CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

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Summary

This article discusses a range of different facts and research hypotheses about bipolar disorder- namely, the theories around how it is caused, what it entails and what research tells us could prove helpful in treating the disorder. Bipolar disorder affects a huge range of people and, while treatable, can be debilitating if undetected or ignored. Some of what we discuss in the article will be: how bipolar disorder can be symptomised, the different types of bipolar disorder, some possible forms of treatment and, of course, how CBD factors into potential forms of treatment. While CBD is a supplement, and not to be treated as a cure for bipolar disorder, we hope to convey a wealth of research and facts which succinctly sum up how to make life with bipolar disorder more manageable.
 alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

Bipolar disorder, formally known as ‘manic depression’, is a mental condition which involves extreme shifts in mood. Also classed as ‘the condition of extremes’, bipolar disorder most commonly manifests as: fluctuating moods and extreme moods. A person with bipolar disorder might find it hard to cope with the day to day activities expected of them- there’s no cure for the condition, but there are medications which an individual can take which manages symptoms. If you, or your loved one, are experiencing bipolar disorder, we understand how difficult it may be to manage the condition. But, with more research being conducted on treatment and, potentially, a cure, there is hope that bipolar disorder will be made easier in time. The good news is that those who follow the treatment prescribed to them tend to live happy and healthy lives: according to the National Advisory Mental Health Council, there is a  80% chance that treatment will work.

 alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

In most cases of bipolar disorder, a person may experience two main episodes: depression (feeling low and tired) and mania (feeling high and overactive)- in most circumstances, an episode will last a few weeks minimum. And, according to the NHS website, some symptoms of depression and mania include as follows.

Depression

Depression can show up in a number of different ways. However, here are some typical symptoms of depression according to the NHS website.

  • Feeling sad and irritable
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Guilt, self-doubt
  • Feelings of disassociation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of appetite
  • Hallucinations/ delusions
  • Suicidal thoughts

Mania

Mania can also show up in a number of ways in an individual. According to accounts, mania tends not to last as long as depression- although this varies from person to person. Typically, according to the NHS website, mania manifests as the following:

  • Feeling happy, overjoyed, euphoric, elated
  • Feeling excessively irritable
  • Feeling energetic
  • Talking fast
  • Hallucinations/ delusions
  • Easy to distract
  • Easy to annoy or anger
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of appetite
  • Risky, often dangerous, behaviour

Hypomania is a more manageable version of mania, which lasts for a shorter amount of time and tends not to include psychotic symptoms.

It’s important to note that an individual with bipolar disorder may not display symptoms of depression and mania equally. Some may experience longer and more frequent periods of depression over mania and vice versa. Most often, periods of ‘normal mood’ break up bipolar cycles, although not always. Medics have distinguished the two alternative ‘patterns’ which can exist in a person with bipolar disorder:

  1. Mixed state: where a person experiences both depression and mania at the same time.
  2. Rapid cycling: where a person goes from depression to mania with no ‘normal’ state to break up the cycle.

The Common Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a condition which affects a huge amount of people- 1%- 1.6% of the world’s population, according to recent medical studies. It’s incredibly important that medics are treating the individual and not just the condition. Bipolar disorder can be split into two main categories- and while every individual may not suffer the same symptoms, it can be easier to administer treatment by distinguishing between the two main types of bipolar disorder.

Bipolar 1

 alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

Bipolar 1 is what was formerly classed as ‘manic depression’- it’s distinguished by intense episodes of mania. Those with bipolar 1 will experience at least one manic episode in their lifetime. They will also suffer episodes of either hypomania (which is a milder, more short-term version of mania) or depression to break up these manic episodes. In a nutshell, bipolar 1 is what we’ve classed so far in this article- a cycle of mania and depression. Both men and women can be symptomised with bipolar 1.

