- General Health
CBD Oil for Bipolar
Most medical conditions that people suffer from tend to be pretty obvious. And many illnesses are visible through behavioral or physical abnormalities.
However, there are plenty of conditions that aren’t so obvious, ones that you would never be able to see. While physical health is likely more apparent, it is possible to suffer from mental conditions that remain completely hidden to everyone.
One of the most unpleasant of these mental conditions is bipolar disorder. This condition, known for causing wild swings between feelings of intense depression and manic happiness, is especially challenging to manage. The most unpleasant thing about it is the sensation of unpredictability; never knowing what your mood will be, or how you will react to things around you.
While there are plenty of different medical treatment options for bipolar disorder, none of them always work consistently. But what about using CBD for bipolar? For instance, could we be using CBD oil for bipolar as a different treatment option?
Bipolar disorder is a mental condition that, sadly, a lot of people typically mischaracterize. Previously known as ‘manic depression,’ this is a condition that humans have suffered from throughout all of history.
It is one of those conditions that used to be considered nothing more than a vague tendency towards sudden sadness or happiness but is now far better understood.
Let’s take a look at what bipolar disorder really is.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Many people that suffer from bipolar disorder first get diagnosed with clinical depression, as that is the most obvious way people with bipolar disorder tend to express themselves.
When you suffer from bipolar disorder, your mood radically shifts between intense depression and feelings of oddly occurring euphoria. This radical shift between happiness and sadness is not only the hallmark of the condition but also its most intensely difficult symptom.
The reason this condition is so difficult to deal with is because the states are so polar opposite. When you are in a manic state, you will be incredibly happy and euphoric. Plenty of energy will fill your bones, along with grand desires and new ideas. Perhaps most alarmingly, you will want to spend all of your money on your new and exciting ideas, something that makes budgeting and trying to survive on limited money tough.
However, while in a manic state, you will also become easy to irritate, as well as finding sleeping or eating to be undesirable. This is something that tends to help contribute to poor physical and mental health when going through a manic stage, as you never get to sleep or eat properly.
However, the depressive stages are arguably worse.
When you are in a depressive stage, you will experience massive feelings of distress and a general lack of desire to do anything. Many bipolar disorder sufferers report that they feel utterly worthless and useless to society, leading to severe thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
This stage of bipolar disorder is crippling, because it utterly undermines a person’s self-worth, leaving them unable to do anything.
However, bipolar disorder can be categorized into different types. Let’s take a look at them.
Types of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar I Disorder
Bipolar I disorder is the most common type of bipolar disorder and one that requires at least one experience of a manic episode. A person with bipolar I disorder tends to go through cycles of both depression and mania, with a short stay of about four days in hypomania.
This is the variety of bipolar disorder that contains the most manic of attitudes, with sufferers tending to stay in this manic state for about a week.
Bipolar II Disorder
Bipolar II disorder is a different type of bipolar disorder in that it is frequently misdiagnosed as clinical depression.
People with this kind of bipolar disorder tend to go into major depressive funks, lasting multiple weeks time, before shortly bouncing back and entering into a state of hypomania for a short while. This state of hypomania is not as intense as the full mania of other types of bipolar disorder, but it quickly comes to an end all the same.
Eventually, patients will coast to a relatively decent level of positive mood, so much so that many people will actually misunderstand them and think that they were just having a particularly bad week.
This is a severe type of bipolar disorder to diagnose or recognize, as people will tend to hide away their depression, only appearing happy and healthy during their more positive mood periods.
With cyclothymic disorder, the sufferer tends to spend about equal time in-between cycles of both depression and mania.
They will vary between bouts of depression, then upwards to hypomania, only to then trend downwards again to depression. While this type of bipolar disorder is certainly more consistent and almost regular in its cycles, it does not tend to hit the crippling highs or depths of bipolar I disorder.
