I have a family member who suffer from Bipolar disorder and after reading several medical journals on cannabidiol (CBD) use in conjunction with things like anxiety and depression I decided to do some research on cannabis (hemp in particular) as it relates to Bipolar Disease.
After looking at statistics from bipolar-lives.com, they indicate more than 5.7 million American adults suffer from this condition, which accounts for about 2.6% of the total US population. Another startling statistic from this website was 30% of people suffering from bipolar attempt suicide and 20% are successful. This is a serious issue! With the amount of people who are affected, this isn’t a rare condition at all. I decided to share my research and links and give you an option to do your own research.
I started with the Zucker School of Medicine publications. They had two Faculty Publications, one in 2012 and one in 2013, that specifically review the use of cannabis in conjunction with Bipolar disorder. The first was published in December 2012 and is titled ‘Cognitive and clinical outcomes associated with cannabis use in patients with bipolar I disorder.’ [PMC4408776]. Data was collected over a 9 year period, between 2000 and 2009, with patients ranging between 18 and 65. All 200 patients met the requirements to be diagnosed with bipolar I disorder specifically. The findings of this study were summed up by Dr. Raphael J. Braga, MD, “Results from our analysis suggest that subjects with bipolar disorder… demonstrate a significantly better neurocognitive disorder and a history of CUDs demonstrate significantly better neurocognitive performance, particularly on measures of attention, processing speed, and working memory…” This report was shockingly pro-cannabis siting that additional research was needed to determine an overall answer to the question of cannabis treatment for bipolar disorder.
The next article was by Lester Grinspoon, MD, a Professor of Psychiatry and the Harvard School of Medicine. In 1998 his findings were, “The authors present case histories indicating that a number of patients find cannabis useful in the treatment of their bipolar disorder… They stated that it was more effective than conventional drugs or helped relieve the side effects of those drugs.”
I was also able to locate an abstract by J Psychopharmacol on May 2015 titled, “Cannabinoids in bipolar affective disorder: a review and discussion of their therapeutic potential.”  . It was indicated in this abstract that bipolar is not controlled well by the medication typically prescribed. While they did a deep dive on this subject, they found that there were no systematic studies of cannabinoids in bipolar, however, they had found several patients who claimed that cannabis relieved the symptoms of mania and/or depression. There overall view was that while they saw potential more research was needed.
A secondary abstract by Braz J Med Biol Res in April 2006 had an observation led them to believe that CBD could be used to reduce anxiety and/or used to treat psychotic disorders. Their research and review of several studies, particularly one that was comparing CBD to the standard prescription drugs used, confirmed that CBD can be a safe and well tolerated alternative treatment for schizophrenia. They did end the report indicating that other conditions such as bipolar may also benefit from use of this particular cannabinoid.
My general take away from the research and digging performed was that
- More research really needs to be done; and
- Cannabidiol (CBD) has potential to help in lieu of the anti-psychotic medication that is currently being prescribed.
- We, as individuals, need to do more research on the holistic options that are available to help us manage both our minds and bodies. We may be relying too heavily on our medical practitioners, when we have the opportunity to help ourselves – starting with education.
I am not a medical practitioner, so if this is something you’re dealing with, please do research on this topic for yourself and consult with a licensed medical practitioner. The purpose of this article was simply to help bring awareness around the medical studies, journals, articles, and abstracts that are available.
If you have any questions about this article or would like more information on your search, please do not hesitate to leave us a comment or question below.