1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

 Marcia Purse

Marijuana Use and Bipolar Disorder to be Studied

By April 26, 2010

Follow me on:

Is there a connection? Professor Cecilia Hillard of the Medical College of Wisconsin will be doing a 5-year study investigating one possible link between the chemicals in marijuana and the development of bipolar disorder and psychoses.

In a news brief somewhat sensationally titled Marijuana Use = Bipolar Disorder? Dr. Hillard told Corrine Hess of The Business Journal of Milwaukee that lifetime use of cannabis is 20 to 40 percent in bipolar patients compared to 6 percent in the general population. Dr. Hillard said there are three possible explanations - (1) that bipolar disorder brings on cannabis use; (2) marijuana use precedes the disorder and brings it on; or (3) an "X" factor causes both bipolar disorder and marijuana use.

Dr. Hillard says the second explanation is most likely, and will be testing mice with the primary psychoactive chemical in cannabis to see if it leads to a particular reaction in the brain to see if that initiates bipolar disorder.

I have to wonder if the College's press release and news brief are leaving something out or aren't being clear. The three explanations seem awfully simplistic. Is Dr. Hillard's second theory, the one that is to be tested, really saying that marijuana initiates bipolar disorder in persons with no family history of the illness and no prior symptoms? What about a fourth explanation, that the possibility of bipolar disorder exists (possibly with unrecognized symptoms already occurring), and cannabis activates or exacerbates the condition?

Obviously not everyone who smokes cannabis develops BP, and not everyone with BP has used marijuana at some point. Here's my case: I smoked marijuana (and used hallucinogenics) during my freshman year, and peer pressure was the main reason (actually, he was gorgeous, I wanted him, he wanted me to smoke dope). I had shown plenty of signs of depression since childhood, and racing thoughts were a problem already. I wasn't diagnosed with bipolar disorder till much later.

If you used or have used marijuana, what's your story? Did it come before or after you had bipolar disorder symptoms?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Learn more or join the conversation!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

April 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm
(1) JohnFD says:

I am suspicious of this study. I feel that marijuana use is probably safer for use than alcohol use. That said I used marijuana in my teens but discontinued for a long time before my bi-polar diagnosis. What does that mean? Does this study have parameters? Or is it just based on a hypothesis?

April 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm
(2) mikekinseattle says:

I’m skeptical, too. NIDA is known to fund studies that show the harm of marijuana, but not the benefits. Plus, there are other possibilities besides the 3 listed by Dr. Hillard, and the fourth you suggested. Perhaps people with bipolar self-medicate with marijuana. Or, there may be another explanation. I agree with you that Dr. Hillard is being overly simplistic. I note that the study is going to use lab research and mouse models. Mouse are not people.

March 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm
(3) sam says:

sounds like crap to me…doesnt sound like a very controlled study. I too suffered with mood swings since i was a kid, course my home life did not help but i have several relatives that suffered with mental illness of some sort, depression at least maybe bipolar..it wasnt talked about much back then. I firmly believe it is more about self medicating, thats what i do. It helps me sleep and relaxes me when things are really bad. Yes, there are times it backfires and makes it worse but for the most part it helps. I am still playing the “find the right drug game” who knows what will happen if i am ever stable..dream on

March 29, 2011 at 10:41 am
(4) linda says:

i have been using medicinal marihuna since november and my down mood so called depression hasn’t gotten a hold of me and things are really bad at home D R A M A of course i religiously take my meds just as the doctor prescribed…….

April 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm
(5) Roy, England says:

I need to add a few of points of a personal nature after reading this article:

I didn’t start smoking marijuana until i was 22 or 23. And by then the cracks of what was to be diagnosed as BP were already well entrenched and noticeable to me and others. Whether getting stoned had an influence on what was to follow is an unknown. I myself doubt it.