There are a few other types of bipolar disorder that don’t fit into these specific categories. For the people that don’t quite slot into the above classifications, they might suffer bipolar tendencies as a reaction to particulars drugs or alcohol. Additionally, things like Cushing’s disease or a stroke might induce symptoms of bipolar-like behavior as well.
However, to first be able to properly identify the disease, we need to discover what the precise symptoms of bipolar disorder are.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
Mania and Hypomania
Mania and hypomania are the two primary ways with which most people attempt to diagnose and recognize the bipolar disorder.
Both mania and hypomania are inexplicable feelings of happiness and positive mood that take hold with seemingly no root cause. It is more than just pure happiness; however, it goes much further than that.
When you experience episodes of mania, you will find it difficult to concentrate on what goes on around you, as well as trying to prioritize things in your life. You will notice that paying attention to anything feels like it is beneath your notice, often resulting in misbehavior or lousy attitude at work or in school. At the most extreme end of mania, you can experience psychosis, which means that you become disconnected from reality, unable to properly discern what it is real and what is not.
Hypomania is a slightly reduced version of mania, with more focus on the odd giddiness, rather than the endless ambition that full mania creates.
You can generally expect to not want to sleep as much, yet still, feel endlessly energetic and jumpy. People close to you will likely describe you as being easily distracted, very talkative, or just generally lacking in proper cognition or thinking things through.
Going on shopping sprees or experimenting with things you wouldn’t normally are common while experiencing a manic episode.
Major Depressive Episode
Major depressive episodes are the other major characteristic of bipolar disorder. These episodes of intense depression are far and away different from regular examples of clinical depression.
You will feel sad, but far more than you ever remember feeling. Empty, vacant, and devoid of any desire to do anything at all.
You won’t really be able to take pleasure in anything, and you may notice weight loss due to a lack of interest in food. Weirdly enough, you wil not be able to sleep at all, or you will find yourself sleeping too much. Regardless of your sleep state, you will struggle with a complete lack of energy and desire to do anything.
These major depressive episodes last for a pretty long time, putting you at significant risk of suicide, especially for those unprepared for it.
Symptoms in Children and Teens
Children and teenagers can also develop bipolar disorder; in fact, possibly even at a higher rate than adults. Teenagers and children are harder to diagnose, as many people mischaracterize it as simply acting like teenagers.
Wild, unpredictable mood swings will seem to come out of nowhere, as well as inappropriate behavior or aggressive tendencies that they did not have before. Additionally, all of the other typical symptoms that you see with the main forms of bipolar disorder, such as insomnia and depressed mood or irritation.
So what can you actually do to try and treat your bipolar disorder? What are the conventional options for attempting to manage the symptoms?
Bipolar Disorder Treatment
The main treatment recommended for bipolar disorder is a large list of different antipsychotic medications. This wide array of drugs is designed to combat the negative feelings in your mind and a tendency towards feelings of psychosis. Drugs like Clozapine and Olanzapine work towards reducing your brain’s ability to enter these stages of psychosis, hoping to try and stabilize your mental state in the long run.
The issue with trying to treat bipolar disorder is that it requires continuous, lifelong treatment with a whole array of different medications to remain effective.
Skipping medications or treatment days can result in relapse, setting you back months of development. This is obviously hugely inconvenient and problematic, making it so that you are required to have endless amounts of drugs for an incredibly long time.
This is also why treatment for this condition relies on a variety of companion treatments to help aid the sufferer continuously.
Substance Abuse Treatment
One of the very most common afflictions that people with bipolar disorder suffer from is substance abuse problems. This is due to the fact that, by indulging in alcohol or drugs, you can easily distract yourself from your symptoms.
While this is, of course, not advisable, it can also get in the way of adequate medical treatment. This is why lots of bipolar disorder treatments also include substance abuse treatment, as you won’t really be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Additionally, alcohol and drugs negatively affect your mental state and emotions, making it very difficult to monitor and change your mental state using medications.
In the absolute direst of bipolar disorders, hospitalization is recommended to prevent self-harm. If it really ever gets to this point, you need to ensure that you seek some kind of treatment option in the future to avoid having to do this again.