Bipolar 2

Bipolar 2 is distinguished by long and intense episodes of depression- which tend to last for a minimum of two weeks. A person with bipolar 2 may experience hypomania. Unlike with bipolar 1, a person with bipolar 2 won’t reach intense levels of mania (usually requiring hospital-level care). Those with bipolar 2 may have periods of ‘normal mood’ breaking up episodes of depression and hypomania. In a nutshell, bipolar 2 is distinguished by a person experiencing depression. Women are more typically likely to experience bipolar 2.

Cyclothymia

Cyclothymia is a milder mood disorder which symptoms that are similar to bipolar 2 disorder. An individual with cyclothymia will experience milder symptoms of mania and depression. In between the manic/ depressive episodes, the mood is stable. Although cyclothymia is the milder version of bipolar disorder, if left untreated, it could lead to an individual developing bipolar disorder. Cyclothymia will typically develop in adolescents- with lesser known symptoms ranging from hyper-productivity and aggressiveness to high self-esteem, hypersexuality and excessive talking. Cyclothymia spans a range of symptoms, but when detected in its early stages, can be treated with psychotherapy and medication- usually, treatment can help prevent cyclothymia from worsening.

Drug-Induced

Drug or stimulant- induced bipolar disorder can occur in some cases, and is, most often, a consequence of the abuse of drugs (quite often this involves overdosing or mixing cocaine, heroine, LSD, meth and, in some instances, the excessive and long-term use of alcohol and weed). In most instances, a drug-induced psychosis has similar symptoms to bipolar disorder, especially the manic episodes that can be had. But, often, it is not quite the same thing. Regardless, drug-induced psychosis is indicative of, and classed as, a minor form of bipolar disorder. The symptoms an individual experiences will often involve hallucinations or delusions and can accompany substance addition. Treatment can range from psychotherapy to detoxification and medication depending on what an individual requires.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

 alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

Although research hasn’t pinpointed one main cause for bipolar disorder, here are some speculations on what could lead to bipolar disorder manifesting in a person.

Neurobiology

The most widely speculated reason for bipolar disorder manifesting in an individual is down to the abnormal way that neurotransmitter systems function. The brain typically works by using chemicals to communicate with other parts of the body- these chemicals are known as neurotransmitters. Synapses allow neurotransmitters to move around the body. They allow the neurotransmitter to travel from one cell to the next.

Medical research tells us that bipolar disorder can be caused by neurotransmitter signalling abnormalities- that is, a dysfunction in the way that neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, GABA, acetylcholine, glutamate, dopamine and noradrenaline, are signalled by the brain. While it was previously understood that altering the levels of these neurotransmitters may help people struggling with bipolar disorder, it’s now understood that symptoms are caused by faults in the neurotransmitter signalling process. Likewise, the way that the neurotransmitters travel across synapses, from neuron to neuron, might also be at fault in those with bipolar disorder. This is known as a problem in the neuroplasticity of neurons.

Genetics

 alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

Bipolar disorder can also be caused by genetics- as research says ‘common genomic variants’ might carry risk for the disorder. To delve deeper, research has discovered that associations between bipolar disorder and a specific allele (a variant of a gene which can be passed from parent to child). However, while this breakthrough certainly explains a lot, those with the ‘risk’ allele for bipolar disorder have not actually manifested the disease. While more research on the allele needs to be done for a conclusion to be reached, one thing that scientists can agree on is that bipolar disorder can definitely be genetic- if for a number of reasons. If an individual does have the ‘risk’ allele alongside other factors which line up to lead to manifestation- from ethnicity to genetic mutations to structural variants in genes.

It has been stated that, if a relative or parent suffers from bipolar disorder, there’s a 4-6 chance that it can be passed on via genetics.

Triggers

Bipolar symptoms which can be induced by drugs (or triggered by traumatic events- such as childhood abuse, loss or neglect) can occur. Drugs are often a main risk factor in developing psychiatric diseases (as well as being a coping mechanism or ‘risk taking’ or ‘reckless behaviour’- a mechanism utilised by those experiencing mania or hypomania). And research tells us that pretty much any psychoactive drug can put some at risk of developing conditions such as bipolar disorder purely because most drugs (in the class A to B range in particular) have unexplainable effects on the human brain. Since every brain is different, there’s no right or wrong reaction to a drug- there are instances where the same drug which fails to affect a long-term drug user can severely impact a first-time user.

