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sativa or indica for bipolar disorder

Sativa or indica for bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a well-studied mental health condition that many non-diagnosed individuals struggle to fully understand. Although pharmaceutical drugs and psychotherapy are the primary treatments for this illness, scientists are increasingly conducting research to gauge the effects of cannabis on different types of bipolar disorder.

As cannabis is further reinforced as medically beneficial, it only makes sense that researchers and physicians consider how cannabinoids interact with bipolar disorder – for better or worse. Involving the treatment of brain disorders, cannabis has been thrust back and forth between research camps as both beneficial and detrimental. This is largely to do with the illicit nature of the substance and its historical connotations as being devoid of medical benefit.
Ultimately, the findings of this study were somewhat inconclusive. The study concluded that while the manic and depressive symptoms of some participants increased with cannabis use, most patients who used it enjoyed its positive effects and were more likely to consume it for enjoyment, than as a medicine. The clear issues surrounding this study are the small sample size and lack of a control group, which make it difficult to assess broader trends throughout many patients.

Cyclothymia is the third category of bipolar disorder and affects individuals in a less cut and dry way than the previous two. This type is characterized by sustained periods of hypomanic and depressive behaviors that don’t necessarily reach the heights of full manic or depressive episodes.
Bipolar II is categorized predominantly by extended depressive episodes. While patients of this variety may struggle with occasional manic episodes, their condition is highlighted more by consistently “low” moods, lack of energy and decreased ability to function.
Researchers who argue that cannabis is beneficial in treating bipolar disorder focus on the effects of cannabinoids on the human endocannabinoid system. When consuming cannabis, cannabinoids such as THC bind to endocannabinoid receptors known as CB1 and CB2 in different parts of the body and can potentially encourage mood stabilizing effects.
The fourth and final type of bipolar includes all other specified and unspecified varieties of this disease as diagnosed by health professionals.
This is because THC is known to incite acute anxiety and paranoia in some consumers, while CBD is effective in mediating the negative effects of psychotropic symptoms. It’s also essential to recognise the type of strain being studied, whether it is sativa, indica or hybrid. Each will produce different results individually and on a larger scale. The lack of comprehensive scientific inclusion of different cannabis methods makes it difficult to maintain consistency across samplings.

When performing studies of cannabis use for the treatment of bipolar disorder, researchers must consider the differences between consumption methods. Depending on the type of cannabis consumed, scientific findings may be skewed by errors in consistency from study to study. For instance, bipolar patients who smoke cannabis concentrates with extremely high THC levels are likely to experience more adverse mood responses than those smoking CBD rich strains of cannabis flower.

Early research shows surprising findings between cannabis and bipolar disorder. Learn the different varieties of bipolar and if it can be treated with cannabis.

Amanda Hasten: I was diagnosed with dipolar disorder at age 12. I always knew I was different because, one minute I’d be happy, [the] next minute I was crying, and then it all became too much and I ended up trying to commit suicide at 14. I was prescribed all kinds of medication, but nothing seemed to work. At the age of 16 years, I began smoking marijuana and my life was changed. No longer do I have these constant mood changes, and my mind doesn’t run a mile a minute with dread and fear. I have a medical marijuana card now as an adult, and I am grateful to the marijuana industry for saving my life.

Dr Subramanyan: Surprisingly, I don’t think I’ve seen much in the way of increased incidence of mania or psychosis in my practice since the legalization of recreational marijuana in California. What I have noticed, however, is that more and more patients in my practice are using some kind of cannabinoid for a variety of reasons: treatment of anxiety, treatment of pain, treatment of insomnia, etc. Patients seem to be using cannabidiol (CBD) products, in particular, more frequently. CBD is interesting in that it seems to have opposite effects in the brain as does THC. There is a thought that it could actually have antipsychotic function.
Among patients with bipolar disorder, cannabis is the most commonly abused drug. Lifetime use of cannabis among bipolar patients is estimated to be around 70%, and 30% present a comorbidity of cannabis abuse or dependence. The risk for psychotic disorders increases with the frequency and intensity of cannabis use. Researchers have found that cannabis use is also associated with a younger age at onset of first manic episode, increased manic and depressive episodes, increased risk of rapid cycling, poorer outcome, and poorer treatment compliance. 1

Dr Subramanyan: Yes. The possibility of cannabis contributing to manic relapse in bipolar I disorder makes it potentially more dangerous in bipolar I disorders. Manias have the potential to cause devastating consequences in the lives of patients and their families. Plus, there is a real possibility that cannabis can contribute to psychotic manic episodes. This risk is probably lower in individuals with bipolar II disorder, but it is possible, I suppose, that someone with a true diagnosis of bipolar II disorder could have a cannabis-induced manic episode with psychotic features, something that may never have occurred spontaneously for this individual.
These findings illuminate the challenges in treating patients with bipolar disorder who use cannabis, especially as an increasing number of US states legalize marijuana. Self-medication with cannabis was recently found to be 3.73 percentage points higher among those living in states with medical marijuana laws. 2 Although further investigations are needed to clarify the relationship between mania onset and cannabis use, researchers say they are “undeniably correlated.” 1
Nicholas G.: I have been struggling with and managing my manic and depressive episodes since 2004. I experience a lesser form of mania called hypomania, which means that although I may not experience grandiosity or psychosis like those with a bipolar 1 diagnosis, my behaviors are impulsive and have lasting consequences. This has cost me educational and professional opportunities, relationships, and even a bankruptcy. When I am on my prescribed meds I am able to reduce the frequency and severity of my manic and depressive episodes, but they will never completely go away.
Psychiatry Advisor spoke with Girish Subramanyan, MD, a psychiatrist in full-time private practice in San Francisco, California, specializing in the treatment of adults with mood and anxiety disorders, including treatment-resistant mood and anxiety disorders.
Psychiatry Advisor: Does cannabis use present any challenges in treating patients with bipolar disorder? If so, what are the challenges and how do they affect treatment?

In bipolar II disorder, you may end up seeing more mood instability, mixed states, and hypomanic episodes, and although these states are uncomfortable, and even dangerous, if they are accompanied by suicidal ideations, they generally don’t do as much damage as full-blown manic episodes.

In some patients, cannabis use can complicate the management of bipolar disorder by causing mood instability and psychosis. Other patients believe it helps manage their moods.