And i seriously doubt a small study on susceptible mice will provide any objective answers either. It will only provide a small piece of a much bigger picture at best. But it wont stop people drawing any subjective conclusions from it unfortunately.

Finally. At 28 (and before my diagnosis) i had my major breakdown. It came after weeks of adding, subtracting and dividing my life experiences against one another to come to the conclusion that the world would be better without me in it. I only needed to find a way to end everything with an absolute certainty of nothing going wrong. Fortunately all my free time when i had the opportunities to do something, i was too stoned to do anything about it. I never got any closer than doing something tomorrow. So to that effect, marijuana saved me.

April 26, 2010 at 8:21 pm
(6) Andrew Lochmann says:

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder nearly two years ago, at the age of 18. I had smoked marijuana since around the age of 15, relatively regularly. I had no symptoms that I know of previous to my episode that came out of nowhere at the end of my senior year of high school. All my doctors and my parents were certain that my disorder was caused by marijuana use and that further use of marijuana would threaten the well-being of the rest of my life. I did not smoke again basically for a year from the first episode, due to fear mostly. In that time I suffered from two further episodes, ending up hospitalized.

I began smoking again around a year ago because I had come to the conclusion that it was not marijuana that caused it, and even if it was, I believed I have a better chance of being happy by living in the same manner as I did before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I am 20 now, smoking regularly, and loving life much more than in the period where I was told to live my life in a different manner than I had ever been accustomed to. It is very interesting to me that this study is going on, but I hope that it does not come with the conclusion that marijuana is “bad” for people with bipolar. I would be one of the foremost arguers and examples of how it is in fact good, and has done more for me than any of the numerous medications I have been prescribed.

April 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm
(7) Michael Nagy says:

I smoke marijuana though I do not have bipolar disorder, I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, though I don’t usually tell people this, as this is not a “nice” diagnosis.

I have noticed that when I don’t sleep, that I feel tense and jittery but marijuana is very good at alleviating the feelings of jittery and tiredness. It definitely may alleviate certain bad feelings experienced in bipolar. It also tends to alleviate certain side effects of psychostimulants. I am not sure if it may aggravate mania, I have seen people in full blown manic episodes smoke marijuana, the marijuana doesn’t seem to have any major negative effect, but its really hard to tell. It certainly doesn’t stop their grandiose delusions.

I remember one guy who was severely manic and was receiving shock therapy every day, but in between each bout of shock therapy, he was secretly smoking marijuana.

It may aggravate the illness, more than help it, though this is not clear to me. I think people with bipolar in manic phase are very likely to abuse substances- not all will- but many will. People with bipolar, and schizophrenia seem to socialize better with “junkies’ and “drug addicts” and often cross paths with these sorts of people, I suspect there is some sort of overlap in the brain chemistry between drug addiction and psychotic episodes, though by no means are drug addictions psychotic. But I do think both psychotics and drug addicts have similar behavior in their compulsive drug usage and seeking. I used to smoke cigarettes- very heavily- and the only smokers I ever met who were as heavy as me (and I have a very addictive personality, everyone says it) were people with schizophrenia at the psyche hospital.

Just some of my observations, I am convinced in an overlap in the chemistry of chronic drug addiction and in the chemistry of psychosis, but there is also a difference of course between compulsive drug use by itself and psychosis. I am not saying that drug addicts are all vulnerable to psychosis- I am not that is for certain. But I am chronically impulsive, and find it *very* easy to get addicted to substances. I have been a chronic alcoholic, heavy smoker (45+ cigs per day), binge eater (still am), and now i just smoke pot (which is much less destructive than alcoholism) but even with pot everyone knows I am a “pot head” and smoke it 24/7. I also drink about 7-8 cups of coffee per day, have been hooked on caffeine since about age 12!

April 27, 2010 at 2:43 am
(8) K.M. says:

I have never officially been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder (never have had insurance), but am almost certain that I have it, after analyzing my emotions and actions and patterns over the years. There is also a little family history of similar disorders (I bet more that were undiagnosed though).

