CBD Oil And Bipolar Disorder 2021: Can Marijuana Help Mood Swings?

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CBD Oil And Bipolar

People who suffer from mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder, are willing to try just about anything to help get their mood swings under control. Lately, there has been more ongoing research supporting natural remedies to help manage symptoms associated with bipolar disorder, including a potential positive relationship between CBD oil and bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness with many new diagnoses on the rise. The mood swings that come with this illness can seriously affect your quality of life if not properly managed. This article discusses how CBD oil may help reduce mood swings, the research behind CBD and bipolar, and ways to take CBD oil to relieve symptoms.

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CBD Oil as a Mood Stabilizer

Ongoing research shows that CBD oil may act as a mood stabilizer, posing potential benefits for bipolar disorder. How does CBD oil act as a mood stabilizer?

What does the research say?

CBD has been all the rave as a natural treatment of symptoms associated with mental health issues. It has been studied to act as a mood stabilizer[1] and improve anxiety[2] while reducing symptoms of depression. 

Many believe CBD oil helps improve and stabilize mood by having a positive effect on serotonin levels.

Serotonin[3] is a neurotransmitter in our body that regulates mood.

Although there should be more research done, an increasingly large number of studies support the use of CBD oil to manage symptoms associated with various mental health conditions ranging from anxiety to depression and bipolar disorder. 

One study[4], in particular, was conducted in 2012 and followed participants with bipolar disorder over nine years. This study found that marijuana use improved attention span, better processing speed, and enhanced memory.

In addition, a 2018 review[5] found that CBD has antipsychotic benefits and may result in reduced depression related to stress.

Unfortunately, all research has not shown positive benefits.

An older study[6] from 2008 studied two people during a manic episode. The study results showed CBD did not have any significant effect on these patients. But again, this is only one study conducted years ago on two individuals. Of note, despite no significant benefits shown, there were no findings of any adverse side effects associated with CBD consumption during manic episodes.

How Does CBD Oil Compare to Medications?

While there have been many positive benefits associated with CBD for bipolar and managing the symptoms associated with it, you should never stop taking medicine or add on to your existing regimen without talking to your healthcare provider first. 

According to a study[7] published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, CBD has the same antipsychotic properties as traditional medications that treat bipolar disorder in addition to other anxiety disorders. 

Compared to prescription medications, CBD may also have fewer potential adverse side effects such as agitation and sexual dysfunction.

CBD is known to interact[8] with medications that have a grapefruit warning by altering the way your body processes certain drugs.

Therefore, you should avoid taking CBD alongside medications with a grapefruit warning.

Does CBD Cause Adverse Effects?

To date, it does not appear that taking CBD oil causes many severe adverse side effects. However, there are a few people that have reported experiencing the following issues when taking CBD.

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite

According to a 2017 review[9], the World Health Organization stated that CBD oil is generally safe. 

They did, however, report that it may cause interactions with certain medications, as mentioned above.

Always speak with your health provider before starting or stopping any medication, including over-the-counter medicines, herbal products, and prescription medications. 

Bipolar Disorder: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder diagnoses are increasing[10] in individuals across the world. Though diagnosis rates are increasing, overdiagnosis is thought to play a large role in these statistics[10].

 Unfortunately, the exact cause of the bipolar disorder is unclear. A variety of factors such as genetics, brain structure, and other mental illnesses may be associated with bipolar disorder.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder can last from days to years. 

In particular, those with bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, may experience mood swings that range in severity.

The shifts in mood often alternate between mania and depression[11].

During a manic episode, the individual may experience the following symptoms.

During the depressive phase, the individual may experience the following symptoms.

  • Crying
  • Hopelessness 
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loneliness

A psychiatrist usually makes the initial diagnosis after a review of your medical history, including a review of symptoms and significant life events.

Sometimes the person may have the disorder for many years before being given an official diagnosis.

Once given the diagnosis, treatment typically consists of medication, supportive care, and therapy[11]

Medications commonly prescribed to treat bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, or antipsychotic drugs. 

In more severe cases, the doctor may prescribe a combination of the above medications.

In addition to medication, the provider typically gives referrals to psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and family therapy to help members better understand the condition.

Additional therapy methods are available for severe cases, including electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TCM).

ECT involves passing an electric current to the brain to change its chemistry.

TCM is relatively new and still being studied for potential benefits. It consists of applying magnetic pulses through some regions of the brain to change its functions

How to use CBD oil for Bipolar Disorder?

There are many ways to use CBD oil for bipolar disorder. Some of the common ways to use cannabidiol are.

CBD Oil

Oil is the most commonly used form of CBD. It typically comes in a bottle with a dropper and is easy to use. These oils are infused with CBD and placed under the tongue for one minute before swallowing. Placing the oil under the tongue results in faster absorption and reaches your bloodstream quicker. To ensure proper dosage, you can also let the drops fall in your hand before putting them under your tongue.

CBD Capsules

CBD capsules are very popular, and often manufacturers will add additional ingredients to promote bioavailability. They are quick and easy to take on the go but may not absorb into the bloodstream quickly.

