Marijuana And Bipolar Disorder

March 25, 2013 By 34 comments

In bipolar or manic-depressive disorder, the inconsolable misery of major depression alternates with mania or uncontrolled elation. In the manic phase people with bipolar disorder are cheerful, gregarious, talkative, energetic, and hyperactive. Their spending is often extravagant and their behavior reckless. They may imagine that they have extraordinary talents and are or soon will be rich and powerful. This reckless, restless cheerfulness and expansiveness can suddenly turn into incoherent agitation, irritability, rage, paranoia, or grandiose delusions.

Antidepressants alone are not a good treatment for bipolar disorder and may even make it worse. Lithium carbonate, introduced into medicine at about the same time as tricyclics, has revolutionized the treatment of bipolar disorder. It prevents mania and to a lesser extent bipolar depression. Although lithium takes several weeks to start working, its success rate is about 70 percent and 20 percent of patients are completely freed of their symptoms. Patients generally require long-term maintenance treatment, and because lithium can be toxic it must be used carefully. Chronic use may endanger the heart, kidneys, and thyroid gland. Usually the dose is gradually increased until the drug begins to work and then periodically readjusted according to the patient’s age, medical condition, and psychiatric symptoms. The amount of lithium in the blood must be checked regularly because it is ineffective if too low and risky if too high. Some side effects are weight gain, hand tremors, drowsiness, and excessive thirst or urination. Patients often cannot tolerate lithium either because of the side effects or because it takes some of the joy from their lives along with the manic episodes. It has been described as a “loose-fitting emotional straitjacket.” Only 20 percent of patients with bipolar disorder take lithium alone. Other drugs used in the treatment of bipolar disorder are the anticonvulsants carbamazepine (Tegretol) and valproic acid (Depakote), which may be used either alone or in combination with lithium.

John Frederick Wilson is a forty-two-year-old man who suffers from rapid cycling bipolar disorder. He has been hospitalized several times during manic episodes and has been treated with many conventional medicines:

There is a history of mental illness in my family. My parents and most of my relatives suffer from various mood disorders, and I myself have had manic-depressive disorder for more than twenty-five years. My symptoms are dynamic and occur in clusters of changing intensity. Sometimes mania dominates, sometimes depression, and I have no way of knowing which it will be or for how long.

In my manic periods, I feel as though I am flying, gliding effortlessly through the day with an ever-increasing sense of wonderment and delight. My body feels charged with energy. I talk rapidly and forcefully without finishing my sentences, and I constantly interrupt others. Colors appear brighter. Time seems to go by twice as fast as usual. I lose my appetite and can’t sleep more than two hours a night. Sometimes I go three days without sleeping, and when I do sleep, I awaken like a rocket leaving the pad— instantly alert, feeling as though I have had no rest at all. The situation is especially unbearable when I am recuperating from fever and physical illness while unable to sit still or stop talking.

Soon I lose control of my moods and sensations. My skin becomes highly sensitive to touch, and my clothing is a constant source of irritation. Taste and smell become so acute that odors I usually enjoy seem offensive and may trigger a headache. I hear imaginary muffled voices and tunes. Tears may flow regardless of how I feel. As my thoughts continue to race, I lose my ability to concentrate and become extremely anxious—an anxiety that may turn into either elation or rage. I feel all-powerful at one moment and suicidal the next. I make plans and promises that I will not even remember at the end of the day. I spend money on things I do not need and give away substantial sums to total strangers. I feel compelled to telephone old friends, running up hundreds of dollars in phone bills. Strangers are often drawn to me because my contagious enthusiasm, but I may unexpectedly lose patience with them and verbally assault them. At one moment I may be speeding through traffic, cutting other drivers off and running red lights; a few minutes later I feel calm and at a loss to explain my reckless behavior. At times my libido goes off the scale and I have intercourse with several women on the same day.

Eventually depression takes over. I become so physically ill that I am too weak to function. I have no appetite and lose 25 pounds. My skin is dry; I ache all over. The world seems drab and dull. I want nothing to do with other people, and I feel as though my presence is a burden to them. I do not even want to answer the phone or go to the door. I cannot carry on a conversation, because everything people say to me seems like a cruel attack. Activities that usually bring pleasure seem foreign to me. I am overwhelmingly anxious and feel as though I have never done anything right in my life. I am also extremely indecisive; a simple task like brushing my teeth takes all morning to plan and complete. Just when I think the agony cannot possibly get worse, it does. It seems as though it is never going to end. It is as if there is no future, no present, and no past—an eternal void. I contemplate suicide.