I have also smoked pot since I was 15. But I do not believe it was caused by the marijuana. Perhaps the Bipolar disorder made me choose to try pot and other drugs seeking escape, or during manic periods of my life (harder drugs).
The time and age in someone’s life that they may begin experimenting with drugs seems to fall around the same time that symptoms of bipolar disorder begin to become more noticeable. That is a coincidence.
I do believe however, that certain strains of marijuana increase my symptoms, while other strains REALLY ease them. This is something I discuss openly and frequently with my significant other. That is one reason I look forward to marijuana being legalized for medicinal use in my state, so I can know what kind of pot I am getting.

April 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm
(9) Joël says:

I totally agree with you. I’ve been diagnosed whith bipolar disorder type I 3 years ago but my sickness has begun when I was 18. Now I’m 27. I had my first manic state before I began to smoke pot (21). I think that it’s more the alcool that brings the state of mania.
I use cannabis indica (Northern Light Seed) to keep me down and cannabis sativa (amnesia) to keep me up when I’m depressed. When I am euthymique, I don’t smoke.
It works like that.

April 26, 2011 at 11:47 am
(10) Seb says:

Grow your own!

April 27, 2010 at 2:48 am
(11) K.M says:

You know what I think?

People with Bipolar Disorder are more likely to smoke pot.

And I personally don’t see anything wrong with that.

April 27, 2010 at 8:47 am
(12) itinkso says:

what about the people who use MMJ to TREAT their BP….the ones who had BP before they used MJ……this seems like a mockery to me….

April 27, 2010 at 9:05 am
(13) Debbie Tripp says:

Having symtoms of bi-polar starting at a very very young age, long before I even knew what Cannabis was,, It made my child hood a life that no child should have to live,, At a young teen I found Marijuana,, Thank God I did because by the time I was a teen I had thoughts of suicide, strong dangerous thoughts of it,, Having Marijuana throughtout my life and yes as a teen,, I am certain it has saved my life,, I have no doubt what so ever,, They need to reaserch all angles of this connection,, They are only reseaching the negative, and they don’t even know if their is a negative issue with the connection of Marijuana use and Bi-polar,,but yet that is what they report,, It is unfair to the people suffering with Bi-Polar to not research the truth,, then when they have real facts,, Tell the truth,,,,Again,, I have to stress this,, Marijuana has helped stableize my symptoms of my Bi-Polar, My use of Marujuana is why I am still here to be able to write this,,,

April 27, 2010 at 9:27 am
(14) Mel says:

I come in to this having been diagnosed before there was a diagnosis in the 1960′s. I am in my 50′s now. I never drank, I am considered severe bi-polar after many years of psycosis)? I never used the mind altering drugs available in the 60′s, 70′s, etc. I have smoked marijuana off and on many years…yes the different strains can have different effects. My Dr. said he like it when I smoked and jusy took zanax…as I can not take lithium, nor any antidepressants…I have been a guinea pig for years…I now take Zanax 5x a day, Soma 3x a day, and Neurotin 3x daily…I haven’t smoked in 4 months (I have no money) and my kids won’t bring over my grandchildren over,,,I can’t sleep and literally feel as though I am coming undone. I atleast slept for more than 2 hours a night, my hypomania is in full swing and they don’t want me to be OVERMEDICATED, so they say I can’t be taking anything more…antidepressants are out, and I break out in shingles atleast 3x a year…if I had a form of THC atleast I would sleep and be more mellow. I hope someone has an answer, as I am in agony.

April 27, 2010 at 9:41 am
(15) Shari says:

This study does seem too simplistic and the outcome can easily be manipulated toward a validation of the hypothesis. There seems to be an agenda here in this study as all three suggestions are skewed negatively toward marijuana, and totally ignore all the already
known validated information that bipolar has a
bioneurologic base. Self medicating is also quite a common thread for all who have chronic health conditions and to dis punt that seems absurd. The bias in this study could result in further stigmatization by implying those with bp willfully brought it in themselves
… a giant leap backward In understandin. biologically and genetically based neurological disorders.

