Bipolar Disorders are medical conditions where individuals experience the extremes of mood polarity. Traditionally, it is also known as manic-depressive disorder or mood swings. According to the Psychodynamic Theory, faulty family dynamics during early life are responsible for manic behaviors in later life.
However, according to Biological Theory, episodes of manic disorder are caused by the related level of excessive level of body’s neurotransmitter which is norephineprine, serotonin and dopamine. A related biochemical theory views manic-depressive illness as an imbalance between cholinergic (increased activity in depression) and nonadrenergic (increased activity in mania) systems.
Characterized by debilitating mood swings, the only consistency to the effects of Bipolar Disorder is its potential to devastate and cripple an afflicted individual’s long term well-being and capacity to form and maintain long lasting relationships. At one moment, an individual suffering from bipolar disorder could feel euphoric; at times, even inclined to reckless behaviors; at another, they could feel overwhelmed by the deepest depression and at the precipice of suicide.
In recent years, the severity and scope of this mental illness has begun to be fully appreciated by the public and the medical establishment has devised a range of treatments and drugs to combat its effects, from Lithium to Risperidone and others. As with other medications prescribed for mental illness, there are a number of potential side-effects and some dispute the degree of efficacy in certain individuals.
The Netherlands National Institute of Mental Health conducted a study to discover the link between marijuana use and mood disorders (including bipolar disorder). The researches goal was to discover if a significant number of those who went on to develop mood disorders had previously used marijuana.
Their findings revealed that there was indeed a link between marijuana use and the onset of bipolar disorder as well as anxiety disorder. What the study could not conclude was why there was a link. It appeared that the researchers may have set up the study with the intent to prove whether marijuana use could trigger bipolar disorder. They were unable to prove conclusively that marijuana use could trigger bipolar disorder. It may in fact be that some people with bipolar symptoms had been in fact using marijuana as a way to “self medicate”.
It is difficult to say for certain. There does not appear to be any scientific proof at this time that marijuana use can alleviate symptoms of bipolar disorder. There is, however, some anecdotal evidence that it may. There are some reports that people suffering from bipolar disorders use marijuana in order to help alleviate mania and other reports that marijuana use can help with the symptoms of depression in those suffering from bipolar disorder.
Same study was also conducted in 2007 at University of Louisville, School of Medicine. The most subjective feedback of the study regarding the use of marijuana to treat Bipolar Disorder is positive for those who suffer the disease. The authors of the same study found that marijuana use was associated with a reduction in the number of days on which users reported feeling depressed, however it was associated with an increase in the number of days reported as hypo-manic.
While this doesn’t suggest that Marijuana use in and of itself ultimately addresses all aspects of Bipolar Disorder, it does appear that medicinal marijuana may effectively reduce and alleviate the symptoms of depression that sufferers are prone to experiencing.
Insofar as this study implies that medical marijuana has indeed a potential as an alternative treatment for the depression symptoms of Bipolar disorder, it has been suggested that risk of suicide may be reduced as a consequence.
It seems that the best that can be said about the efficacy of marijuana as an alternative treatment for Bipolar Disorder is that it reduces the severity and frequency of bouts of depression. It also warrants further study for possible other impacts that medical marijuana may bring on the long term mood improvement of those who suffer from this mental illness.