My mind and body are ravished by these constant shifts in mood. I have been treated with individual counseling, group therapy, and twenty-five prescription drugs. They have all been ineffective. At age forty I decided that conventional medication was doing more to compromise my health than restore it. In May of 1995, at the suggestion of a psychologist who has known me for many years, I decided to quit my other medications and rely on cannabis to treat my disorder.

It was not the first time I had tried marihuana. I first used it at age fifteen, and I was impressed by its effect on my symptoms even then. As a child and adolescent, I had suffered from constant anxiety, headaches, nausea, nosebleeds, uncontrollable weeping, and recurrent nightmares. I was extremely sensitive and easily upset, but I also was capable of sleeping so deeply that once I did not stir when an Air Force jet crashed and exploded within a mile of my house. Most of the time I was shy and withdrawn, with a sense of impending doom, but on rare occasions I would suddenly feel euphoric and out of control. Perhaps worst of all were my destructive rages, in which minor irritation would quickly become uncontrollable and I would destroy my belongings. These rages were extremely unpleasant, both mentally and physically, and left me exhausted when they subsided. >From the beginning, I regarded the supposed euphoria produced by marihuana as overrated. I was more struck by the improved mood that endured long after the so-called “high.” I soon began seeking a wide variety of friends, and my life-long sense of anxiety disappeared. I gradually overcame my shyness and began to develop a better understanding of people. My tendency to overreact diminished. The bedwetting ceased, and the headaches became less frequent and intense. My uncontrollable crying stopped, and my tendency to rage was curbed. I was not the poster boy for mental health, but I was much more productive than I had been.

Unfortunately, like most people at the time I allowed the scare tactics of the day to affect me. I stopped using marihuana at seventeen, and within weeks I was in a private hospital being treated for major depression and thinking about suicide. After six weeks of therapy with little progress, I obtained some marihuana on a home visit, and immediately thoughts of suicide were replaced with plans for the future. Several days later I was released and told the doctor that I had decided to use marihuana to treat my symptoms. He agreed that it was effective but refused to document the finding. A pattern emerged in the next twenty-three years as I repeatedly quit using marihuana and started again. I stopped using it and dropped out of high school. When I started again, I graduated and received awards. I stopped using marihuana and dropped out of college, then started again and earned my degree. When I stopped using marihuana I was fired, and when I started again I got a new job. Then a random drug screen detected it, and I was suspended. Since resuming my therapeutic use of cannabis permanently two years ago, I have no longer had to endure the disastrous consequences of improper treatment. My manic episodes are much milder; I am simply energetic, focused, and productive. Even more remarkably, I have not had any episodes of major depression in the last two years. It is refreshing to experience normal sadness without becoming suicidal. Cannabis calms me and focuses my attention. It makes me more patient with people. I can eat and sleep more regularly.

There is no drug-induced euphoria, and I do not look or act incapacitated. Family members, friends, neighbors, and health care professionals often comment on how much I have improved. I still have some difficulty getting enough sleep, but I do not feel tired all the time. I am enjoying an emotional stability and productivity I never knew to be possible before. If I do not use cannabis, all my symptoms return. My condition becomes unbearable for me and everyone near me. Many physicians have recommended that I continue to use it.

When I began to use cannabis therapeutically, I smoked two to four puffs every four to six hours. But I am concerned about the effect on my lungs, and I do not want to worry about the odor or about finding a safe place to inhale. Now I smoke rarely—only when I need an immediate effect because of one of my unpredictable mood changes, or when I have to stop myself from obsessing about an unpleasant past experience and concentrate on the present instead.

Most of the time eating cannabis works better for me, and I think it is healthier. Two to three grams taken in the morning last me all day. I put the crushed cannabis in an empty frying pan, apply medium heat, and stir it until a wisp of smoke appears. Then I reduce the heat to low and add a tablespoon of butter and sometimes a pinch of salt or sugar. I tilt the frying pan before adding the butter to keep the mixture concentrated. I sauté the cannabis for eight to ten minutes, remove it from heat, and immerse the bottom of the pan in an inch of cold water in my kitchen sink, adding several ice cubes. Five minutes later I have a cool green paste which I roll into a ball and eat. I have found that in my therapeutic use of cannabis, potency is not as important as variety. I would rather have two or more varieties of moderate potency than one of high potency. The indicas are very effective in controlling my mania, partly because they have a very relaxing effect on my body. The sativas also curb my mania, and they are the most effective medication I have ever used for depression.

