicals but also helps with neurogenesis. Neurogenesis means generating neurons, or growing new cells, in the hippocampus which is that part of the brain mainly associated with memory. According to a report published by Dr. Hill et al. in 2015, the growth of new cells in the hippocampal is all it takes so depression-like behaviors are reduced.

CBD and Mania

Clinical trials were conducted by Dr. Zuardi et al. in order to confirm the antipsychotic properties of CBD in Parkinson’s disease patients.

Researchers recruited six individuals with Parkinson’s disease who suffered from psychosis for a minimum of three months. They were given a dose of CBD, the initial one being 150mg, alongside their normal therapy, for one month. After being evaluated, the patients experienced a significant reduction of the psychotic symptoms, which proves that CBD can successfully be used when treating manic episodes in bipolar disorder patients.

CBD as a Mood Stabilizer  

Cannabis works as a mood stabilizer for people who suffer from bipolar disorder, according to collected anecdotal evidence. According to these cases, the use of cannabis helped the patients when it came to stabilizing their mood, but also notably helped in reducing lithium’s side effects. These mood-stabilizing properties are not only beneficial to bipolar patients, but also for people who suffer from depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and other mood disorders.

Before continuing, I have to mention that there are contradictory results when observing cannabis’ effects on mood disorders. The reason for this is simple – the THC/CBD ratio in each strain and marijuana product is different, in some THC predominates, while in others it’s the other way around. Note that THC usually increases anxious thoughts and in some cases increases depression, which is why CBD is the cannabinoid responsible for inducing psychosis and for giving you that calm, relaxed feeling.

According to another anecdotal evidence, Mr. Mayfield talks about his son who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Since he was using anti-seizure medication suitable for epileptic patients for his mood stabilization, his father recommended that he used the ACDC strain high in CBD and low in THC, usually recommended to epileptic patients. Mr. Mayfield was impressed by the strain’s effect since it stabilized his son’s mood even after one puff. He then continued to do research regarding high CBD strains and its effects for people with mood disorders. He stumbled upon this study which only confirms CBD’s benefits and its antipsychotic effect when treating various mood disorders.

Final Words

Bipolar Disorder is no joke considering the fact that it affects more than 60 million people around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Since this condition manifests itself through sudden episodes of depression and mania that can be either extreme or mild, it can go quite unnoticed. Celebrities and artists like Russel Brand, Vincent van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, Carrie Fisher, Kurt Cobain, Marilyn Monroe, and many others suffer from this disorder, which is otherwise known as the “creative curse.” The most obvious and natural treatment is CBD, since in some cases it worked better than the “psych meds,” especially when considering the fact that lithium is assessed not to work for one-third of the people who suffer from BD. Even more importantly, there are no side-effects whatsoever, so you won’t feel any drowsiness and won’t have a kidney failure in the future. Still, much more human research is needed in order for CBD to be established as the best-working antipsychotic drug, just without the side-effects. 

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