Best CBD Oil for Bipolar
Bipolar disorder is really not one disorder, but an umbrella term for a category of three distinct disorders. Bipolar I is characterized by manic episodes. Depressive episodes are also common in people with Bipolar I, although they are not required for the diagnosis. Bipolar II is characterized by both a depressive episode and a hypomanic episode.
which is like a less severe form of mania. Cyclothymia, which is less common and less well-known, is characterized by frequent periods of manic or depressive symptoms that do not meet the criteria for the “episodes” that occur with the other bipolar disorders. For simplicity, we will refer to the entire category as “Bipolar” in this article.
As with many other mental disorders, the treatment for Bipolar can include different types of therapy and medication. Unfortunately, the drugs prescribed to treat Bipolar are often quite poor at controlling it. CBD is a natural option which, in conjunction with therapy, may have a more positive effect on Bipolar symptoms than man-made drugs do. Some products that may help to treat your Bipolar can be found in our top 10 list.
What is Bipolar, and what causes it?
We already know that Bipolar disorders involve different combinations of manic and depressive episodes or symptoms, but what are those symptoms?
Common manic episode symptoms include:
- Feeling elated or jumpy;
- Decreased appetite and sleep;
- Talking and thinking quickly;
- Feeling powerful and able to do many things at once;
- Taking unusual risks and showing poor judgement.
Unsurprisingly, common depressive episode symptoms are pretty much the opposite:
- Feeling sad or slow;
- Increased appetite and sleep;
- Talking slowly and difficulty concentrating;
- Feeling worthless and unable to perform simple daily tasks;
- Having no interest in any activities.
Like with other mental disorders, we know that the brains of people with Bipolar are somehow different from those of people without it, but what exactly that difference is still eludes us.
Some current thoughts on the subject include that an imbalance of neurotransmitters (chemicals that regulate mood, among other things) may be linked to Bipolar, and that damage to regions of the brain which deal with mood and impulse control may be linked to mood disorders in general.
Fortunately, CBD can help with many of the symptoms and even the possible causes of Bipolar.
CBD and Neurotransmitters
One thing we do know about CBD is that it affects the reuptake of some neurotransmitters (the reabsorption of neurotransmitters, after which they cannot be “used”). By delaying or preventing reuptake, it changes the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
It is difficult to say with certainty how those changes relate to Bipolar, since the role of neurotransmitters in Bipolar is not yet understood, but the effects seem to be positive. Some data suggests that CBD reinforces healthy neurotransmitter function and helps the brain achieve neurotransmitter levels that are characteristic of non-Bipolar brains.
Early studies on CBD’s neuroprotective properties indicate that it does protect brain cells against being damaged or altered. In particular, it appears to protect brain cells from oxidative stress and free radical damage, which are both phenomena that may cause or contribute to Bipolar disorders.
Based on this, CBD may prevent episodes from being triggered, make episodes less frequent, or make episodes less intense. Individuals with Bipolar I or II may especially benefit from this property of CBD.
CBD and Bipolar Patients
Since both the causes of Bipolar and the effects of CBD are not fully known, which makes them difficult to measure, another meaningful indicator is simply whether individuals with Bipolar report improvement with the use of CBD.
In one study conducted on 133 patients with Bipolar disorders, every single participant showed improvement. All patients reported more stable moods over the course of the study and demonstrated improvement in measurable tasks like memory recall and attention.
Even if we do not know why exactly this happened, the results are meaningful. This study is strong evidence in favor of the idea that CBD is effective as treatment for Bipolar, despite the fact that the reasons for this are unclear for now.
How to Use
Since people with Bipolar can experience symptoms or episodes at any time, it’s important to choose a method that can be used daily and has long-lasting effects. There are several types of products that offer this.
- Drops - One simple way to take CBD oil is to place a few drops under the tongue. This is normally done once or twice a day, and the effects of it last for around twelve hours.
- Capsules - CBD can also be taken as a supplement, which is similar to drops but may be preferable to those who don’t like the taste of CBD oil. Capsules are also normally taken once or twice daily.
- Edibles - Food that is made with CBD is another product with effects that last a long time. They may be useful for the same reason as gummy vitamins, in that they motivate you to remember to take them by tasting nice.
With any CBD product, it is important to verify that the levels of THC, if any, are quite low. The effects of any significant amount of THC can be especially detrimental to people with Bipolar.
Side Effects and Possible Risks
Although the side effects of CBD are normally considered mild, a few of them are important to note for individuals with Bipolar.
- Fatigue - The fatigue that can be caused by CBD treatment is not considered a severe side effect, but for individuals with depressive symptoms or episodes, this may be something they already experience. It is possible that CBD could just make the fatigue experienced during depressive episodes or periods of depressive symptoms worse.
- Reduced appetite - Another of the more commonly reported side effects of CBD is a reduced appetite. Again, this is not considered serious, but it may already be a symptom experienced by someone with Bipolar, during manic periods or episodes. CBD could make this symptom worse during mania.
- THC - As we mentioned earlier, THC can have some pretty undesirable effects on people with Bipolar. Many CBD products contain some amount of THC, either intentionally or due to poor processing, so it’s important to do your research on the products you are considering and consult your doctor about the treatment.
As we study it further and learn more about it, CBD may turn out to be a revolutionary treatment tool for mood disorders like Bipolar. Some products that may help to treat your Bipolar can be found in our top 10 list. For now, we can see that it often helps mitigate the symptoms of Bipolar, although the reasons for this aren’t totally clear.
Due to the potential to make some symptoms worse and the fact that CBD products may contain THC as well, it is important to choose high-quality CBD products and discuss CBD as a treatment option with a doctor or mental health professional before beginning to use it.
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- Khoury, Julia Machado, et al. "Is there a role for cannabidiol in psychiatry?." The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry 20.2 (2019): 101-116.
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