Wilson’s mother, Polly Wilmoth, confirms his account:

John has worked hard over the years to survive his life-threatening disease. I have suffered through it with him, and I have seen the devastation that conventional medication brings. Year after year we were told that a safe new drug would soon be out. Year after year we were told that it was just a matter of adjusting the dose. And year after year we were told that what works for one patient does not necessarily work for another. That last statement, at least, could not be more true as it applies to my son and the use of cannabis. I am very proud of the progress he has made in the last two years and believe that he should have legal access to cannabis therapy.

by
John Frederick Wilson

  • momformarijuana

    thank you so much, for sharing your story. My sons was also diagnosed with bipolar-manic episodes with depression. He was 14 when it started and now 23. We have seen the effects of lithium and depakote ER. He has been on and off marijuana like you and he is more comfortable with the aid of marijuana and more enjoyable for friends and family. We are in the early stages of finding a doctor to issue a card. We are in sacramento,ca. Any one now where we can go. We need help asap.

  • Ron J

    I affirm your story with a lengthy one of my own and it states the very same experiences. Unfortunately many medical doctors would rather support their medical practices and enriching their pockets to stand behind the evidence and personal experiences of the many.

  • Sebastien Halverson

    Go to “Compassionate Health” in your web browser. And you can book an appointment REALLY easy. The Doctor is in Marysville. I got mine for Bipolar II and my wife and I have never seen such a miracle before as the use of Cannabis for these types mental disorders. I am so happy more of us are becoming educated and being the pioneers of a medication that is better and healthier than anything Big Pharma will ever produce. I hope it goes well!

  • dave

    i’ve never read a more accurate description of symptoms and its a real hope-giver

  • Zisa Aziza

    I, too, have been surviving the elements of my powerful mind. I have had multiple psych er visits. I tend to become paranoid and experience psychosomatic symptoms when held against my will. Having tried: Haldol, Risperidone, Geodon. Lithium, Ativan, Klonopin, Benadryl, Zyprexa, and Atarax, I believe cannabis to have the highest level of medical efficacy. Of all the drugs stated above, I only feel safe using Klonopin. But truly, Cannabis is organic, my body is very comfortable and familiar with its effects and I appreciate the rapid relief. I intend on purchasing a Vapor to smoke it. I tried with western meds, but they fail me time and time again. It is my imperative to treat me as best I can, cannabis is the way… with exercise, healthy eating, yoga, water gazing, etc.

  • Danelle

    cannabis IS the best medicine to prevent episodes when you have bipolar. I can also affirm this story with my life.

  • Trisha Lynch

    it took a year after 10 days in the hospital to detox off klonipin. it was the hardest drug i have ever detoxed off of. do not feel “safe” with this drug at all. it is more addictive than xanax and harder to get off of. stick with cannabis. at least it won’t kill you.

  • Zisa Aziza

    Word! I took the prescribed dosage of klonipin and woke up feeling FUCKED UP… like drunk and almost fell on my way onto the toilet [not to the bathroom, lmao]. for me…. Adderall was my killer. I identified myself as a speed head who felt like superwoman. I got off of it…and took off from school. I’ll be very very careful with klonipin. I only use it when I have no money for cannabis and need to sleep.

  • Penleope

    I stayed true to the “no drugs ” until after 30 when I could no longer deal with my condition, death was looking pretty promising and I didn’t want to drag my family through this. I could write a book though all the crap being bi polar caused and a second book for all the problems prescription drugs caused. Cannibis allowed me live, it saves me almost everyday. I’m not sure I could continue without it. I am frustrated by the lack of logic when it comes to this plant. It should be legal. We need to re-educate the population about it.

  • tiredofthemeds

    I have bipolar disorder as well. I’ve experienced terrible side effects from medications. I’ve seen noticeable increase in episodes since I stopped smoking cannabis and just rely on the psych meds, which these side effects are tolerable, yet really unneeded. I search kind of often of any new studies on the effectiveness of cannabis to treat bipolar disorder. While there’s so many stories relating to its effectiveness, the actual studies are somewhat lacking. If anyone knows where or how to petition/ask for such studies to get the ball rolling, please spread the word. I know they’ll find it to be beneficial. I just really want it to be recognized.

