According to recent research, CBD may benefit individuals with bipolar disorder. This natural, plant-based substance has a number of unique properties that medical researchers have identified as being beneficial for a number of psychological and physiological disorders, and unlike many medications for bipolar disorder, CBD does not appear to have any serious side effects. If you or someone you love is suffering from this psychological condition, it’s important to learn everything you can about the potential benefits that CBD can offer to people who have bipolar disorder.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder, which is also known as manic depression, is a psychological condition that is typified by intense mood swings. People who have this condition experience incredible emotional highs that are followed by deep bouts of depression. For people with bipolar disorder, the usual ups and downs that we all experience from day to day are starkly separated, and the switch from one mood to another can often take friends and loved ones by surprise.
When a person with bipolar disorder is experiencing a manic phase, they may be extremely friendly, and they may appear to be highly focused and capable. Inevitably, however, this period of efficiency and hyper-focus shifts to a seemingly uninterruptible depressive state in which the patient may be unable to get out of bed or accomplish seemingly simple tasks.
While a person with bipolar disorder is experiencing a depressive phase, they may be cruel or abusive to their friends and loved ones. A bipolar person’s manic phase is usually gentler on those around them, but the intense bursts of energy and sometimes impulsive behavior that a manic depressive person exhibits during these phases can scare loved ones or put them in dangerous situations.
Psychiatric authorities are careful to delineate between full-blown mania and another symptom called hypomania. Like mania, hypomania features an artificially elevated sense of energy and well-being, but unlike mania, hypomania doesn’t usually cause any types of cognitive impairment or impairment of judgment.
In most cases, a person with bipolar disorder remains in a particular state for an elongated period of time. They may switch between depressive and manic phases a few times each year, and, under rare circumstances, they may switch from one state to another more frequently.
According to psychiatric orthodoxy, bipolar disorder is an incurable condition, and there is no consensus on the exact mechanism that causes this disorder. Bipolar disorder has a definite correlate in brain chemistry, but whether this disorder has its origins in physiological or psychological factors is debatable.
In general, bipolar disorder is a source of stress and discomfort for the person who suffers from this condition and for those around them. People who have bipolar disorder seek solutions from a wide variety of sources, but since very little is understood about the causes and potential cures for this condition, it can be very hard to treat. Recently, however, innovators in the CBD industry have begun exploring the potential of this seemingly harmless substance to reduce the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Types of Bipolar Disorder
There are a few different types of bipolar disorder. Each type of this disorder features mania or hypomania and depression, but the symptoms and definitions of each subtype differ.
• Bipolar I Disorder: You may be diagnosed with bipolar I disorder if you’ve had at least one manic disorder that was preceded by a hypomanic or depressive phase. Some people with bipolar I disorder experience manic episodes that are so intense that they cause psychosis, which is the technical term for a break from reality.
• Bipolar II Disorder: People with bipolar disorder have experienced at least one depressive episode and one hypomanic disorder, but they haven’t ever experienced a manic disorder.
• Cyclothymic Disorder: If you’ve experienced a number of shifts between depressive and hypomanic disorders within the space of a year, you may be diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder. Patients who have experienced manic or major depressive episodes are not typically diagnosed with this condition.
• Other types of Bipolar Disorder: Some types of bipolar disorder can be caused by ingestion of certain drugs. Medical conditions like Cushing’s disease can cause bipolar disorder, and this condition can also be caused by stroke or multiple sclerosis.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
The symptoms of bipolar disorder can cause sudden changes in mood. Here are some examples of the symptoms that this condition can cause:
Mania and Hypomania
Mania is a more severe version of hypomania, and both of these conditions are typified by increased levels of energy. Hypomania or mania may cause a bipolar person to act out in inappropriate ways, and the symptoms of these conditions can sometimes require hospitalization. People who are experiencing mania or hypomania may display the following symptoms:
• Abnormal displays of energy
• Increased agitation
• Unreasonably exaggerated self-confidence
• Insomnia or decreased interest in sleep
• Inability to stop thinking
• Increased talkativeness and oversharing
• Lack of effective judgment
• Unsafe sexual practices
• Unwise spending choices
Depressive and Major Depressive Episodes
Depression is the other side of the coin when you have bipolar disorder. Some people who experience this condition only have mild bouts of depression, but major depression can cause serious damage to your health and your interpersonal relationships. You are considered to be experiencing a major depressive disorder when you display at least five of the following symptoms:
• Insomnia or oversleeping
• Lack of interest in activities due to decreased pleasure threshold
• Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and emptiness
• Restlessness or sedated behavior
• Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
• Fatigue or low energy
• Indecisiveness or cognitive impairment
• Suicidal ideation or attempted suicide
Causes and Pathogenesis of Bipolar Disorder
The causes of a disease are the factors that cause it to come into being, and pathogenesis is the path that a disease takes as it manifests. Both the causes and pathogenesis of bipolar disorder are unclear. Medical scientists have identified a number of neurological correlates to bipolar disorder, but none of these correlates appear to be causative.
MRI and fMRI readings suggest that issues with the amygdala, which is considered to be the emotional center of the brain, may contribute to the development of bipolar disorder. One theory that attempts to explain the cause of bipolar disorder suggests that hypersensitivity of the brain’s reward circuits causes mania, and hyposensitivity of these circuits causes major depressive episodes.
A comprehensive model of bipolar disorder pathogenesis suggests that stressful events “kindle” the inception of bipolar disorder in people who are genetically predisposed to this condition. Once this kindling process has occurred, genetically disposed people who have crossed their stress thresholds will continue to experience alternating manic and depressive episodes.
