I just HAVE to ask……

What is your experience with Mary Jane and Bipolar disorder? My housemates and I watched The Union: The Business Behind Getting High a few nights ago. It’s a documentary about the history of Marijuana in the United States and the political and cultural atmosphere surrounding the issue of legalization.

I have been trying to live my recent life in the most natural and healthy way. I am a vegetarian, being active is a consistent part of my life, and I’m always thinking about how to simplify my actions and habits.

The documentary brought up an interesting point: Marijuana has been used as medicine for centuries, and has proven (in unpublicized studies….guess the govt didn’t like what they were saying) that the effects on health are minimal (especially compared to alcohol).

(DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a stoner. My usage and experience is limited.)

I started thinking about Seroquel and other medication used to treat bipolar disorder, and all of the effects they have on your body. It scares me. Another thing I know is that marijuana calms people down (possible help to hypomania/mania),  and it gives you a sense of calm or numbness. Waking up in the morning after smoking I feel refreshed, happy, and ready to go.

Would using marijuana, strictly for medical purposes at night and during hypomania, help treat bipolar disorder with minimal to no side effects? I really would like to know what your experiences have been and how it affects you.

If you’re interested you can watch the full documentary HERE.

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19 Comments

  1. You know what’s funny? A strange very young doctor actually told me that MJ is an inducer of instant mania. Will def have to find a research on that.

    Reply
    • It seems to me that it would do the opposite, but it depends what kind you’ve got! Different strands can make you extra paranoid, but I can’t imagine manic!!!!

      Reply
      • I’ll need to verify this. Ticket to Dutchland? 😀 Seriously if that’s the only country where it’s legal, I’ll go there. Can’t risk arrest 😛

  2. I wholeheartedly disagree with the “MJ is instant mania” notion. Ask any pothead – it’s utterly ridiculous. There is potential that it could trigger psychosis in some individuals, but that’s just not the same thing as mania.

    I wrote about some of my experiences with cannabis here: http://disorderlychickadee.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/self-medicating/

    I don’t think it’s an adequate stand-alone mood stabilizer, but I do think it could be a useful adjunct therapy for some people. If you’ve had psychosis, it’s probably a bad idea, since it’s a hallucinogen. Otherwise, it really does seem to quash the highs and improve the lows enough to make things a bit easier. There’s very little substantiating research, which is frustrating, but a lot of people self-medicate with it. There’s a reason for that. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough once I started a higher-stress job and as the illness got worse with time.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the detailed reply!!! I definitely agree that it can help to an extent on milder symptoms, but it makes sense that it’s not a stand-alone treatment. I’m looking forward to reading your post about it! 🙂

      Reply
  3. I actually knew a Dr who claimed marijuana was more effective than antidepressants with less side effects. He saw great results with it. Of course, if you want to legally try it in the puritanical US, it’s going to depend largely on what state you live in as to whether you can get a ‘script for your particular medicinal purposes. But, there are people out there who swear 1/2 a joint at night is what gets them through.

    Reply
    • Wow! Yeah the process of getting a medical card is not easy! And in Washington state, where I live, you can’t get one for depression or bipolar!!!!! I don’t know why it’s not on the list!!!

      Reply
    • Less side effects = YES YES YES. A little munchies, temporary short-term memory issues (for some people), some lack of motivation. That’s really about it. A few people have adverse reactions but it’s a very short-term bit of unpleasant if that happens.

      The PRN anxiolytic I was prescribed is basically high-octane Benadryl. The side effects are much worse than pot and it’s nowhere near as effective. I won’t even take that stuff.

      Reply
      • Oh, God. Benadryl. That stuff just makes me whacky. If it does clear out my sinuses I would never know because I’m too busy being comatose on the couch. Are you even taking it at all?

  4. Hi, Again – Just found this: http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/schizophrenia/content/article/10168/2017327 Not sure if it’s useful but it was interesting, since DeeDee did bring up the psychosis. Later!

    Reply
    • Interesting! But if they say early cannabis use increases psychotic episodes later in life, how do they know kids aren’t self medicating disorders that already exist? Just being skeptical! lol

      Reply
      • I know, right? I think it’s just like everything else. Moderation is the key. (BTW, WA really needs to get it’s head out of its proverbial butt and start letting people with Depression and BP use marijuana. I used to live there and always thought that rule was stupid. Just my 2 cents.)

      • Yes yes!!! Everything in moderation. And yeah seriously about WA!!!!

  5. This is interesting. I’ve never tried MJ myself, but I’ve been around people who have used it and they seem to always just mellow out. Actually, once at a party years ago, I was inhaling a lot of from their secondhand smoke, so who knows, maybe I got some too. The house reeked of it. But I only saw them just really chilled out. One girl got a little too stoned and had to be practically carried out by her boyfriend, but others were just relaxed as can be. But that was in people who I don’t believe are bipolar, at least they’ve never said they are. In a brain like mine, I’d be curious how it would effect me. I have to admit though, I’ve often thought about it. If it was legalized, then I’d try it. I’d just make sure to be with someone the first time since I wouldn’t know how it would affect me. Frankly, like you said in your post, my bipolar meds scare me a heck of a lot more than MJ. Besides, God made the plant, maybe he actually planned for us to be using it, in a responsible way of course.

    Reply
  6. pharmaceutical meds terrify me too, but i’ll admit i’m biased due to a misdiagnosis & a prescription for effexor xr that made me manic & turned my mild bipolar ii into a beast from hell (rapid cycling with mixed episodes). now i’ve got it in my head that any med i try will have permanent long-standing effects & quite possibly make me worse.. i’ve had a prescription for seroquel since last summer, but i’m still too terrified to fill it. but i digress.

    instead, i self-medicate. for me pot is the *only* thing that can snap me out of my deepest depressions, instantly. it’s also the only thing that can give me an appetite. & it can cure my insomnia. i haven’t smoked in 5 days & i’ve already gone from being tired around 11:30pm to going to sleep at 5am (but that could be the hypomania, too..)
    i can go from being unable to get out of bed, awash with tears & relentless suicidal thoughts, to smiling with just a couple puffs on the vaporizer. but it’s a fine line, because too much can trigger my anxiety. i think pot pills or maybe even pot brownies would be the perfect medium for me… for the slower/constant release.

    i don’t like the feeling of having to be dependant on anything for survival.. but a plant just feels safer to me than a pill. i was only properly diagnosed as bipolar ii last summer so i am still in denial; still trying to ‘treat’ this with every holistic remedy i can come across before admitting medication might be the only way.

    sorry for the ramble; i am new to wordpress so finding fellow bipolar’ers is still pretty exciting. sometimes i feel like i’m living in a bubble.

    Reply
  7. singer51781

     /  April 20, 2012

    I think it really depends on the person. I’ve been manic all my life, (or really hyper, I really don’t know which,) starting in early childhood. I can’t say I was depressed. I was laughing and happy all the time, and had a great imagination. I guess in my teens I started to get depressed, but was really looking for an identity, so I tried pot. It was the absolute worst, most terrifying experience of my life, and set off a period of horrible terror for the rest of my teenage years. Marijuana can be a trigger for panic attacks in people. After my first, and last, experience with pot, I had extreme swings from mania to depression and have been dealing with it since. I’m not saying it’s the cause, though. It just may have opened the floodgates.

    Reply
  8. Just found this little-bit-o’interesting in the New York Times. Apparently researchers in Canada have found that when a tincture of cannabis is directly injected into the hippocampus of rodent brains it promotes new cell growth. New cell growth in the hippocampus is directly linked to combating depression. Hmmm….

    Reply

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