  • Brett

    This helps me a lot to read this. The prescription drugs only made things worse for me. I’m currently not taking anything and life is miserable. Cannabis is illegal in my state and I fear prosecution for buying some. I would also rather know what I’m getting instead of nasty street weed. I don’t like supporting the evil behind the illegal trade, so I suffer. Thank you John Frederick Wilson for sharing this. A breath of fresh air. Now I wish I had a breath of something else. God bless.

  • george

    I’m 51 and male with Bipolar. I’m diagnosed and recognized as disabled. My state has some of the toughest marijuana laws in the Country. I have been down the medicine road, dealt with the side effects. My doc said “NO Marijuana” not now not never. Wow and she really is sharp in all other areas. I have used pot since I was 16. I have had many periods of sobriety with the longest being just over 8 years in duration.
    I was the craziest during the times without pot. I have stopped all meds and informed my doc of this fact. I secretly have still used pot and done well for the last year. The prices are driving me to the poorhouse so I must again put away the only tool that gives me a chance at rational thought. Oh my the dark and gloomy clouds are already emerging. My energy level is nil and I have just lost my fear of death again. No, I’m not suicidal but that fear is gone!
    Do I do without necessaties to afford this non-approved treatment that works , or feel the pain? I feel danger present.

  • kev3ph

    wow, you have described me in a nutshell, I guess I suffer with the same but I have smoked cannabis every day for 8 years. I recently found out I had a heart condition and had an ultrasound of my heart and lungs. Now the bombshell very little damage to my lungs, the surgeon actually remarked that it looked like I had never smoked….smoking is not related to my heart condition anyway I am 42 and smoked tobacco since I was 16.
    it was your concerns about smoking that made me post this… but everyone is not the same, smoking tobacco is bad for your health, but cannabis is clearly not from where I am looking….I think there should be some serious study on this subject and if there is where can I find it.

  • Clif

    I was diagnosed at a young age. I had hoped they mis-diagnosed me but they didn’t. I smoke, and when I don’t for an extended period of time, it all instantly gets worse and worse. I haven’t smoked in over a week and I’m close to completely losing what little grip I have on my sanity. Anti-depressants have always made my depression worse, and weed always works for me. They need to legalize it. Otherwise, more and more peoples lives may be claimed by this disease.

  • Kimberly Stearns

    OMG ~ Im speechless at 51 YEARS OLD and in tears at all that you shared and such drastic similarities. Its a silent hidden disease 4 me for my entire life :(. However,I too have been on a variety of different meds that had the worst side effects and were also frightening in health risks that always eventually surface. I always thought a puff or two medicinally was the only relief for me,but the legal issues and bi-polar and depression denial,,( as IM FINE) is what I was taught. I will stop here and say thank you so much for all your honesty. Ive read a lot of different types of material but never before heard this truth about marijuana. THANKYOU and GOD BLESS you and your family~take care of YOU :).

  • Alice

    I’m very confused concerning the relation between marijuana and bipolar disorder. Approximately five months ago I had manic episode that lasts for about two weeks, and I was hospitalized for 9 days. I consumed marijuana actively since the beginning of 2013, about two/three puffs every three days (which is not a lot, 5 grams lasts me for a semester in college). My doctor said the marijuana use may actually trigger the manic episode, or another way to interpret it is… my using marijuana can be a symptom of bipolar disorder… and now I find this article that states marijuana use actually alleviates bipolar. I do feel happier, more focused, more organized, and more productive whenever I consume marijuana…. but could it be that all these happy feelings were the product of my imagination and were figments of a hypomanic or manic state?

    Everywhere I read, there seems to be a strong correlation between marijuana use and bipolar disorder, but no expert seems to be able to explain this correlation, whether it’s a cause /an effect/external factor, etc.

    Right now I am feeling quite depressed, worthless, and unmotivated. No suicidal thoughts, but I just simply don’t have much interest in life as I knew it, and have little desire to do anything but sleep and eat. I feel unattractive, I gain weight, and I can’t muster energy to put on a happier façade. I’m wondering whether marijuana will actually help me at this state, because the medicine doctors prescribe me doesn’t do anything… and I’ve never trusted western medicine. It’s difficult because marijuana has so much negative creds surrounding it!