What we do know about the effect of certain drugs on the brain is that there’s a definite risk of long-term psychiatric harm. This is because some drugs can affect and alter the levels of dopamine released by the brain- dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure or reward. Since bipolar disorder, and a lot of other mental disorders, are due to imbalance of a lot of different neurotransmitters, the relationship between drugs and the long-term consequences can be severe. The term for this relationship is better known as ‘drug-induced psychosis’ which can coin a range of long-term disorders which can be developed via drug use.

In medical articles, such as this one, the hypothesis is that triggered symptoms of bipolar disorder can often occur in childhood because childhood trauma can affect us biologically- causing risk of serious psychiatric disease later on in life. A serious traumatic childhood event can severely impair the genes responsible for different biological reactions and pathways- in particular, the hypothalamic- pituitary- adrenal axis (HPA) as well as movement of neurotransmitters, circadian rhythm and immunity alongside inflammation (which could become chronic in adulthood), sleep disruption and even the shortening of DNA telomere’s (the end bits of DNA which protect chromosomes) can occur as a consequence of childhood trauma. All these are common biological issues which connect adult individuals exhibiting bipolar-like tendencies.

Diagnosis and Treatment

 alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

Diagnosis is often done by a psychiatrist, who will conduct a line of questioning. A diagnosis might also accompany some conversation with family members and/ or a physical test (under or overactive thyroid testing is a common physical test). Once a diagnosis has been concluded, and an individual has been confirmed to have bipolar disorder, treatment (in the form of medication and therapy) can undergo. Treatment almost always accompanies regular check-ups. According to MIND, some major forms of treatment/ medication include:

Mood Stabilisers: Psychiatric drugs which help to prevent mania and depressive episodes. Despite their name, the drugs administered are different and tend to vary according to the individual and the severity of their symptoms. Some mood stabilisers include: lithium carbonate, lithium citrate, anticonvulsants (such as carbamazepine, valproate and lamotrigine), antipsychotics (such as risperidone and olanzapine among others recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).

Antidepressants: In some occasions, an individual might receive antidepressants to inhibit or dampen the severity of depressive episodes (such as the intense depression a person may experience in bipolar 2 disorder). SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most common antidepressants and can be used in conjunction with some mood stabilisers.

Talking or Psychotherapy:  alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New DiscoveryPsychotherapy is incredibly useful for a number of reasons- from being able to converse with a professional about the state of your mental health, to being able to make sense of the complicated thoughts and emotions we all have. It also allows a person to make sense of future plans and goals for staying well. The most common therapies offered to individuals with bipolar disorder are cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT- how a person’s behaviour and emotions interact), interpersonal therapy (IBT- how behaviour is affected by relationships) and behavioural couples therapy (BCT- focuses on the relationship between partners/ couples and how it affects behaviour).

Other types of therapy that may be offered (according to MIND) are:

  • Enhanced relapse prevention
  • Group therapy
  • Family focused therapy

Natural Remedies

Some natural remedies for treating bipolar disorder have been discovered in recent years. These include:

  • Fish oil: A recent study found that those who eat fish and fish oil might be less likely to develop bipolar disorder. This might be because of the omega-3 fatty acids present within fish which substitute the omega-6 within cell membranes. This has shown to make cell membranes more elastic and fluid- allowing more less proinflammatory cytokines and eicosanoids to enter cells. This, according to the study, is partially responsible for depression in bipolar disorder. Adding to this suicide, more commonly associated with depression, has links to low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in individuals. Individuals suffering from depression tend to have lower levels of omega-3 in their system, less flexible cell membranes and, as a consequence, an increased level of inflammatory molecules.
  • Choline: The same study concluded that choline (a recently discovered nutrient found in a range of different food groups) can be supplemented in higher doses to help with mania. Choline has a wealth of health benefits- including, potentially lowering the intensity levels of mania commonly found in people with bipolar 1 disorder. From 2000-7500mg of choline a day, studies determine that mania symptoms ease significantly.
  • Rhodiola rosea: This herb, commonly used as a medicinal plant extract, has been used for a wide variety of endocrine disorders. It has been known to help treat the depression associated with bipolar disorder (mild to moderate depression) purely due to its potential in enhancing the release of endorphins, tryptophan and serotonin by the brain.
  • Inositol: An isomer of glucose, inositol, has also been shown to naturally help ease some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder- in particular depression and panic symptoms. Research tells us that wider studies need to take place for actual results to be shown, but inositol has been a promising natural form of treatment for years.

Another natural form of treatment, which we will be focusing on in greater depth, is CBD. While it’s not quite reached the level of becoming a ‘treatment, CBD could be a great supplement in helping ease a range of mental health issues. As information advances, especially on the nuances of bipolar disorder and how there might potentially be a cure out there, CBD has risen in popularity and become a great source of potential healing and therapeutic source for a wide range of psychiatric diseases.

It’s always advised to ask a medical professional before you, or a loved one, decides to try CBD in order to support your bipolar disorder.

 alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

The ECS is responsible for balancing the systems within the body. Essentially, it moderates a range of processes- including how the brain reacts and perceives things. The ECS is mainly responsible for metabolic and cognitive processes controlled by the central and peripheral nervous systems. It does so via three molecules: endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors and cannabinoids. The purpose of endocannabinoids are to connect to receptors dotted around the body and trigger change- these endocannabinoids are created by the body. ECS receptor sites mainly lie in the brain and the gut- in the brain lie CB1 receptors, responsible for modulating cognition, perception, mood, temperature and so much more. This is also where a lot of brain signalling occurs, which means the control of neurotransmitters rely heavily on CB1 receptors binding to the right endocannabinoids in the brain to trigger the release of dopamine, serotonin, GABA and more. The majority of CB2 receptors tend to reside in the gut (although there are other CB2 receptors all around the body) and, when bound to, immunity, inflammation and gastrointestinal health comes into play.

 alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

However, in most cases, there’s a need for external cannabinoids to promote therapeutic value to the body- cannabinoids can activate the ECS into action, promoting balance and restoration. But not every cannabinoid can call itself therapeutic: THC can directly bind to CB1 and CB2 receptor sites and trigger sudden change- it is this change which throws us off and causes psychoactivity. This is why THC, in high enough amounts, can cause an intoxicating effect- THC molecules have such a high affinity for the receptor sites all over the ECS that it binds with them almost immediately. In doing so, high levels of THC can trigger a sudden imbalance within the ECS, throwing off our natural sense of cognition, perception, appetite, libido and even triggering hallucinations, panic and paranoia in extreme cases. When our ECS, especially our CB1 receptors which predominantly lie in the brain, become flooded with THC molecules we can experience an abnormal response to the world around us. This is why we experience a psychoactive response to THC (and other such psychoactive cannabinoids, such as THCV in high quantities).

This is pretty much the opposite cause when it comes to CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid. CBD actually has no affinity with any ECS receptors. It doesn’t actually bind to CB1 or CB2- instead it promotes higher levels of the naturally occurring anandamide. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid which has been praised for its potential to promote healing and therapeutic benefits to the system: the root of the word is named after the Sanskrit ‘anand’ which means ‘bliss’ or ‘happiness’. In the presence of CBD, the proteins responsible for degrading anandamide are prevented from being produced- so CBD indirectly ensures that anandamide lasts longer in the body.

