The Benefits and Challenges of Using Marijuana for Bipolar Disorders

Marijuana has been legalized in over half the country, helping countless patients receive the treatments they need. As positive as this can be it can also bring up the question, which disorders can use marijuana as a successful treatment?

Research has found marijuana to be successful in treating several disorders. Can it do the same for those who have bipolar disorder?

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a documented mental health condition. Bipolar patients experience extreme highs and lows. They may have severe depression at some times and manic episodes at other times. 

Some severe cases of bipolar disorder can cause hallucinations and psychotic symptoms. The patient can have trouble living a healthy life and might even need daily care. 

Current Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

There are currently a few different treatments used for bipolar disorder. The treatments must come from a mental health professional or psychiatrist. A diagnosed bipolar patient may receive medications or therapy to help with symptoms. 

There is no cure for bipolar disorder, so managing symptoms is the treatment. Each person will have an individualized treatment program based on their symptoms. The patient may receive psychotropic medications to deal with psychosis or mood changes. Most patients also receive therapy in conjunction with medicine for long term care. 

Could Marijuana Help?

Marijuana use is a common practice for many health conditions these days. Both physical and mental health conditions have had success with marijuana treatments. 

Marijuana has properties that help with a variety of symptoms that a person deals with when they have bipolar disorder โ€” symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea, pain, inflammation, and muscle control. Doctors are now doing research to determine what marijuana can treat and how. 

Marijuana research shows that it has anxiety-relieving properties. Since bipolar disorder can induce anxiety as a symptom, marijuana could be an excellent way to reduce the symptoms of anxiety for bipolar patients. 

Benefits of Using Marijuana for Bipolar Treatment

Marijuana may become a treatment for bipolar patients. It is essential to look at the benefits of using these treatments. There are several reasons marijuana could be useful for those living with the condition. 

Reduces Anxiety

As mentioned, marijuana can reduce anxiety symptoms. Bipolar patients can have several anxieties, panic attacks, and even psychosis. Having a successful treatment for their anxiety is essential. Any treatment that reduces anxiety in patients is a benefit. 

Anxiety can be crippling for a person. Some patients report not being able to leave their homes due to fear. Having severe panic attacks with physical symptoms like rapid heart rate can occur. Over time a person can develop psychosis related to anxiety believing their worries are real and causing them real consequences. 

Finding a way to reduce these symptoms is very important for the patient’s care. Having less anxiety can help the person become employable and have a better quality of life. 

Low Mental Impairment 

Some concern about using marijuana is the impairment it causes. Medical marijuana has shown less mental impairment for users. Using it as directed has not shown signs of dysfunction in mental abilities. A user still must not drive after use; however, they are still able to perform their daily duties around the house or at work. 

Better Moods

Users of marijuana have reported having better moods after use. The reports state that users feel happier and less stressed after using marijuana. 

Bipolar disorder can produce both depressed and manic moods. Finding a way to stabilize moods is helpful in treatment. A depressed state can be overwhelming for bipolar patients. Symptoms include avoiding tasks, not taking care of themself, or becoming suicidal. These symptoms can be severe over time. 

Consequences of Using Marijuana for Bipolar Treatment

The research findings are not all good. There are some consequences to using marijuana treatment. Bipolar disorder is very involved with a lot of symptoms. While some symptoms may respond well to marijuana, some do not. 

Triggers Manic Episodes

Part of bipolar disorder is the highs. Marijuana has triggered a manic episode for some users. Sending them into a manic episode for weeks or months. 

Manic episodes are very complicated. To some, the bipolar patient may seem happy and doing well, but there are negatives. Manic episodes can be erratic; patients lack decision-making skills and impulse control. They may quit their job, spend all their money on things they don’t need or disappear for days. 

Suicide Risk

There has been an increased risk of suicide among bipolar patients using marijuana. Another study found that using marijuana has shown the earlier onset of bipolar symptoms. A more rapid onset often produces more severe symptoms. 

Bipolar patients can have severely depressed moods. They may have suicidal thoughts but lack the energy to carry out a suicide attempt. Marijuana can give the patient a boost in energy and mood enough to act on their suicidal thoughts. 

Worsening Symptoms

Some bipolar patients who use marijuana have reported worse symptoms after use. This causes the symptoms they have to be unmanageable and causes the bipolar patient to have a more difficult time with their disorder. 

Marijuana has a different effect for each person; for some, it may cause symptoms to be worse. For a bipolar patient dealing with several symptoms, this can be a significant setback.

Is Marijuana for Bipolar Treat Right for Me?

The symptoms associated with bipolar are different for each patient. No one knows how a patient will respond to different treatments. Marijuana treatment may work well for one patient and not at all for another. 

Speaking with a medical professional before using marijuana is best. Monitoring your symptoms to determine if they are getting better or worse is critical. 

Weighing the pros and cons of marijuana for bipolar treatment is the first step. It’s wise to talk to your doctor and see if medical cannabis is the right choice for you. If your physician recommends it you can then take the next steps to find out how to obtain a medical marijuana card