  • Jonny

    It is time for us to DEMAND actual studies be done. All to often “professionals” are willing to throw pills down our throat. These medicines can cause terrible side effects and sometimes increase the original symptoms. I have an appointment with such a professional and I will press for us to break ground and record our findings. For health, for life, and for SCIENCE! We must unite.

  • James Douglas

    I am a 26 year old male with Bipolar I, and treated with meds. I really enjoy smoking, and up until six months ago was smoking pretty much every day. I love hearing this guy’s story and I am very happy that cannabis has helped him, but for me, unfortunately I have found the opposite. Especially when I am in the depressed phase of my illness. In looking back, I find that when I was depressed I would often smoke to escape, or “check out” for a couple hours from the harsh pain of depression. While it may be a temporary escape, it seems like it probably made things worse off in the end because I wasn’t dealing with my problems. I also think that in the hypomanic and manic phases smoking sometimes may have calmed me temporarily, but I think it contributed to further elevation as it made me more absent minded.

    Been off pot for about 6 months to and would love to get back on (maybe less frequently) at some point, but not sure if I can keep the “moderation” in check…

  • random aussie

    I’m in same boat I used to smoke 3 to 6 grams a day to control my symptoms eventually I couldn’t afford enough to keep me sedated and I had a hyper manic episode lasting 2 weeks. Ended up in a mental institution. I smoked for a further 2 months until the meds they put me on kicked in properly then stopped. Its been 2 years since my last smoke and no more symptoms/episodes.

    I would prefer to smoke but at the end of the day my pharmacy always has my meds and it cost 40 bucks a year whereas my drug dealer doesn’t always have pot and its 250 an ounce which only lasts 2 weeks max

    I too would love to have a smoke again but Im worried about effects.

  • Medric

    I have found Depakote to be immensely helpful when used alongside smoking, and is also a much more mild medication compared to the others. Although doctors say there is no interaction between the two, I’ve been told marijuana will make the Depakote ineffective. While I find that smoking a SATIVA renders me manic and does truly make it ineffective for hours, smoking an INDICA works alongside the Depakote to provide even more symptom relief. I have seen posts of a few others on various forums who also prefer this combination for relief both from bipolar 1 and epilepsy.

  • giicugrozav

    I suffer from the same disseas . but most therapists told me that cannabis caused the problem in the first place . I really don’t know what to believe because on my current medication I don’t really live life. I`m in a permanent apathyc state …. I can’t say that I’m happy or sad…energic or to calm… I just don’t really feel nothing….I’m from Romania and here is verry low knowledge about mental illnesses and I’m really thjinkin about leavvin the country so that I can receive marijuana legally. I don’t use it now because of the risk it brings and can’t really try a long term treatment. After the last time I used it for a short period I felt good and alive but i had to go back to my regular treatment and things turned back to usual .I would like to talk to someone who can give some advice and I can talk more about my problem . thanks

  • Bipolarneedsbettermeds

    I was recently put on depakote, perphanazine, kolonapin, aderol and lorazepam, I can’t tell what direction I am going from 1 min to the next the side effects are horrible, some have the side effect of death! , when I used to smoke, usually a puff or two 2-3 times a day out of a 1 hitter, usually lime green kush, kept me in an in-the-middle kind of mood, but happier, focused, never depressed, once I stopped i went into the worst depression of my life. but the side effect of pot is most likely an urge to raid the fridge, never suicide, death, liver toxicity, limit what foods or supplements I could take, as well as a laundry list of other symptoms. I would rather take something I could grow and use myself without major pharmaceutical intervention, about $300 a month worth of pills, laws that do more harm than good. Oh and I am losing my hair! Wth!

  • Dr. J

    Many Sativas, especially the Hazes, can induce and increase manic symptoms. I’ve had the best results with old school Indica’s: Northern Lights, White Rhino, Hashplant, Indica leaning Blueberry strains. Most of todays strains are too hybridized and you can’t get away from the Sativa aspects. Rhodiola works wonderfully to reduce cortisol levels (stress hormones). Rooibos Tea is caffeine free and calming and also and adaptogen ( helps the body adapt to stressful conditions) like Rhodiola. St. John’s wort can help with depressive symptoms along with fish oil. Avoid caffeine in the evening and ginseng along with “energy” drinks altogether. Valerian root can be taken in the evening to help with sleep. “Zen Mind, a Beginners Mind” is an excellent read to keep yourself grounded. Bipolar I, major episode free for 7 years. Good luck, God bless.