Alongside the discovery of cannabinoids came the discovery of the ECS in every human system- and with this discovery has come a deeper level of research and, with it, a deeper level of understanding: that cannabinoids hold a great wealth of potential in being able to work and communicate with the ECS. When we experiment with quantities, cross-breed cannabis strains to promote optimum yield and even trial these cannabinoids on animals with certain diseases, we are advancing in our understanding of the most important balancing system in the body. For decades, our hesitation to experiment with cannabis, due to negative social associations, have held us back from truly understanding what they can do for us, therapeutically. Thankfully, things are slowly changing: from understanding how the ECS plays a role in a range of things, from health to wellness to disease and immunology, strides have finally been taken to use cannabinoids to aid us in healing and wellness.

 alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

Bipolar Disorder and The ECS

There’s not nearly enough research on how the ECS and bipolar disorder might be connected- but, with some small hypotheses dotted around the internet, we can safely say that potential activating CB2 receptors hold the potential to assuage some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. The CBD in cannabis plays the majority of the role in easing the severity of symptoms and lowering the number of episodes which an individual might normally suffer. At first, it seemed strange to us that CB2 are the main receptor sites to be engaged with- since CB1, situated in the brain and in control of the central nervous system, usually plays a big role in how mental disorders pan out. This new research, however, says the opposite. The stimulation of CB2 receptors and the antagonism of CB1 yielded the best results. It seems that the discovery of how CB2 receptors can tame the severity of bipolar disorder has accompanied new knowledge on bipolar disorder as a whole- in a nutshell, we might conclude that bipolar disorder concerns itself with the body and the peripheral nervous system to a deeper degree than initially believed.

Bipolar Disorder and CBD: The Research

 alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

According to a wealth of resources, the serotonergic and dopaminergic pathways are controlled by the ECS- which are major pathways speculated to affect bipolar disorder. So the ECS, and the modulation of it, plays a major role in bipolar disorder. These pathways are responsible for mood, emotion, reward, learning and memory. According to the research conducted, the CBD in cannabis impacts how intensely the bipolar symptoms manifest in an individual, as well as slightly improving neurodevelopment.

When we consider the many subtypes of bipolar disorder (type 1, 2 and other) it seems that CBD has a positive influence on all types and all genders. Alongside this, the study emphasises that CBD is mostly responsible for helping to prevent the onset of bipolar disorder (and other diseases such as schizophrenia)

Other studies have been conducted which prove that cannabis, in particular CBD, might have potential benefits for bipolar disorder- especially in helping to control and regulate mood. According to studies, patients with bipolar disorder who regularly smoked cannabis had  improved cognitive function. This includes improved memory, mental speed, verbal learning and general brain function- proving that cannabis improved brain function in the test subjects. While this research is in its early stages (and many do conclude that people tend to recreationally take cannabis when their mood is already positive) there is scope for improvement.

 alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

The Therapeutic Role of CBD

Despite the small amount of research which tells us that CBD might be beneficial for stabilising mood in those with bipolar disorder, with evidence to back it up, there’s very little which tells us the exact science behind how CBD actually works. We conclude that it is the therapeutic role of CBD which allows mood to plateau instead of reaching intense levels. This is mainly down to these qualities:

For centuries CBD has been used for its therapeutic potential- helping to ease depression, seizures, anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD and even schizophrenia, ADHD, Tourette's syndrome and, of course, bipolar disorder. CBD, and CBD-containing compounds, also known as nabiximols, have proven important in alleviating a number of psychiatric disorders- especially those associated with anxiety and social disorders. While it hasn’t proved so useful for mania (which is predominately experienced by those diagnosed with bipolar 1, it might prove useful in alleviating the symptoms of depression, predominantly experienced in bipolar 2.

CBD and Depression

Research, mainly animal studies, does tell us that CBD has effects which are similar to antidepressants. While CBD is a supplement and should never be treated as a form of treatment, CBD has shown promise in improving the mood and helping to elevate quality of life. We, at Alphagreen, recommend always talking to a medical professional about taking CBD with bipolar disorder. For those interested in how CBD can actually help with the depression side of this disorder, here’s a number of ways we have found:

  • CBD and Serotonin Receptors
 alphagreen CBD and Bipolar Disorder: An A-Z On Research, Potential Treatment and New Discovery

CBD interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain. It does this, not by changing the level of serotonin that is released, but by changing the way that the brain responds to the serotonin that’s already present. A study which involved dosing rats with CBD, for example, was shown to light up the 5-HT receptor in the brain- the receptor which serotonin binds to in order to activate certain processes in the body. This decreased anxiety-like behaviour in the rats, as well as alleviated pain (since the rats who were administered the CBD all had spinal nerve damage of some sort).

