Bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness), is defined as “a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” There are four categories of bipolar including bipolar I (severe manic episode and depressive episode lasting at least two weeks), bipolar II (depressive states and hypomanic episodes), cyclothymic (numerous hypomanic and depressive episodes lasting around 2 years) and other specified/unspecified (defined symptoms not fitting into the other categories).
Manic episodes are marked by elevated, hyper and energized behavior. Hypomanic episodes are less severe versions of manic episodes. Depressive episodes are defined by sad, hopeless behaviors. With bipolar disorder, there is a cycle between the two states. The frequency in which the episodes switch, the severity or how long each episode lasts varies. Inconsistent behaviors, moods and energy levels can make it difficult to cope with the disorder or seek help. The consequences of unmanaged bipolar include struggling in school, at work and/or with personal relationships.
The two drug classes most commonly prescribed to people with bipolar disorder are antipsychotics and anticonvulsants. While both have shown efficiency with mood stabilization, they come with adverse side effects. CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound found in the highest concentrations in the hemp plant. CBD is shown to work successfully in maintaining a balanced mood and in preventing seizures. In therapeutic doses, CBD doesn’t present the user with unpleasant reactions. Due to this, research on CBD for the treatment of bipolar disorder is gaining traction. A article in the Journal of Psychopharmacology noted the bipolar symptoms are often poorly managed by prescribed medications and credits CBD for it’s antipsychotic capabilities.
CBD provides the necessary fuel to a physiological system in the body known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS functions to create homeostasis, or internal balance regardless of stimuli. While it is responsible for a myriad of processes, regulating mood is a major one. The ECS creates a stable emotional state, which can help prevent the extreme cycling associated with bipolar disorder. Cannabidiol is known for promoting relaxation and an overall sense of well-being in the user.
Similar to the treatment of other mental disorders, there is a debate on using products containing THC. The concern lies in the fact that THC can cause adverse symptoms like paranoia and anxiety. The user is attempting to neutralize mood imbalance, not to add to it. Some find that a CBD isolate works with high success in alleviating symptoms. Others prefer a high CBD, low THC ratio and find the most relief through the combination. CBD is capable of neutralizing the psychoactive side effects of THC, so the supporters don’t experience any issues.
It’s important to remember to discuss all options with a medical professional to find the best holistic treatment plan. Alongside other healthy lifestyle choices, CBD can be a huge component in improving one’s life.