  • SHANA

    My aunt is 42 years old, and has suffered with manic bipolar and depression her entire life. She also has a severe addiction problem, and behavioral issues. Her entire life she has been institutionalized more tiimes then you have fingers and toes. She has died and then been brought back to life three times from suicide attempts. Her disorders have not only caused havoc on her life but my families as well. Two, to three times a week the police would get called or she would she would attempt to overdoes or abuse her psych meds.. resulting in another stay at the state mental hospital. She has recently been released from a facility after nine months, within a week she was back being same ol’ Lisa. She was admitted into another facility, meds changed, same after care plan as all the other places then sent home a month later. We live in Colorado.. where everyone is well aware that weed is now legal! with my aunts approval, as well as her counselors,and psychiatrist we have been trying something far different from what the dr has ordered.. Every two to four hours depending on how she is behaving Lisa eats some toast with marijuana butter, or a pb&j.The first day that we tried this, it was the best day that we have had with my aunt in YEARS! She was a normal functioning adult!! you could talk to her, laugh with her, and ENJOY her presence. She has been on so many different psych meds and we have NEVER had results like these. It’s heart warming, and even brings tears to my eyes because we have my aunt back! without cannabis therapy my aunt could be dead, institutionalized, in jail or someone else could have been hurt from her disorder. This has saved her life, and ours.

  • Teleri Princess

    Thanks so much for writing this. I have had the same experience with marijuana, and am now fairly convinced that I may be bipolar. As insecure as it may seem, I am relieved to be validated in my experience, to be assured it isn’t psychosomatic. The majority of my friends are progressives and regular marijuana users, but there is obviously still a societal stigma and stereotype – considering only two states have decriminalized marijuana, and only recently. Emotional disorders still aren’t recognized under medicinal cannabis laws, either.

    I caution you not to become too casual about mostly quitting, either. I have found that the long-term benefits of marijuana can last quite a while before you realize you should not have gone off your medication. Please only do this if absolutely necessary – it poses a risk to your mental health!

  • mel

    i love that story thanks weed works better for me i’m a different person off pills

  • tim dakes

    Cannabis works great for me. I am bipolar, 54 now and I have thought back over my life many times and I realize that I have done better, symptom free when I had regular access to cannabis. Lately in life I have found Zyprexa as a better drug than all the others I have tried, but after 5 years of taking it, I am overweight, lazy, and bordering on diabetes, which are all well known, frequently occurring problems with this drug. I live in a conservative town and do not have access to MJ/MMJ now. I plan to move to Colorado as soon as I can.

  • franceasca

    thank you for sharing..i am on epilem and sereqel but also smoke alot of cannibus….i struggle everyday with severe BP and has effected every aspect of my life…i have lost everything….i want to stop my medication as i fear it would only do me harm in the long term..i am 47 a mother and grandmother..i longed a normal life since i can remember but i just cannot seem to get off the hamster wheel..they say..just get on with it….its not that easy….and its when the manic mood shows its ugly form,is when im glad i can shield it with a smoke or two.regards…francesca.

  • Sickofsadness

    Please take caution. Marijuana can trigger a bipolar episode! Just because it works so well for some, does not mean it will do the same for you. In fact it can make things much much worse. I was diagnosed as having Bipolar disorder a few years ago but have suffered my whole life. My symptoms go from having excessive energy, lack of sleep, excessive spending, very friendly and fun, to deep and overwhelming feelings of sadness, not being able to get out of bed and constant thoughts of suicide. I thought these swinging symptoms were bad enough until I smoked marijuana and things got very scary and much worse. I only smoked a few puffs, was immediately paranoid and went into a huge panic attack. The next morning on the train to work I felt very different and for the next three months following I had severe panic attacks and was thrown into one of the deepest depression episodes I’ve ever experienced. The biggest difference with this episode compared to others is the constant Fear I feel. I’ve never really been afraid of anything. Now I’m afraid to live afraid to die just in a constant state of fear which is way worse than mania or depression. I’ve also had symptoms with my vision since smoking weed. I now have what they call visual snow which is like static on a tv screen over my vision. That is also scary and hard to live with. Please consult your Doctor and do research to find others who’s episodes were triggered by the use of marijuana. A psychopharmacologist at my support group called marijuana “poison” to people with Bipolar.