Now, we’ve discussed how CBD doesn’t tend to bind to ECS receptors. This doesn’t seem to be the case when it comes to 5-HT receptors in the brain. A research study done by King’s College London showed that particularly high doses of CBD resulted in the cannabinoid binding to 5-HT receptors and, essentially, activating the same therapeutic processes that serotonin usually would. As a plus, anandamide pretty much does the same thing- so with a little CBD in the system, we have higher levels of anandamide, which results in more frequent interactions with 5-HT.

This isn’t all that great for those with bipolar 1, who tend to experience more intense levels of mania. 5-HT activation, and higher, unmodulated, levels of serotonin has been shown to worsen mania. However, for those with depression as the main symptom of their bipolar disorder (namely, those who tend to suffer with bipolar 2), using CBD as a double-pronged activator of 5-HT can be valuable. Since the depression in bipolar disorder has proven to be due to abnormalities in the serotonergic pathway- to delve deeper, mainly due to 5-HT not responding properly to serotonin binding, CBD might prove useful in activating 5-HT responsiveness.

  • CBD: a Neuroprotective Agent

Despite a range of evidence pointing in different directions, we aren’t quite sure how bipolar disorder comes about- there isn’t one simple answer, just as there isn’t one simple cure. Some speculation suggests that the neurons responsible for passing neurotransmitters from their release site to the brain are faulty. With evidence suggesting that CBD can prove to be neuroprotective, meaning it can help to strengthen the activity of neurons to allow for faster and more effective transmission of neurotransmitters, there’s speculation that CBD might be able to alleviate, or atleast ease, a wealth of mood disorders- one being bipolar disorder.

In being able to influence higher levels of anandamide, CBD has potential to be a neuroprotective agent. This is via the connection between higher levels of CBD in a rat system and better therapeutic effects- such as the rat exhibiting less pain, a stronger sense of perception, less fear and anxiety and a stronger immunity. These, on the speculation of scientists, might prove that CBD has untapped potential which still needs to be researched on- especially in its impact on how neurons and neurotransmitters work. CBD’s list of benefits expands when we see how the cannabinoid lowers inflammation by inhibiting the release of cytokines and ‘preserves cerebral circulation’ (keeping the brain oxygenated with a healthy blood flow) also suggests that CBD has some neuroprotective benefits.

  • CBD and Anandamide

As previously mentioned, CBD inhibits the molecule responsible in degrading anandamide and, indirectly, improves levels of the ‘bliss molecule’-  an endogenous cannabinoid responsible for a host of good things. This proves useful when we observe some of the benefits of having more anandamide in the system. From lowering anxiety levels (by activating 5-HT) to encouraging homeostasis in the body by activating both CB1 and CB2 receptors (within reason- unlike THC, which proves a little overeager to bind to as many receptor sites around the ECS as it can, anandamide promotes balance and modulation- and that’s what makes it ‘blissful’). One way a moderate to high level of anandamide might prove useful for depression is via anandamide’s potential to develop more nerve cells. This ensures a higher level of cognition, deeper sense of perception and stronger potential for memory and learning- which, despite sounding pretty technical, might prove beneficial for the system as a whole. Since research tells us that stronger cognition might aid in combat against depression (with the flip side being that cognitive impairment might be a symptom of depression), more nerve cells can be extremely useful for improving the mood and providing a stronger mind-body improvement.

