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 disorder:
Think, going for a 10km run followed by partying all night and up in the morning for a downhill mountain bike ride all day, all the while feeling hyper and energized.
Think, waking up to climb a small mountain, followed by a chess tournament and then a game of poker lasting all hours into the night.
Think, waking up to go back to sleep again, not wanting to get out of bed so ordering pizza instead. Not wanting to go to the door for the delivery guy, so texting flatmates to get their wallet and pay. Rinse and repeat this all day or, for weeks.
These are just example actions, someone with bipolar could display manic, hypomanic or depressive episodes in a variety of different ways. You can gain further understanding by checking out this Modern Love episode with Anne Hathaway, which follows Lexi, a brilliant and charismatic attorney who’s been hiding her bipolar diagnosis from friends and colleagues.
With bipolar disorder, there’s a cycle between the two states. The frequency with which the episodes switch, the severity thereof, and how long each episode lasts varies. Inconsistent behaviors, moods and energy levels can make it difficult for the sufferer to cope with the disorder or seek help for themselves.
The consequences of unmanaged bipolar include struggling in school, at work, and/or with personal relationships. This can prove living a normal life extremely difficult, as in the case of work, someone struggling with bipolar may be productive and upbeat one day or week, and unproductive and depressed the next. This can put undue strain not only on the sufferer, trying to keep up with work, but also on colleagues who may be relying on work being completed. That's where cannabinoids can assist with balancing and bringing more order to our mental and emotional state.
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 like drowsiness, insomnia, and headaches.
Cannabinoid-rich whole plant hemp oil is shown to work successfully in maintaining a balanced mood and in preventing seizures. In therapeutic doses, whole plant doesn’t present the user with many unpleasant reactions.
Because of this reason, research on cannabinoids for the treatment of bipolar disorder and how hemp works for bipolar is gaining momentum. In fact, a 2012 article in the Journal of Psychopharmacology notes bipolar symptoms are often poorly managed by prescribed medications and credits CBD oil (this can also be whole plant hemp oil rich in CBD), for its antipsychotic capabilities.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) creates a stable emotional state, which can help prevent the extreme cycling associated with bipolar disorder.
If you’re not sure what the endocannabinoid system is, read our article called What is the Endocannabinoid System. You can also learn more and get a brief overview of how cannabinoids are integral to healthy functioning and why you need them to activate the ECS by heading to our home page here.
Some find that a CBD isolate is highly successful at alleviating symptoms, while others find benefits in whole plant hemp oil products containing trace amounts of the cannabinoid THC. If you’re not sure the difference between CBD isolate and full spectrum whole plant hemp oil, you can read our article on it here.
Did you know: hemp contains less than 0.3% THC - so it will not get you “high”
As always, it’s important to remember to discuss all options with a medical professional to find the best holistic treatment plan.
We hope this has answered your questions about how hemp works for bipolar and if you wish to learn more about the effects of cannabinoids on emotional and mental health, please visit our blog.