Cannabis and Bipolar Disorder is a Dangerous Combination

Cannabis and Bipolar Disorder is a Dangerous Combination

November 23, 2021

Cannabis and Bipolar Disorder is a Dangerous Combination

Mental Health

Like any other combination of dual diagnosis disorder, cannabis misuse and bipolar disorder together is a troubling situation for those struggling with it. The most common reason for this combination of dual diagnosis is the belief that cannabis use can help alleviate symptoms of bipolar disorder.

This article is an attempt to clear the air around this ‘misconception’. While cannabis is clinically prescribed as “medicinal marijuana” in different states across the U.S., there are no concrete evidences that support its beneficial role in the treatment of bipolar disorder.

Let’s discuss the reason behind this wrong notion and the supposedly “good thing” present in cannabis.

The ‘Good’ part first

CBD may be considered for medicinal use

Of the 400 compounds present in cannabis, CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two prominent constituents that evoke a debate for the good and bad about cannabis. While THC is the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, CBD is the non-intoxicating ingredient with known medicinal properties.

It is important to note that cannabis is legalized for both recreational and medicinal purposes in different states of America, but of course is subject to state-specific guidelines. Talking of medicinal use, only a specific component present in the drug, called as cannabidiol (CBD) is allowed for medicinal use.

The ‘Bad’ part

Marijuana is dangerously addictive. No doubts about that.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately one in 10 people who use marijuana are vulnerable to develop an addiction. And, the risk of addiction grows to one in six, if the person starts marijuana use before the age of 18.

Youth, in particular, are prone to more hazards of marijuana addiction, which is associated with different negative consequences, including impaired attention, memory, and learning. Researchers suggest that teenagers using marijuana are at a higher risk of experiencing problems associated with memory, attention, and learning functions. Marijuana use is also associated with a multitude of mental health ailments, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts among teens.

Marijuana use and bipolar disorder

According to the findings of a report by the Addiction, Drug and Alcohol Institute (ADAI), there is a comparatively higher incidence of marijuana/cannabis use disorders among persons with bipolar spectrum disorders compared with the general population or persons living with some mental health problem.

The report further warns marijuana users that marijuana use or use disorder may lead to psychotic symptoms, suicide attempts, rapid cycling, decreased long-term remission, worsened affective episodes, increased disability, and poorer global functioning to say the least.

As evidences highlight, cannabis use among people with bipolar disorder may lead to many negative effects including:

  • Anxiety, disorientation, and paranoia
  • Problems with decision making, memory, emotions, coordination, and reaction time
  • Lung damage and lung cancer, specifically in individuals smoking marijuana
  • Increased risk of heart disease and stroke

Treatment of bipolar disorder

Characterized by severe mood swings such as recurring, interrelated episodes of extreme excitability and depression, bipolar disorder is among the major contributors of mortality and psychiatric disability across the world. People with bipolar disorder are highly unpredictable due to frequent mood switches between extreme moods. The condition associated with extreme highs and lows may be referred to as manic depression or bipolar depression.

Generally, bipolar disorder develops in stages over years, mostly during childhood and puberty when preclinical symptoms including anxiety, impaired cognitive function, and sleep disruptions may occur frequently. The initial episodes of depression may run for several years before a hypomanic phase completes the bipolar cycle.

The good thing is that like most mental health problems, bipolar disorder is treatable through timely intervention. With the right treatment protocol, medication and proper care, people with bipolar disorder can resume a normal life.

For more information about the best bipolar treatment centers in California, call our 24/7 helpline (866) 548-0190. You can also chat online with our representatives for information on dual diagnosis treatment in San Diego.

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