Bipolar disorder and CBD


Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition which affects a person’s mood, these may swing from one extreme to another. Unlike simple mood swings, each extreme episode of bipolar disorder can last for several weeks, often longer. Some people may not experience a ‘normal’ mood very often.

There are many different ways to treat bipolar, for some medication works. But for some the medication doesn’t quite help and the side effects are worse. This is where CBD may come in handy, we have seen promising evidence that it works for other mental health conditions such as depression. So, can bipolar disorder and CBD work together?

bipolar disorder and cbd, cwellness, cbd oil

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder may be a life-long mental health problem which mainly affects a person’s mood. It affects how they may feel and their mood may change massively. People experience episodes of;

– Mania

– Depression

People often feel well in-between these times. When someone’s mood changes, they may see a change in their energy levels and how they act. People tend to develop bipolar disorder before the age of 20. It can develop later in life, but it rarely develops after the age of 40.

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Causes of bipolar disorder

There could be a combination of the different factors which may lead to someone developing bipolar disorder. These different factors include:

Genetic factors

A person is 5 times more likely to develop bipolar disorder if someone in their immediate family, such as a brother, sister or parent has it.

Brain chemical imbalance

The different chemicals in people’s brains can affect a person’s mood and behaviour. Either too much or too little of these chemicals may cause a person to develop mania or depression.


Occasionally stressful life events may trigger symptoms of bipolar disorder. Such as childhood abuse or the loss of a loved one.

Despite all these factors, the exact cause of bipolar disorder is not yet known, and it may differ from person to person.

Symptoms of Bipolar

The symptoms of bipolar disorder may make it difficult to cope with daily life. People have found it can affect their relationships both at home and work. There are different types of symptoms such as mania, hypomania, depression and psychosis.


The symptoms of mania involve;

– Feeling happy or excited, even if things are not going well

– Being full of new and exciting ideas

– Flitting from one idea to another quickly

– Hearing voices that other people can’t hear

– Being more irritable than normal

– Not being able to sleep or feel that you don’t want to sleep


Hypomania is similar to mania yet a person may experience milder symptoms. Treatment options for hypomania are similar to treatments for mania


Symptoms of depression may include;

– Low mood

– Poor sleep

– Having less energy and feeling tired

– Feeling hopeless or negative

– Feeling guilty, worthless or helpless

– Being less interested in things you’d normally do, or enjoying them less


Sometimes a person may have psychotic symptoms during a severe episode of mania or depression. The symptoms of psychosis may include –

– Hallucinations – hearing, seeing or feeling things that may not actually be there

– Delusions. This means a person may believe things that are not true.

Types of bipolar disorder

The different types of bipolar all depend on the way people experience them. Each person experiences it differently so there are 3 main types that doctors may diagnose.

Bipolar 1

Doctors may diagnose people with Bipolar I if they experience episodes of mania which last longer than a week.

Bipolar 2

A bipolar II diagnosis occurs when people experience at least one episode of severe depression and symptoms of hypomania.


Some may get a diagnosis of cyclothymia if they have experienced both hypomania and depressive mood states over the course of 2 years or more. Also, if a person’s symptoms aren’t severe enough to meet the criteria for bipolar I and II, then a doctor will diagnose them as having cyclothymia.

Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

There are different treatments depending on what kind of episode people experience.

During depressive episodes

People are often offered a structured psychological treatment which proves to help with depression. This treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

During manic or hypomanic episodes

People may have medication for this. It may be new medication or it may involve adjusting current medications taken.

There are a few different types of medication available for bipolar disorder these include;


These are a more likely medication option if a person has episodes of mania or severe depression.


Lithium may be effective in reducing a person’s chances of experiencing things like;

– Mania

– Recurrent depression

– Further mood episodes

– Suicidal feelings

This type of treatment is a long-term method of treatment, usually prescribed for at least 6 months.


There are 3 different types of anticonvulsant drugs, each one is for stabilising moods experienced during a bipolar episode;

– Carbamazepine

– Valproate

– Lamotrigine


In some cases, people may also have antidepressant medication. People are usually given selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Some of the side effects people may experience whilst taking the different types of medications for bipolar disorder are;

– dry mouth

– weight gain

– insomnia

– low blood pressure

– nausea

– shaking

– emotional numbness or a dull feeling

With all medications for any type of condition or ailment there are side effects. While some may be able to cope with the side effects, some may not. So where does that leave them?

Since CBD has grown in popularity, it may be a natural alternative or supplement to these medications, as research shows evidence of CBD helping people who have bipolar disorder.

What is CBD and how does it work within the body?

How does CBD help with bipolar disorder?

Medical cannabis has shown to inhibit serotonin reuptake; this suggests that it may repair abnormalities in CB1 receptors. These receptors are around the body, including the brain. CBD may become an alternative to conventional antidepressants.

If CBD helps to regulate both depressive and manic symptoms, it may help treat those who don’t react well to lithium medications.

A randomised clinical trial[1], found CBD reduces abnormal brain function in areas associated with psychosis. This implies that CBD could have therapeutic effects on symptoms associated with the manic phase of bipolar disorder.

If your are considering using CBD oil for bipolar disorder, please consult your doctor first. Use of CBD should be with careful professional supervision.