April 27, 2010 at 9:59 am
(16) Shari says:

Whoops… Sorry, sent that out without proofreading … here’s a corrected version of
that last portion of the comment: … bioneurologic base. Self medicating is also quite a common thread for all who have chronic health conditions and to dispute that seems absurd. The bias in this study could result in further stigmatization by implying those with bp willfully brought it on themselves
… a giant leap backward in understanding biologically and genetically based neurological disorders.

April 27, 2010 at 10:05 am
(17) Lisa says:

Of course I tried marijuana and just about everything else starting in high school….and no I don’t believe there is a link, however, I used to see a psychiatrist at McLean’s Hospital in MA which is Harvard’s teaching hospital for psych and they were telling me they believed that cocaine use was a major trigger for developing BP and yes I did fit that profile too! My meds Dr. now would rather see me smoke a little pot than for me to drink! As I tend to make bad decisions when I drink (doing other drugs, etc.) versus just getting hungry and happy when I am stoned. So yes I do smoke now a few hits here and there a couple times a week, and I am doing very well on the BP front!!

April 27, 2010 at 10:52 am
(18) Lost.Cause says:

I’ve never used drugs but I did see an amazing video about BP called “Living Well with Bipolar Disorder: A New Look” made in Australia. In it they never seemed to imply that marijuana caused bipolar disorder but the sufferers interviewed that had used said that marijuana use made it worse. But only until they stopped using.

April 27, 2010 at 11:09 am
(19) Dale Hes says:

I have Bipolar disorder and Marijuana has some very scary side effects for me. Even two drags of a joint makes me feel as though I am completely disconnected from reality, as if I’m living in a strange dreamworld. I can’t speak properly, my heart races, my mouth gets so dry that not even copious amounts of water can get it wet. My hands tingle and I get so anxious and paranoid that I can’t sit still. It’s a very frightening experience. I don’t know if it has something to do with my disorder and the medication I’m on or whether that is just my natural reaction to marijuana. Me body just can’t handle weed anymore. If I had a huge bong hit like I used to have… I honestly believe I would die.

March 12, 2011 at 7:26 am
(20) Sufferin says:

I didn’t use marijuana till I was 22 and cocaine till I was 24. I had symptoms long before that and a history of BP in my family. I still experience mania (age 39) but less depression. Only when things in life hit me from all angles. What I do feel is that my head isn’t clear. I only smoke marijuana now for the past 11 years. I am about to embark on a new job and had to cease usage. I have to say that I’ve been experiencing overwhelming bouts of depression. I don’t feel like even getting out of bed, but I somehow do. I tried K2-sky. The herbal replacement and that stuff is just AWFUL for us. It drove me to paranoia, but I did have a heightened sense of clarity when I could control the feeling burst. I’m going to see a doctor soon because I feel like marijuana can help but I have noticed, like others that certain types often can have adverse affects. It does help. Trust me, the originators of this article are selfish scum to and not mindful to anything but a self- servant viewpoint impacted by political pocketbooks. We suffer and all we want is a healthy minded life like everone else. Is that too much to ask for? I’d sniff moon dust if I knew I wouldn’t have to embarrass myself with mood swings and followup apologies for the rest of my lfe.

September 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm
(21) brad p says:

i feel ya man, i couldn’t tell you how many times i have to send my girlfriend a text or phone call telling her sorry for blowing up like that and she didnt’ deserve to be treated that way. now i’m stuck in the system on probation with a year in jail hanging over my head. so now my stress levels are beyond comparasion and murder/suicide cross my mind on a hourly basis. i am 30 years old and haven’t been in a fist fight since i was 16. i have always been the to avoid conflict at all costs but i literally worn out and about to give up.

