As increased research into the benefits of cannabis has emerged, we’ve learned that medical marijuana is a powerful tool in the fight against many conditions. From alcohol addiction to Alzheimer’s Disease, cannabis continues to show positive effects in clinical studies. However, is this also true for marijuana and bipolar disorder? Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
At Olympus Recovery, we strive to utilize every scientific approach to treating mental health conditions. That’s why we offer everything from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). However, we also think it’s essential to be clear about what doesn’t work. That means acknowledging the potential dangers of combining marijuana and bipolar disorder.
Can Marijuana Help Treat Bipolar Disorder?
There’s no question why someone may question whether bipolar disorder can be treated with marijuana. Many reputable marijuana studies have shown that cannabis has benefited patients with high blood pressure, anxiety, seizures, gastrointestinal disorders, and even cancer. While the FDA hasn’t approved the drug for use among the public, most states now allow medical marijuana use for specific conditions.
However, the science isn’t there. What little relevant data on marijuana and bipolar disorder we have says that cannabis can worsen outcomes for those with the condition. That’s likely why no state has listed bipolar disorder as a qualifying condition to receive medical marijuana. Even so, this doesn’t mean people aren’t self-medicating. In fact, the research shows that individuals living with bipolar spectrum disorders have higher rates of marijuana use and abuse than the general public. These rates are also higher than we see among individuals with other mental health conditions. This has created a perfect storm, but you don’t have to be consumed by it.
Contact Olympus Recovery at 866-305-7134 today and access proven approaches to treating bipolar disorder.
What Are the Dangers of Marijuana and Bipolar Disorder?
It’s bad enough that marijuana and bipolar disorder don’t have a treatment-condition relationship. Unfortunately, the worst news is that cannabis isn’t only ineffective at treating this disorder — it can worsen the condition. Those who suffer these outcomes won’t often recognize the correlation. That’s frequently due to the constant attention that’s given to the medical benefits of cannabis.
However, the consequences of combining marijuana and bipolar disorder should receive just as much focus. Based on the previously mentioned marijuana and bipolar research, some of the potential effects of cannabis use with this condition are as follows:
- Increased risk of manic episodes
- Poorer life functioning
- Failing to take medications as prescribed
- Increased impairment at work
- Less likely to live with a partner
- Psychotic symptoms
- Increased disability
- Worsened affective episodes
- Heightened risk of rapid cycling
- Increased suicide attempts
Of all the potential adverse outcomes of using marijuana with bipolar disorder, the worst may be decreased recovery rates. Those with mental health conditions deserve a treatment plan to help them get better. Unfortunately, this isn’t something cannabis use offers to those with bipolar disorder. Anyone self-medicating in this way will likely find themselves worse in the future.
Fortunately, it’s not too late to change course. The marijuana and bipolar research also show that individuals who stop using cannabis have similar clinical outcomes as those who have never used it at all. This isn’t a scenario where “the damage is done.” If you genuinely want to get better, the tools to accomplish this are available. Contact us today at Olympus Recovery to learn about the many ways we help those living with substance abuse and mental health issues.
What Other Problems Can Marijuana Abuse Lead To?
Marijuana use by those who have bipolar disorder is an apparent problem. If you’re one of the many people living with this condition who self-medicate using cannabis, it’s time to stop and get on the path to health. Unfortunately, it’s not just those with this mental health illness who are negatively affected by cannabis use. People with no underlying conditions whatsoever can face a variety of harmful outcomes.
- Loss of IQ that persists even after ceasing use
- Earlier onset of bipolar disorder symptoms
- Decreased physical performance
- Potential poisoning from edibles
- Inability to safely drive or operate equipment
- Inhibited sex drive and decreased testosterone
- Decreased lung health
- Increased risk of certain cancers
- Pregnancy and birth problems
Some of these may seem counterintuitive to the benefits of cannabis shown by research. What this shows us, however, is that data collection in this field is still relatively new. We don’t know all the potential long-term health consequences of cannabis use. However, the effect of combining marijuana and bipolar disorder is well-documented. Even if you’re not worried about other possible side effects, cannabis use simply isn’t safe with this condition.
Olympus Recovery has a committed staff of professionals who take an evidence-based approach to treatment. You deserve the best that mental health and addiction science have to offer, and that’s what we strive to provide at our facilities.
Alternatives to Cannabis for Bipolar Disorder Treatment
When speaking to patients living with bipolar disorder, it’s sometimes difficult to convey the dangers of using cannabis. They typically don’t see marijuana as a form of substance abuse, and many feel as if they get real benefits from the drug. Whatever the actual or perceived short-term benefits are, however, there’s no debate over the long-term effects of marijuana use for those with bipolar disorder.
The simple fact is that cannabis can worsen symptoms and even lead to other mental health conditions. Fortunately, there are various alternatives to self-medicating with cannabis. We offer many of these treatment options at Olympus Recovery. They include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Medication-Assisted Therapy
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- Experiential Therapy
These treatment approaches have all shown remarkable effectiveness in treating various mental health and substance abuse disorders. If you’ve been self-medicating your bipolar symptoms with marijuana use, though, it’s understandable that you may have reservations. Perhaps you don’t want to give up the feeling you get immediately after smoking or consuming cannabis. However, it’s essential that you consider your long-term health.
No amount of temporary relief is worth the extended effects caused by combining marijuana and bipolar disorder. There are proven treatment options available that won’t risk your overall well-being. It doesn’t matter whether you view your cannabis use as addictive. What matters is discontinuing use so you can take your life back.
Reach Out for Help Today — There’s No Need to Wait
Bipolar disorder is a difficult enemy to face; understandably, you’d want every weapon to fight back at your disposal. Unfortunately, this often leads people to self-medicate in ways that aren’t effective, even if they seem to provide temporary relief. And in particularly heartbreaking instances — such as combining marijuana and bipolar disorder — it can even make things worse.
At Olympus Recovery, we’re here to help those suffering from mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders. Our staff of certified professionals understands what you’re up against, and their goal is to ensure you don’t have to go through this alone. Don’t make the mistake of trying to face these difficulties without help. We’re here to assist in every way possible.
Contact us today to learn more about your treatment options.
- University of Washington – https://adai.uw.edu/pubs/pdf/2017mjbipolar.pdf
- Johnson & Wales University – https://www.jwu.edu/news/2021/09/7-potential-health-benefits-of-cannabis.html
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – https://www.samhsa.gov/marijuana