  • Annie Palazzola

    I too can relate….I was always this sweet,crazy,smart,wild child growing up, but coming from a conservative Hispanic family…I was fine…there was nothing wrong with me….we’ll it was not until I turned 17 that my first boyfriend start medicating me for my ups….I remember I use to start talking very fast n hyper n star to sing n dance y he will roll up and say here here smoke…ever since I have smoked and it has helped me live a normal life. I worked @ a hospital in PR and remember there too I was taking care of thie Psycologist and she for some reason said to me that I like her were bipolar…..it was the first time I actually heard that word Bipolar. So naturally I went home and asked my sister…she immediately said not to believe that, that lady was crazy I was not bipolar, no remind u I smoked pot all day everyday but they just didn’t know…..years later I moved to USA and ended up hospitalized in a mental clinic and finally diagnosed bipolar…which if u ask my fam. Today “I am still fine n have nothing!” They gave all sort of meds that will just make me feel like a zombie…so I went back to my old medicinal way…start smoking pot on a regular basis and living normal. Today am married, have two amazing lil girls which I homeschool…(still unable to keep a schedule) and when am getting a lil crazy my husbands ask me “Babe have u smoked yet”? I go to my room take a bowl hit or two and am done….back to normal….even in my depressed states….hoping to get a medical license to not feel scare every day of loosing my kids just because of my medication….

  • Delilah

    Thank you for sharing. I’m at my wits end after several prescriptions, which either made my mania worse, or caused unusual allergic reactions. I was considering trying marijuana, but was worried that it could do more harm than good. I’m still researching, but you’ve at least given me hope that there might be something out there for me.

  • Nuraan Slamdien

    Hi Im a 30 yr old female from South Africa. I have bipolar type 2. I have been diaginose 7 yrs ago. I never stay on meds as I always have terrible side effects. I have been on epilim Cr 500 that made me gain so much weight I had flatulence,diarrhoea,mouth ulcers & acne thats the few I remember it also made me very depressed. I was then given epitec & I gt a rash there after I was given lithium & I was laying I bed curled up of stomach pain also had diarrhoea I then tried tegretol that made me lethargic I looked like I was dying had dark rings around my eyes & felt worse than normal my energy levels were even lower than usual & I was more depressed. I mostly have depressive episodes whereby I feel worthless,suicidal & a burden to my loved ones. I will also have terrible mood swings any sml thing wil irritate me & I will most times scream & shout and create arguments. Im so unhappy as I am a mother of 3 & all Im longing is being a normal happy healthy mother. I also have trouble holding onto a job because I have high absenteeism either because I am hospitalised or just to depressed to go to wrk. So I told my story partially meds make me sick. Right now Im trying cannabis yes im doing it illegally but I read up all the time how its helping people. However because I cant ask a dr here can any1 here pls advise me what cannabis to use the ones I tried made me feel good on 2 occasions but there after I went into a depressive state. I would also like to know how often should I smoke it & what type do use during the day & whats for the night. Pls any1 im desperate to live again & be happy.

  • Brett Kemyst Ferry

    I can relate to this whole article, I myself suffer from bipolar disorder and have had bad side effects from meds, I smoke marijuana on a daily basis, usually I bowl or 2 at night, helps me sleep and relieve the pressure of the day…I was in trouble for marijuana possession a few years back and could not smoke due to drug tests, I was on quite a few different meds and ended up hospitalized multiple times during that stint for suicidal and destructive thoughts…I still struggle daily but I do believe marijuana keeps my obsessions at bay and even when struggling keeps my attitude somewhat positive, I deff don’t get the suicidal thoughts…doctors have talked to me about my “substance abuse” and it keeps me from wanting to go to therapy as well…I live in Iowa and it is illegal so there is always the fear of getting in trouble but I feel it is the best medicine for me…I know when it comes to a full on melt down that marijuana is the most effective, safe, and consistent help…

  • Bsrk

    After a doctors recommendation, I’ve finally gone green after years of hospitalizations and nasty pharmaceutical side effects for bipolar disorder and noticed an instant improvement, night and day really. Marijuana has helped me get my life back and live a successful and satisfying life.