Bipolar disorder is an emotional roller coaster that no one signed up to ride.
This disorder affects around 2.3 million Americans. A large portion of those currently diagnosed with bipolar first showed symptoms as young adults. Navigating life as a young adult is hard enough without adding extreme mood fluctuations.
Finding a natural way to treat bipolar disorder is a goal for many people. Now that hemp-derived CBD products are legal in the US, scientists and those suffering from bipolar disorder are beginning to look at how CBD can help.
Before you decide that CBD may be a good option for you, be sure to do your homework. Grab a notebook and pen. We’re going to take a deeper look at using CBD oil for bipolar disorder.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a neurobiological disorder. Those affected experience extreme mood swings that have no connection to what’s going on in their life. If left untreated, these mood swings become more severe.
Bipolar disorder has three symptoms—mania, hypomania, and depressive episodes.
Manic episodes turn your energy and emotions up to their highest setting. Some might think the extra energy means that you’ll get more accomplished. But that’s usually not the case. The added burst of energy usually causes insomnia. Without enough sleep, you can become irritable and easily distracted.
Mania also encourages obsessive thinking. In a manic episode, the mind is occupied by one, often unhelpful, thought. It’s like having a song stuck in your head, but worse. The obsessive thought is usually something like rehashing an embarrassing or terrifying moment throughout the day.
Lastly, manic episodes can give you a sense of invulnerability, leading to risky behavior like overspending or speeding.
Hypomania is mania’s less distracting sibling. That being said, it still negatively impacts one’s day. The manic energy boost and resulting giddiness come in waves. Between these waves, you might find that it’s easy to become irritated by little things.
Excessive talking is quite often linked to hypomania. This makes it incredibly easy to get distracted from important tasks.
The other side of bipolar disorder is defined by major depressive episodes that last for days or weeks.
Bipolar-driven depressive episodes leave you with absolutely no energy. Sometimes you’ll end up sleeping too much to cope. Other times, insomnia can occur and further drain what little energy you have to get through the day.
These episodes leave you feeling empty. This prolonged sense of emptiness can lead to suicidal thoughts. There’s no joy to be found during a depressive episode, even in little things you normally enjoy. You may lose interest in eating, as well. It is easy to become dehydrated during a depressive episode thanks to the loss of appetite.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating many important bodily functions. These functions include:
- Sleep cycles
- Metabolism and energy
- Heart and circulatory system
- Emotions and moods
- Response to stress
Scientists think that an imbalance in the endocannabinoid system can lead to health problems, including bipolar disorder.
Cannabidiol (CBD) may help balance your endocannabinoid system. CBD is an exogenous cannabinoid, meaning it is a substance not created by your body. Our bodies produce cannabinoids, but they are broken up and used quickly by enzymes. Cannabinoids from CBD last longer in your system than internally-produced cannabinoids. When it comes to treating bipolar, the longer-lasting, the better.
Using CBD Oil for Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is trypically treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medications. Unfortunately, it can take a while to find the right mix of medications. Some people never find the right combination of medications and look for natural ways to lessen their bipolar symptoms.
Changes in diet, exercise, and meditation are often the most popular natural treatment options. The recent surge in the popularity of CBD products has led CBD to be added to this list.
Scientists have studied CBD and it’s health benefits since the 1940s. In early animal testing, they have discovered that CBD can help relieve anxiety and inflammation. More recent testing suggests CBD may similarly help control mood disorders.
More clinical research is needed to understand if CBD can positively affect bipolar disorder. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that CBD can relieve the symptoms of mania and depression. But research and controlled trials in the years to come will provide much greater insight.
Potential Interactions with Medications
In 2017, the World Health Organization declared that CBD has no potential to cause harm. However, it can still alter the way your body functions. This poses problems when paired with certain medications. As with any natural dietary supplement, consult your doctor before taking CBD alongside any medications.
CBD can prevent the liver from metabolizing correctly. That alters the rate your body absorbs medications. Bipolar medications affected by CBD can include:
CBD also affects everyone’s favorite pick-me-up. Caffeine and CBD work on the same cannabinoid receptor. Ready for a little good news? Taking caffeine and CBD together can wake you up without the jitters. This is great for anyone who gets anxious during a manic episode after drinking caffeine. You might want to skip an afternoon cup of coffee, though. CBD can prolong the effects of caffeine.
Learn All the Facts About CBD Oil for Mental Health Treatment
CBD isn’t a cure-all for bipolar disorder. Yes, it can help balance your moods so you can focus on what’s important. But keep in mind, not everyone reacts to CBD the same way. Some people don’t react to it at all.
When you decide to try taking CBD oil for bipolar disorder, be as safe as possible. Consult your doctor first, especially if you are taking prescription medications. If you do decide to try CBD, be sure to buy a lab-tested product from a safe and reputable brand.
Most importantly, do your research and learn more about CBD before taking it.