Out of all of the explanations for the causes and pathogenesis of bipolar disorder, the kindling hypothesis makes the most sense. It incorporates both psychological (subjective) and genetic (objective) components, and it is based in both neuroscience and behavioral research. However, inquiry into the causes and pathogenesis of bipolar disorder is still in its infancy, and researchers still have a long way to go in their quest to understand this condition.
Traditional Treatments for Bipolar Disorder
The most common treatment for bipolar disorder is medication. Psychotherapy is also used to treat bipolar disorder, but since this condition is seen as incurable, many authorities do not view psychotherapy as a valid monotherapy for bipolar.
In extreme cases, bipolar disorder may require hospitalization. However, the traditional approach taken after bipolar disorder has been diagnosed is to prescribe one or more of a few different types of medications:
• Mood stabilizers
• Mixes of antidepressants and antipsychotics
• Anxiolytic medications
In the short term, these medications can cause side effects such as:
• Weight gain
• Dry mouth
• Sore throat
• Muscle spasms
• Increased blood glucose levels
Over time, the types of medications that are used to treat bipolar disorder can cause serious kidney damage. They can also damage your hormonal system, and they can cause permanent alterations to your mood and personality. Due to these pronounced side effects, medical researchers are in search of novel approaches to the treatment of this condition.
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in plants of the cannabis family. This substance is present both in hemp, which is used for textiles, and marijuana, which is used as a medication and for recreational purposes.
Unlike the most famous cannabinoid, THC, cannabidiol is non-addictive, and it does not have any psychoactive properties. Manufacturers of CBD are careful to produce isolates or near-isolates of this substance to ensure that no psychoactive cannabinoids are present in their products.
While THC and other cannabinoids bind to naturally-occuring cannabinoid receptors in the brain, cannabidiol does not, which makes it unclear how CBD interacts with the human nervous system. However, medical researchers have identified CBD as a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic substance, and CBD also seems to show promise in the treatment of epilepsy.
CBD is a natural, plant-based substance, and it is not believed to have any serious side effects. In some cases, cannabidiol can cause drowsiness, digestive issues, anxiety, or mood changes, but these side effects are generally mild and desist once a person stops ingesting this substance.
In most cases, CBD is extracted as an oil, and it can then be administered through a variety of routes of administration. For instance, some users choose to ingest CBD orally, but it can also be inhaled as a vapor. Check out our CBD vape product to learn more.
Is CBD a Valid Treatment for Bipolar Disorder?
Preliminary research suggests that CBD may be beneficial for people with bipolar disorder. One study found that individuals who use cannabis contend that this substance helps alleviate both the manic and depressive aspects of bipolar disorder. However, the facilitators of this study did not single out CBD in their research, and they simply conclude that more research needs to be done into the potential benefits of cannabinoids for bipolar disorder.
Another study sought to determine the efficacy of CBD in treating the manic aspect of bipolar affective disorder (BAD). When combined with olanzapine, CBD seemed to cause a reduction in bipolar symptoms, but this substance did not seem to be effective as a monotherapy. The authors, however, confirmed that both participants in the study did not experience any negative effects after being administered CBD.
Since bipolar disorder can sometimes cause psychosis, the effects of CBD helping psychotic patients are worth examining. One review of the evidence strongly concluded that CBD has promise as an antipsychotic treatment. The authors of this review admit that the way in which CBD treats psychosis is unclear, but they confirm that CBD has a high safety profile.
A variety of studies support CBD’s validity as a potential treatment for depression. One study found that CBD exerts fast and maintained antidepressant effects, and another study confirmed that CBD appears to have anti-depressant effects when administered to mice. A further study suggests that CBD may have both anti-depressant and anxiolytic effects. To test these effects for yourself, try our high-quality full-spectrum and isolate CBD products.
Cannabidiol’s Mechanisms of Action
Not a lot is known about how CBD imparts its observed psychological and physiological benefits, and the method by which CBD may benefit people with bipolar disorder is even more unclear. Most scientific studies into the effects of CBD echo the commonly accepted position that this substance doesn’t interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are the neuroreceptors with which other cannabinoids interact.
Interestingly, some researchers have noted that cannabidiol appears to interact with 5-HT1A receptors, which are the targets of most anti-depressants. This interaction of CBD with 5-HT1A receptors would seem to explain why this substance seems to be beneficial for people who are depressed or are experiencing major depressive episodes, but it’s unclear which chemical attributes cause CBD to interact with these receptors when other cannabinoids do not.
Even though researchers contend that CBD also helps with other aspects of bipolar disorder, such as psychosis and anxiety, no models have been developed to understand the way in which CBD manifests these effects. Since CBD appears to have anti-inflammatory effects, this benefit may play a role in its perceived ability to reduce the symptoms of psychiatric disorders.
Medical science has established a clear link between neuroinflammation (inflammation in the brain) and the pathogenesis of psychiatric illness. It’s not clear whether inflammation causes psychiatric disorders or psychiatric disorders cause inflammation, but whatever the case may be, reducing inflammation in the brain seems to assist in the treatment of psychiatric conditions.
In many ways, CBD research is still in its infancy. As scientists continue to inquire into the mysteries of this highly promising substance, more details on its mechanisms of action will come to light.
CBD and Bipolar Disorder: The Bottom Line
All things considered, is CBD something you should try if you have bipolar disorder? Since this substance appears to be well tolerated in human test subjects, there doesn’t appear to be much danger in trying CBD if you have this condition. Positive results can’t be guaranteed, but a significant degree of scientific literature has been amassed that seems to indicate that CBD can address the individual sub-conditions of this disorder even if it’s unclear whether it can reduce the impact of bipolar disorder on the whole.
If you want to try CBD for yourself, give our CBD oil extracts a shot. These products are applied orally, and the CBD that they contain is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. All of our CBD products are 100 percent organic and non-GMO, and they are third-party lab tested to ensure that they don’t contain any impurities.