What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a mental disorder characterized by periods of depression and mania.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “bipolar” is defined as “having or relating to two poles or extremities.” When it comes to bipolar disorder, this is an apt description. The changes in mood and behavior caused by bipolar disorder can be extreme. This can be very upsetting for you as a person with bipolar, as well as for your friends and loved ones.
Depressive episodes in bipolar disorder have similar symptoms to other forms of depression, like major depressive disorder. Your symptoms may include sadness, emotional numbness, changes in appetite, low energy, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty concentrating.
Manic episodes in bipolar disorder can consist of extremely high energy, euphoria, irritability, racing thoughts, speaking quickly or “pressured speech”, distractibility, impulsive behavior, anxiety, and even psychosis. Mania can impair your ability to make decisions and cause you to behave in risky ways, like abusing drugs, spending too much money, or risky sexual behavior.
The challenges of bipolar lead many patients to suicidal thoughts, and estimates suggest that up to 50% of patients with the condition attempt suicide at least once during their life, while nearly 20% complete suicide.
If you’re diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you’ll know that it can be a very distressing condition. Considering the difficulties in managing this disease, as well as the unpleasant side effects of conventional treatments, it’s natural to look to alternative approaches. Carry on reading to see how CBD could benefit your bipolar disorder.
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Can CBD Oil Help Cure Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. This means that there is no known cure. As such, it’s more helpful to think in terms of treatment rather than cure, and patients typically require medical support for the rest of their lives.
On the positive side, many patients respond very well to treatment. However, traditional drugs used for bipolar disorder can come with severe side effects. This leads many patients to look to alternative approaches, like CBD.
The good news for bipolar patients is that irregularities in the endocannabinoid system have been implicated as a factor in psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder. This means that cannabinoids including CBD may be able to help, and many patients have reported that can be helpful for many of the most unpleasant symptoms of this condition.
Traditional treatment approaches for bipolar disorder focus on controlling the cycle of depression and mania using drugs known as mood stabilizers. This category of drugs includes lithium, valproic acid, and carbamazepine.
Your psychiatrist may also recommend using an antipsychotic drug to control your symptoms of mania, and some patients may benefit from an antidepressant. However, antidepressants have been shown to provoke episodes of mania in some patients, and so these are typically used with caution.
Evidence of Antipsychotic Effects of CBD
CBD has shown great promise in treating psychosis, and case reports have shown that CBD could be a safe and well-tolerated alternative to these medications. Studies have also found that “CBD may prove to be an attractive alternative to current antipsychotic treatment.” Researchers noted the cost-effectiveness of CBD compared to current antipsychotic drugs, and praised CBD’s comparative lack of side effects.
Given antipsychotics’ potential for serious and long-term unwanted effects, it’s worth checking with your psychiatrist to see if CBD could be included as part of your treatment regime
Evidence for Cbd and Depression
Scientists have long noted CBD’s potential as a treatment for depression, and the cannabinoid has been demonstrated to have similar activity to common antidepressants within the brain via the 5-HT1A receptor. CBD has also been shown to reduce inflammation within the brain and contribute to neurogenesis, which may also help patients with depression.
It’s important to recall that, for some patients with bipolar disorder, antidepressants can actually worsen symptoms of mania. Given the potential for self-harm in patients with bipolar disorder, it’s crucial to check with your doctor before starting to take CBD.
CBD Oil Dosage for Bipolar Disorder
Because everyone responds differently to cannabinoids, it’s difficult to say precisely what dosage is best when using CBD to manage bipolar disorder.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to doctors accustomed to working with CBD, they should be able to advise you about how much to take.
If you’re not so fortunate and your doctor is unable to offer advice about CBD dosage, it’s a good idea to take a cautious approach. CBD dose ranges are often in the range of 1-6mg per 10lbs of body weight.
Considering the potential for CBD to worsen some symptoms of bipolar, like mania, you’ll want to start at the low end of this range. If you find that CBD helps with your symptoms, you can slowly increase your dosage. If you notice any unwanted effects, and particularly an increase in manic symptoms or thoughts of self-harm, you should dial back your dosage or stop using CBD entirely.
Best CBD Oil for Bipolar Disorder
Many patients find that the most effective forms of CBD oil are full-spectrum oils which contain all of the beneficial cannabinoids found in hemp, as well as the terpenes and other molecules responsible for the entourage effect.
Many patients find that CBD paste can be most effective, although there can be concerns with controlling dosage. To make dosing easier, you could consider trying CBD diluted in a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil. Any good product of this type will include an estimate of the amount of CBD in each drop, so you can take the correct number of drops to provide the dosage you need according to your doctor’s advice or your own calculations.
Bipolar disorder is a serious and lifelong condition. While CBD could prove very effective in helping to manage your condition, bipolar disorder is a complex condition. This means that any change in your treatment regime should be closely monitored by your psychiatrist. In particular, it’s important to keep tabs on how CBD affects your mood and manic symptoms.
Make sure to choose a CBD product from a reputable supplier, and consider using a form of CBD which allows you to easily control your dosage.
If you have a friend or relative with bipolar disorder, make sure to share this article with them, and please leave us a comment to share your experience if you’ve had success in using CBD to treat bipolar disorder.
Will is the editor here at CBD Oil Geek. He is passionate about CBD and other natural alternatives to dangerous prescription medicines. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn, New York.