CBD Vape Pens

Vaping is an increasingly popular way to inhale CBD oil and might help the user get symptom relief faster. There is still a lot of ongoing research about vaping and its effect on the lungs, so you should consider this before deciding to use CBD vape pens.

CBD Edibles

CBD edibles include gummies, honey sticks, or hard candies. While they are easy to take, they may take a little longer to produce positive effects. 

CBD Dosage

While the dosage of CBD will not get you “high,” The proper dosage of CBD varies from person to person based on various factors. Getting the correct dose is key to making sure you reap the most benefits from taking CBD. 

The FDA does not currently regulate CBD, so there are no official dosage recommendations at this time. 

If you do a simple search on the internet, you will likely find a wide range of dose recommendations from 20 mg- 1500 mg per day.

Depending on how receptive your doctor is to you taking CBD, they might provide a recommended initial dose.

If your medical provider does not recommend a dosage, it is always better to start with the lowest dose possible and gradually work your way up to find what treats your symptoms the best. 

The dose that works for you will depend on your condition, body size, and concentration of CBD in the particular product.

Depending on your condition, CBD doses come in high, medium, and low.

The product you buy will typically come with a dosage guideline to guide you in the right direction.

According to a 2020 review[12] by the Journal of Clinical Medicine Research, participant’s anxiety levels improved after one oral capsule of CBD, ranging from 300-600 mg.

If starting slow and trying for a week does not relieve symptoms, many manufacturers recommend doubling your dose to help relieve symptoms.

According to one review[13], humans can safely tolerate around 1,500 mg of CBD per day orally. But again, It is always recommended to start with the lowest possible dose and work yourself up until you are satisfied with the results.

It is also crucial to research your brand options before purchase, as low-quality CBD products may result in adverse side effects and have the potential for dangerous reactions.

Make sure you choose brands that have a good reputation and undergo third-party testing. 

CBD may be very promising to treat symptoms associated with bipolar disorder. 

As mentioned above, it is always important to discuss potential benefits and potential downfalls with your medical doctor before starting any supplement or medication. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add CBD oil to my food?

You can, but most people do not. Not only is CBD oil challenging to mix in with most food and beverages, but it could also potentially affect potency when mixing in with foods. If you are looking to mix CBD oil into your food, you may want to try edible CBD products that have been pre-dosed instead.

Why should I take CBD oil instead of cannabis for bipolar disorder?

CBD is a specific type of cannabinoid in cannabis. CBD does not make you feel “high.” It is less likely to become addictive. On the other hand, cannabis contains more THC and less CBD. Products with higher THC levels are considered illegal in states where recreational cannabis use is prohibited.

Should I stop taking my mood-stabilizing medications when I try CBD oil?

No. Never stop any of your prescribed medications without first speaking with your medical doctor. Abruptly stopping certain medications can lead to withdrawal, worsening symptoms, and may even lead to suicidal ideation.

Can I overdose on CBD oil?

While it is unlikely to overdose on CBD oil, a substantial amount could result in adverse outcomes.

Is CBD oil addictive?

No. CBD oil sold in the United States should not have any addictive properties. In addition, it can not make an individual feel “high.”CBD oil contains little to no TCH and should not result in any euphoric feeling or cause addiction. CBD oil is illegal in states that do not allow recreational cannabis use if it comes from a marijuana plant and contains over 0.3 percent THC.

What form of CBD should I buy?

That is up to you. There is a wide variety of CBD oil out there that can fit into many lifestyles. CBD comes in many forms, from edibles to creams and capsules. This is why you need to do your research and decide which type is the best for you. As of lately, people vape with CBD to provide immediate, long-lasting effects. Many people say that vaping may cause harmful effects on your lungs, and additional research should be complete on potential adverse health risks.

I think I am bipolar. Should I use CBD oil?

The first thing you should do is get an evaluation by your medical provider, usually a psychiatrist. Once you have a diagnosis and medical history is obtained by your provider, you may discuss your interest in using CBD oil and decide together if this is an option for you. Some people may require medications that CBD oil cannot replace. Anytime you have a medical condition, it is essential to talk with your medical provider before making any decisions.

Will CBD oil cause me to fail a drug test?

Generally, no. Drug tests typically do not detect CBD because they are not screening for it due to it not creating a mood-altering effect like marijuana. While pure CBD is unlikely to result in a positive drug test, you can consume CBD products and test positive. Some products contain trace amounts of THC. If enough THC is present in the CBD product you use, it very well could result in a positive drug test. If you use any CBD products and are unsure of the exact composition, it may be a good idea to refrain from use for a while before your test to avoid the slight chance of testing positive.


+ 13 sources

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Medically reviewed by:

Lindsey DeSoto is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based out of Coastal Mississippi. She earned her BSc in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Alabama. Lindsey has a passion for helping others live their healthiest life by translating the latest evidence-based research into easy-to-digest, approachable content.

Medically reviewed by:

PubMed Central

Database From National Institute Of Health

U.S National Library of Medicine
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