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Can Cannabis Help With Bipolar?

By Cheri M. Roberts 12/17/2013

No two patients are the same. No two treatments should be the same either.

People with bipolar suffer their symptoms somewhat individually. Each person has their own underlying personality and we are all in unique-to-us environments which means we are surrounded by different people and things. Our influences and experiences are different from one another.

These differences, these influences and experiences are what make us who we are which includes the biological and physiological differences between us.

Because we are each unique, it makes sense that our reactions to medical treatment(s) will vary.

Chemical or Natural?

For those who are taking pharmaceuticals, you will admit you have had to go through many medication changes and dosage adjustments in order to be where you are right now. Even still you are probably not “quite right” or are having to deal with nasty side-effects from the pills.

Medications are par for the course for most all bipolar patients. If we seek help from professionals, medication is almost always immediately prescribed however; there is no “quick-fix” or singular solution that fits all.

Sadly, many of today’s bipolar treatments are based on yesterday’s pseudoscience versus current hard science yet mind-altering medications are doled out freely at higher and higher dosages.

So, why is it so hard to understand that for many people cannabis is medicine?

How do you know that cannabis doesn’t treat someone else’s bipolar symptoms as well as you believe your pharmaceuticals treat yours?

Pot – like any other substance, does not affect everyone in the same way.

Think about myriad ways a single thing can affect a dozen different people, differently.

Why would weed be any different?

It Shouldn’t Be…

"The power of cannabis to fight depression is perhaps its most important property." ~ Tod Mikuriya, MD, former Psychiatrist and Medical Coordinator

There are many valid scientific points worth looking at when it comes to using cannabis for mental health management.

“The anti-depressant and intoxicating effects of cannabis are due to its chemical similarity to natural substances in the brain known as ‘endo-cannabinoids,’ which are released under conditions of high stress or pain. They interact with the brain through structures called cannabinoid CB1 receptors. This study demonstrates for the first time that these receptors have a direct effect on the cells producing serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that regulates the mood.” ~ Dr. Gabriella Gobbi and Researchers at McGill University in Montreal in 2007 as reported in the Journal of Neuroscience

"Results from our analysis suggest that subjects with bipolar disorder and history of (cannabis use) demonstrate significantly better neurocognitive performance (and superior verbal fluency performance), particularly on measures of attention, processing speed, and working memory.” ~ Medical News Today

"With appropriate use of medical cannabis, many of these [cannabis-using] patients have been able to reduce or eliminate the use of opiates and other pain pills, Ritalin, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, anti-depressants and other psychiatric medicines.”  ~ Frank Lucido, MD, private practice physician, author of Implementation of the Compassionate Use Act in a Family Medical Practice: Seven Years Clinical Experience

Knowing Need

There are many studies that oppose the many studies that are positive for cannabis treatment and vice versa. The trouble is, or rather, the question is this…are people who are prone to or are experiencing brain disease seeking to medicate in the  same way a small child eats matches, dirt or other “odd substance” because their body is telling them it needs it?

I believe this to be true. Pharmaceuticals may work for you, but they don’t work for me and a whole lot of other people. We deserve to be allowed to have medicine that does work for us. It should not be a stigmatized alternative and instead should be a first course of action.

Physicians need to listen to their patients. Most are not going to tell you they need pot unless they do need pot. If a pot user used only to get high, believe me they would just say so. The only one with the stigma…is you.

 

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