cbd for mood disorders
cbd for mood disorders

CBD for Mood Disorders - Will It Really Help?

CBD for Bipolar Disorders as Opposed to Lithium

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Friday Jan 18, 2019

CBD for Mood Disorders – Will it help?

cbd for mood disorders

I’ve recently been asked to do some research on the effectiveness of CBD on mood disorders. This, after an acquaintance was recently prescribed lithium to deal with a severe depression. As I kept on going down the rabbit hole, it dawned on me that within the world of psychiatry, nobody really knows what’s going on.


When you look at psychological disorders such as Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Depression and the likes and the corresponding medicines; there really isn’t a definitive answer on any of them.


What causes depression? What causes bi polar disorder? Root causes of Schizophrenia? Depending on where you look, the answers differ. It’s either a combination of genetic factors, coupled with home environment, socio-economic situations, chemical imbalances in the brain and a slew of other factors that eventually manifest itself in a particular condition.


When I looked into Lithium, one of the most prescribed medicines for conditions such a bi polar disorder, I found a phrase that truly shocked me.


Lithium acts on a person's central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Doctors don't know exactly how lithium works to stabilize a person's mood, but it is thought to help strengthen nerve cell connections in brain regions that are involved in regulating mood, thinking and behavior. - WEBMD


Sure, WebMD is probably not the best place to find your medical advice, however when it came to lithium the same information was plastered on several different websites. The sentence that made me go “WOW” was …”Doctors don’t know exactly how lithium works to stabilize a person’s mood…”


So what does this mean? Are they guessing? Do they know the physiological and chemical implications of prescribing someone the drug? Obviously, there will be some pharmacologist out there that could probably explain what it does on a neurological level. But for the vast majority of us…this is quite alarming.


Nonetheless, the results of lithium in most patients are quite promising, reducing suicidal thoughts, stabilizing moods and preventing future outbreaks. However, it takes up to three weeks for it to kick in and then there’s a host of side effects that aren’t too nice.


I’m not disputing that Lithium works for the majority of the patients. However, would CBD who promotes similar things such as Lithium be a viable substitute?


Let’s look at CBD for a second


CBD promotes neurogenesis, or in other words… “Helps strengthen nerve cell connections” in the brain. It has anti-psychotic properties; it’s a natural anxiolytic and anti-depressant. It doesn’t have psychoactive properties and goes well with most medicine.


Therefore, it’s not a bad question to see whether CBD might be a better suited “first approach” prior to prescribing lithium to patients suffering from mood disorders.


As you may have guessed, there isn’t a lot of research on the topic and as of now, I’m only writing from the perspective of the chemical profile and brain interactions that CBD has to offer.


Lithium is quite invasive. Anyone who has taken lithium knows that the first week or two is rough. You might feel nauseous, weak, food tastes differently, and many more. Furthermore, you’d need regular blood checks to see the lithium levels in your blood to not be toxic. Eventually, once the body grows accustom to the drug, most of the side effects will go away.


CBD on the other hand isn’t as invasive. It’s fairly benign compared to lithium and promises to deliver similar results. Obviously, there would be a need to conduct clinical trials on the subject matter, however from anecdotal evidence CBD helps with


  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Depression


Now, there are studies on the subject matter.


In 2010, researchers at Oslo University found that patients (bi-polar disorder) who consumed cannabis showed a higher capacity for verbal fluency and learning than non users. In 2012, Zucker Hillside Hospital found that cannabis users afflicted with bipolar disorder had higher levels of attention, processing speed and memory than nonusers.


Finally, Dr. Lester Grinspoon from Harvard documented improvement in 5 bipolar patients when using medical marijuana to treat their conditions. Of course, these aren’t clinical trials, but it does provide us with an indication that cannabis might help.


Additionally, we know that people who suffer from bipolar disorder and conditions such as schizophrenia are more likely to use marijuana as a form of self-medication. However, the prevalence of pure CBD extracts wasn’t commonplace back then. These days, you can get liposomal CBD extracts that delivers CBD intracellularly to patients.


As mentioned, the research on the subject matter isn’t 100%, however there are glimpses that show that CBD might help for these conditions.


Perhaps, if your doctor prescribes you lithium for your order, you could suggest that you give a trial on CBD for a week or two before the that…it might work and you may not need an extreme solution as lithium.


However, for those who are currently in manic states…lithium might be necessary. However, if you’re considering to find a suitable substitute…talk to your doctor about using CBD first and if all else fails…well there’s always lithium.








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