April 27, 2010 at 11:33 am
(22) Randi says:

It’s impossible to dispute that when diagnosed with bipolar disorder, one was BORN with a chemical brain disorder. Before a proper diagnosis many of us self medicate to feel better. That may account for #1 in the study. You can’t BECOME bipolar from smoking dope, you have to have the chemical brain disorder. Maybe she’s trying to see if by smoking it an individual who hasn’t yet manifested any symptoms “initiates” the disorder. hat may account for #2 in the study. As for #3, it’s fairly well known that bipolar disorder and substance abuse are fairly common. Is the X factor part of the brain disorder?
I showed signs of bipolar from a very early age, but grew up in the late 1950′s and no one addressed my changing behavior. The first time I smoked I felt a relief I had never experienced. I became a 24/7 smoker. I held down a responsible job, and no one knew. Marijuana changed through the years and become much more potent. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 53. The right psych meds and good therapy helped me quit smoking at 56. It’s been two years now and my life has changed so much for the better that the thought of smoking, and going back into the stupor that gave me a false sense of safety is a place I never want to be.

April 27, 2010 at 2:36 pm
(23) Christine B says:

Oh puleeze! Let’s pick #3 and get the whole thing over with.

April 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm
(24) 2Gerbils says:

I use marijuana on occasion, and find that if I’m running “hot” (hypo manic or manic), it calms me down even faster than my meds, and I’m back in normal mode usually by the next day. I rarely used it in the years before I was diagnosed, and still don’t use it regularly now after being diagnosed and medicated. I don’t smoke it at all if I’m feeling depressed, only if I’m “racy”.

April 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm
(25) lauralou says:

I only know from my experience from my husband and his first manic episode ever diagnosed at the age of 40, 12 years ago.That stress brought this on and his atitude changed a LOT when he drank an alcoholic,smoked pot, or any drug!! He would be meaner,shorter tempered.I HATED THOSE DAYS. I knew nothing of this Bipolar Disorder other than his mother has had it for years, since 1969 or so and in and out of mental hospitals. they didn’t know that much about this then.
My exhusband of 12 years and 5 boys later,proved to me that it was not good for anyone!
Both husbands literaly couldn’t poop with out it!! That used to piss me of so bad. i didn’t like it around the kids.
Except maybe, to be used for cancer patients to help them eat and keep food down thats saving a life.Not taking one!!
I know when I used to smoke pot a little in the 60′s & 70′s.It wasn’t as strong as has been and now. That my heart would pound fast out of my chest badly and I couldn’t feel my limbs. I would get so tired and paronoid! I didn’t like it ever, and the “shunkier smelling” it got the worse I would feel.

March 12, 2011 at 7:31 am
(26) Sufferin says:

5 boys, 2 husbands? You have ur own problems and your comment shows that u lack education. Alcohol I can agree with u but get a grip, they had other issues like u do that were not being addressed. People are vocalizing their experience here, hopefully to stimulate study. Go find another husband and mind your own business.

September 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm
(27) brad p says:

Just cause your ex husbands were douchebags don’t mean everyone should suffer and alcoholism sounds to be a large contributing factor in your statement(the reason i say so is because you listed it first[subconsciously listed in order of importance to you as a person].) Yes and i do know exactly what you are talking about i grew up in a home with a violent alcoholic(who used other drugs as well.) he would be cool sometimes then other times well not so cool. so don’t blame weed and please give me the url to the sites confirming the health dangers of marijuana or the names of the books confirming such things. Because after dozens of hours of research i can’t find one confirmed case of a person dying from marijuana or any other diseases associated directly with marijuana. watch out for biased info pretty much all .gov info is biased.