So what can we be using to try and help those with bipolar disorder overcome their conditions?
Can CBD Be Used to Treat Bipolar?
CBD is the lesser-known cannabinoid within cannabis, and people are only gradually growing to accept and fully understand. While its reputation as an effective anti-inflammatory is well documented, there is less awareness of the full medical effects that CBD can create.
CBD has long been used to treat mental disorders, both as a way of regulating your mental state as a way of making you feel better.
However, it isn’t just about conjecture and individual stories about CBD’s effectiveness; there is also a myriad of studies that demonstrate its effectiveness as well.
One study by Zahinoor Ismail for the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience found that CBD acted as an effective treatment for mania. CBD oil for bipolar disorder might not seem like the most common treatment for this condition, but it seems to have some uses.
Another study by Ashton C.H. for the British Association for Psychopharmacology found that the use of cannabis in self treatment for the bipolar affective disorder was remarkably effective. An interesting thing to note is that CBD was found to be more effective as a cannabinoid option when compared to THC.
This is likely due to the fact that THC interacts with the endocannabinoid system in a fundamentally different way than CBD does.
When you imbibe CBD oil, it works with the endocannabinoid system and attaches itself far more gently than THC does. THC, meanwhile, over-stimulates the CB1 receptors in the brain and induces all the typical effects that you would expect THC to create.
CBD is far more gentle and calming to the CB receptors, encouraging their stimulation without overburdening them, allowing for its effects to occur over a longer period of time.
But why does the endocannabinoid system work with bipolar disorder at all?
Endocannabinoid System Dysfunction and BPAD
The two receptors within the endocannabinoid system, CB1 and CB2, are located all over the body and work with a really surprising amount of different bodily functions.
One way in which the endocannabinoid system works in the human body is with its interaction with the neurons in the brain. These neurons are responsible for pretty much every decision, choice, or idea you come up with, basically forming the fundamentals of what makes you, you.
When you suffer from a mental disorder such as bipolar affective disorder, it is these neurons that become damaged or misaligned that actually creates the condition. Interestingly enough, there seems to be a substantial link between the health of the endocannabinoid system and bipolar affective disorder.
In various studies, such as this one by Monteleone P. for the Journal of Pharmacological Research, a link has been noticed between lacking a healthy endocannabinoid system and developing bipolar disorder.
Having an abnormal endocannabinoid system means that your body either does not produce sufficient cannabinoids or that it does not work properly with the cannabinoids already present.
In these studies, inhibiting the CB receptors, or simply testing subjects that already have dysfunctional CB receptors, revealed that the patient experienced substantial mood fluctuations and problems consistent with bipolar disorder.
All this means that, while there is still plenty of research to be done into the ECS and CBD oil for bipolar disorder, it would appear that they are linked.
This is likely why bipolar and marijuana is such a popular combination. Through stimulation of the endocannabinoid receptors, you can effectively mitigate and treat the symptoms of bipolar affective disorder, all without serious side effects.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil for Bipolar Disorder
The idea of using CBD oil for bipolar disorder is a pretty recent thing, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be effective. Marijuana has been used to treat all kinds of different mental disorders for millennia, even before we really understand how it worked.
Thanks to CBD’s ability to stimulate and interact with the endocannabinoid system in a unique way, it turns out that CBD is a remarkably effective treatment option for those with bipolar affective disorder.
It won’t be some kind of miracle cure that makes everything better, of course. Instead, it can help regulate your mood, ensuring your depressive periods and your manic periods are less intense. It isn’t so much an antidepressant as it as a mood stabilizer and general mental helper.
So, if you struggle with bipolar affective disorder and are looking for new and innovative ways to treat your condition, consider trying CBD oil. However, don’t stop using any conventional medication you have been prescribed by your medical professional.
After all, who knows? You might be able to combine them and get the very best of both the medical world and the world of cannabinoids. Again, if you are considering this, we always suggest having a conversation with your doctor so that you can discuss an approproate action.