CBD effective against bipolar disorder


Cannabinoids help to treat bipolar affective disorder?

We've taken a closer look at the science behind using CBD for bipolar affective disorder.

In France: The bipolar disorder classic affects about 1,2% of the adult population is more than 1000000 of cases. Including types II or III we get numbers significantly higher, up to 7% of the population including all "spectrum" bipolar, that is, all related disorders.

In the United States, National Mental Health Institute estimates that 4,4% of adults will receive a diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder during their lifetime. About 82,9% of people with this disorder had severe impairment, the highest percentage of severe impairment among mood disorders. The prevalence of bipolar disorder in adolescents was higher in women (3,3%) than in men (2,6%).


Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual changes in mood, energy, activity level, and ability to perform daily tasks. A process known as "rapid cycling," which involves periods of euphoria (manic episodes) followed by hopelessness (depressive episodes), is a hallmark of the disease.

CBD as antipsychotic

There are four variants of bipolar affective disorder: bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic and bipolar. Severity and frequency of symptoms are used to determine which variant is diagnosed. Bipolar I is the most serious form of the disease.


Manic episodes, sometimes called manias, are characterized by exaggerated self-esteem, insomnia, racing thoughts and abnormal speech, inability to concentrate, and impulsive behaviors. True manic episodes only affect those who have been diagnosed with bipolar I disorder. However, patients with other variants experience hypomania, a less severe form of mania.

Although mania is considered the “high” stage of bipolar disorder, it can have dire consequences. Many manic episodes result in hospitalization, psychotic symptoms, or severe impairment. Untreated manic episodes can turn into psychosis.


Depressive episodes mimic a severe form of depression known as major depressive disorder. Symptoms can include feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities. Other characteristics of depressive episodes are changes in sleep patterns and appetite, trouble concentrating, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and suicidal thoughts or attempts.

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This cycle of bipolar disorder is the “low point” of the disease. Just like mania, the severity of depressive episodes varies depending on the variant of bipolar disorder present. Patients with bipolar I disorder may have what are called mixed episodes, in which they show signs of both mania and depression.

cannabinoids, brain disorder, rapid cycling, antipsychotic, bipolar disorder


Prescription drugs used in conjunction with psychotherapy can help relieve symptoms in most patients. However, bipolar affective disorder can be resistant to treatment, making it difficult to manage in some people. Resistance to treatment is of concern, as up to 50% of those diagnosed will attempt suicide at least once in their lifetime.

Medicines prescribed for TB include anticonvulsants, antianemics, and antidepressants. Using antidepressants alone can lead to the onset of mania or a rapid cycle. Mood stabilizers or anticonvulsants are often taken to reverse these possible side effects.

Lithium is the only pharmaceutical product that has a consistent positive effect on suicide rates in bipolar patients. However, more recent research has shown that it may be possible to control this disorder by manipulating the endocannabinoid system. These are the neurotransmitters responsible for binding cannabinoid proteins to receptors.

cannabinoids, brain disorder, rapid cycling, antipsychotic, bipolar disorder
The concept of human mood and emotion disorder as a tree shaped like two human faces with one half full of leaves and the other half of empty branches as a medical metaphor for psychological contrast in feelings.


The endocannabinoid system, discovered in the mid-1990 years, is composed of two receptors, CB1 and CB2. Cannabinoids, a type of compound found in both the human body and in cannabis plants, bind to these receptors to alter brain function. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters produced naturally in the body, while phytocannabinoids are found in cannabis plants.

Studies postmortem (autopsy) revealed that the brains of patients diagnosed with mental illness, including variants of TB, have abnormalities in the endocannabinoid system. A similar study, conducted using mouse brain slices, showed that dysfunctional CB2 receptors inhibited the serotonin release, which suggests thata healthy endocannabinoid system helps regulate mood.


Due to the distribution of endocannabinoid receptors throughout the brain, many of the areas they affect overlap with areas believed to be responsible for bipolar affective disorder, as well as other mental illnesses. Studies have shown that patients with specific abnormalities in the CNR1 gene have a higher risk of being resistant to pharmacological treatments, which makes them more vulnerable to the effects of bipolar affective disorder.

For patients, phytocannabinoids could provide a way to manipulate the endocannabinoid system and regulate the level of chemicals traditionally targeted by pharmacological drugs. As always with hemp and cannabis research, these studies are still preliminary. More research will be needed to prove whether CBD and other cannabinoids can help treat bipolar affective disorder.

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Anandamide and THC

anandamide, called the bliss molecule, is naturally produced in the body and has a molecular structure similar to that of THC. Anandamide and THC bind to CB1 receptors, changing areas of the brain responsible for memory, focus, movement, perception, and pleasure.

FAAH genes (the fatty acid amide hydrolas) are responsible for the activation of anandamide. THC supplementation on anandamide deficient brains can help restore the chemical balance. Theoretically, this could ease the cycle between manic and depressive phases.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

It has been shown that the Cannabidiol inhibits the reuptake of serotonin in rats, suggesting that it repairs abnormalities in CB1 receptors that inhibit release in mice. If CBD works the same in the human brain, it could provide an alternative to conventional antidepressants, especially for people who are resistant to treatment.

Un randomized clinical trial found that CBD reduces abnormal brain functions in areas associated with psychosis, implying that it may have therapeutic effects on symptoms associated with the manic phase of TB. If the CBD regulates both depressive and manic symptomsit could help treat people who do not respond well to lithium.

Other cannabinoids

Among cannabinoids which have been previously isolated, CBG and CBCV appear to have potential for treating mood disorders, such as depression. Further studies could help isolate more of these chemicals and determine their effect on the endocannabinoid system.

cannabinoids, brain disorder, rapid cycling, antipsychotic, bipolar disorder
The human endocannabinoid system


CBD rarely causes side effects. Nevertheless, there are risks associated with both conventional treatment methods and the use of cannabis derivatives as treatment. The most dangerous side effect of any treatment for TB is the potential worsening of symptoms.

People who have symptoms of bipolar affective disorder or who have been previously diagnosed with one of these variants should consult a healthcare practitioner before starting or changing treatment. Even those with disease variations who are resistant to treatment can benefit from traditional methods (such as psychotherapy).

Regulation of the endocannabinoid system by phytocannabinoids may provide a way to relieve symptoms Further clinical trials are needed to validate preliminary data, but the future of cannabinoids as a treatment for bipolar disorder looks bright.

Tags : anandamidebipolarpsychiatryEndocannabinoid systemTreatment
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