April 27, 2010 at 6:46 pm
(28) Gary Mickel says:

I used pot and one time acid plus one time mushroom but not for a lengthy period in my teens and 20′s, then again after 40 for almost a year after the 2nd time in my 40′s was when I was finally diagnosed with BP. I did have problems with depression and racing thoughts even as a child but the depression wasn’t even diagnosed until my early teens by my early to mid 20′s I began running for my health and then enjoyment and as years progressed I moved to being a triathlete and through none of those years did I have trouble with depression or any severe racing thoughts although I had trouble at times of shutting my brain down long enough to sleep well. When I reached my mid 40′s I injured my back at work as a physical therapist asst. and then the depression and racing thoughts became a constant in life and that was when I went back to pot to ease those thoughts a little, I had been diagnosed with depression again by that time.

April 27, 2010 at 11:31 pm
(29) Bob says:

My experience is that I definitely do not recommend pot with our bipolar. It made me lazy, more unable to concentrate, and added to my inability to keep a job over & over with the concentration issue again.

Drugs as alcohol are only an escape mechanism where maturity stops when we start. Allowing immature ideas & attitude’s to play out the rest of one’s life.

Then it goes to the inability or unwillingness to be responsible, productive citizens in society. Along with most of the time not caring about being accountable for one’s actions which always have a consequence.

Then I kept wondering why the world was so mean to me, as if I had nothing to do with setting myself up for my self destructive behaviors.

Thereby the description of an addict: a person on a path of self destruction and being in denial of how my actions contribute to my feeling like a failure.

My story goes as far as a serious traumatic brain injury on my 20th birthday that left me in a coma for a week (only thank God) with my left side paralyzed, not being able to talk, walk or have any dexterity or life.

And then it progressed to suicidal depression that landed me in a state psych hospital. I did have a 12 gauge shotgun to my chest with a deer slug in the barrel, with my finger on the trigger slightly pressing with the safety off and dear mom saw me when she reached the top of the stairs and cryed “Bobby don’t” and I didn’t.

That’s part of my past which along with my excessive personality, pushed me along the path of getting physically in good condition, yet the pot held me back again from achieving anything worthwhile in my life. ie: dropped out of college many times, lost many jobs indirectly and directly to using.

In another junior college 10 months after that accident I was in serious depression and smoking weed made the confusion and feeling insecure + lost more expanded. As experience also remembers that whatever mood I was in when I smoked pot, the more that mood was expanded. For lack of a better word – by expanded I mean blown way out of proportion – as in much more so.

BTW – I have 28 years continuously clean & sober in AA. As well as have taken the 12 steps in ACA & Alanon as well. Been in therapy several times for different issues throughout my life.

I received a late diagnosis at 44, worked another 5 years, and finally, with no hope left, surrender to the fact that I’ve been disabled ever since the TBI and I’ve pushed so hard day after day to keep going toward achievement, that I totally burnt myself out after a decade of the worst losses in my life.

I haven’t missed a day of meds since I started in 1998, even though I’ve been through nasty side effects until they were changed to see what may work next.

My diagnosis is bipolar II, ADD, PTSD, Post traumatic brain injury and more. It turns out the fear I had of Lamictal was unfounded, and is the best mood stabilizer I’ve taken once I went past 100 mg. – as the sleepiness held me back. Also have stayed at 225 mg. a day on the Effexor XR for at least 8 years as well.

I with everyone the best with their choices as this battle is not for the weak of heart, nor strength.


March 10, 2011 at 11:09 am
(30) Leslie says:

Bob, thank you so much for sharing your story.

April 28, 2010 at 5:53 am
(31) CruiseAustin says:

I have struggled with bp and marijuana use for the past year only because it is illegal in my state. Marijuana makes me feel so much better when I use it. But I am scared to death to get busted. I can be in a very depressed mood and smoke and then I get up and start doing things. It helps me feel better. As for this study, I think it is silly. Hmmmm….