Conclusion

There’s no definitive cure for bipolar disorder- but we, at Alphagreen, hope this article makes it a little easier to look at the facts and assess the wealth of data and information out there. While a lot of medical research can be conflicting, CBD can be a potential supplement, to ease some of the heavier symptoms of bipolar 2- in particular, CBD has proven to improve the quality of life in those who have suffered from depression.

And for those who are affected by bipolar disorder, or have a loved one who is currently living with the disorder, we hope that this article makes it a little easier to gain some clarity. We hope, with time, research and energy, bipolar disorder may also become a treatable, and curable, disorder.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Are The Main Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is hard to put into a box. In most cases there are two episodes which accompany bipolar disorder: mania and depression. However, according to whether an individual has bipolar 1 or 2, the depression or mania may be less intense. It’s important to get the opinion of a medical professional- but some symptoms might include:

Mania:

  • Increased activity, restlessness
  • Sleeplessness or insomnia
  • Racing thoughts
  • Hyper-activity
  • Drug abuse
  • Reckless behaviour
  • Anger or irritability

Depression:

  • Sadness and pessimism
  • Guilt
  • Weepiness
  • Hopelessness
  • Insomnia
  • Sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite/ increase in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts

How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed?

Often a medical professional will diagnose bipolar disorder within an individual. This is done through analysing a person’s symptoms, family history, and ruling out of any other condition. Quite simply put, a medical professional may ask you a few questions and analyse family history before coming to a conclusion.
Quite simply, if your symptoms match, or come close to matching, the DSM 5 criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- a list of symptoms which determine a specific mental condition) then you have the disorder.

Is There Treatment For Bipolar Disorder?

Yes- treatment includes medication (such as mood stabilisers and antipsychotics). Sometimes antidepressants are also administered. This keeps intense moods at bay and are often administered according to your symptoms- which should categorise your bipolar disorder as one of four types. Often, alongside medication, psychotherapy is also administered- this provides support, guidance and gives the individual a chance to express their feelings, emotions and opinions. Psychotherapy is often a valuable option and pretty important for mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder.

How Can CBD Help With Bipolar Disorder?

While there’s a wealth of speculation about CBD, predominantly because it’s such a new form of treatment for a range of disorders, we can conclude that: CBD might prove helpful (when approved by a medical professional) for those with bipolar 2. This is because CBD can potentially ease symptoms of depression through a number of different ways. Also, CBD balances the body- it can act as a mood stabiliser, within reason. This might benefit some symptoms of bipolar disorder and ease the anxiety, insomnia and irritability which comes with the disorder.
However, CBD is a lifestyle supplement and cannot substitute for actual medicine.

Can CBD Cause Mania?

The intense levels of mania which are experienced by individuals with bipolar 1 can be accentuated with CBD. Now, this research is newfound, and actually seems to circulate on cannabis, which contains psychoactive THC as well as CBD- so we can’t prove anything about just CBD.
However, we advise that, for those who experience mania, to please stay away from CBD. This advice should remain, unless a medical professional, who has diagnosed you and is familiar with your symptoms, allows you to supplement with CBD. We aren’t sure about whether CBD can conclusively cause manic episodes, but we are sure that there is too much inconclusive research on both CBD and what exactly triggers mania in bipolar disorder to take risks with a person’s health.

Should I Consult A Medical Professional If I’m Interested In CBD?

Yes! As we conclude this FAQ, we want to iterate that we advise asking a medical professional if you are interested in supplementing with CBD, regardless of your bipolar disorder type (including if you just experience hypomania or depression). This article should be treated as speculation- never fact. If you are interested in some of the research and findings and would like to find out more information, please refer to our reference list. Most of all, from all of us at Alphagreen, please stay safe, cautious and healthy.

Verified by a Healthcare Professional

Anastasiia Myronenko

Anastasiia Myronenko

Anastasiia Myronenko is a Medical Physicist actively practicing in one of the leading cancer centers in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in Medical Physics at Karazin Kharkiv National University and completed Biological Physics internship at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany. Anastasiia Myronenko specializes in radiation therapy and is a fellow of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists.

 

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