April 28, 2010 at 12:44 pm
(32) David Dickinson says:

I find it extremely interesting that some posters imply that smoking pot is a sign of immaturity. Time and time again I have seen the “just grow up” tag. But I have never, ever seen someone state that drinking alcohol is a sign of immaturity. Does that mean society expects us to dabble a little in marijuana when we’re in our teens, then “grow up” and move on to alcohol?

P.S. Why do we never hear about alcohol psychosis? Don’t alcoholics go psychotic and beat their spouses? Don’t alcoholics go psychotic and get in their cars then kill people? Shouldn’t violent psychosis brought on by alcohol be more of a concern to society than non-violent psychosis brought on by pot?

April 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm
(33) cindy says:

Alcohol brings in the government an awful lot of money, and it is a weakness to the majority of the population, so that no one would want to limit their access to it. I have often wondered how it has become so unacceptable to smoke cigarettes while alcohol clearly is more destructive. No one has beat their spouse under the influence of tobacco. Clearly their are political issues involved here. I am amazed at what I have found here regarding the therapy of cannabis. What I don’t get, is that pharmaceutical drugs with wretched side effects are legal with a prescription, but there is no control over something that evidently would be beneficial to many people. The biggest hurdle currently seems to be the bad stigma of marijuana due to the media.

September 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm
(34) brad p says:

to many people will lose money if marijuana is legalized, while i have never stole anything to buy a bag of weed but i have stolen for cigarettes. Although if you look at the numbers the government(federal and state[california] makes millions in taxes off the dispensaries in cali. now if you spread that over the 50 states our country could take a huge bite out of the national deficit. but the phizer, bayer, and other pharmaceutical companies are major campaign contributers and the none of our government(except a few) will take the risk to stand up. bottom line; it’s not a war on drugs, it’s a war on personal freedom, keep that in mind at all times.

April 28, 2010 at 4:37 pm
(35) Undul8 says:

I pre-apologize for the length of this post, but I’m new at this. I’m highly skeptical of this study as well. My bipolar symptoms began in my early-to-mid 20′s (before I ever tried marijuana) and by my late 20′s/early 30′s (and for about 6 years thereafter) I self-medicated pretty heavily with alcohol, not realizing at the time that I was using it to influence my unpredictable and troublesome moods (and really my outlook, too). The depressive periods during the alcohol years were far worse than any I had previous to using alcohol in that way, and I came very close to drinking myself to death before I finally got help.

I’ve been clean and clear of even a drop of alcohol for nearly 2 years now, and the first 6 months of that period were without any marijuana whatsoever, though the typically short manic and long(er) depressive bipolar symptoms persisted during that period. I still wanted help with this because the “low” periods were starting to scare me – it was as if I was doing battle with myself emotionally, it’s a very strange dichotomy that I’m hoping some others out there understand.

So I saw a doctor and was evaluated as “depressed”, but the antidepressants she prescribed failed to help me consistently and without unsustainable side effects, so she asked me if I had ever tried marijuana (and she mentioned that she could not make such a recommendation within the law, but that she had known people it had helped, and so she was ‘just curious’). I had tried it before, but only when drinking, so I didn’t really know what it could do to help me, and I certainly had my doubts at first.

But I tried it (and continue to use it) in the absence of any other medication or drug of any kind, and just in the evenings and only at home. Though my highs and lows still exist, they’re much less severe than they used to be, and the bouts of unpredictable anger that often accompanied manic periods are gone completely.

It’s as if the amplitude of the emotional waves (highs/lows) have largely diminished and some sense of emotional stability has set in. You cannot imagine the positive impact this stability has had on my life and my relationships, even my job. This has been the case during my whole period with marijuana (as medication – about 18 months now). If anything, it has helped me a great deal, without the side effects that accompany prescription antidepressants, and it has not, to date, made anything worse.

But to me, the real tragedy is that I have to sneak around and find people (who are reliably unreliable, by the way) to buy it from illegally because my doctor apparently cannot prescribe it to me legally. In addition, the “dosage” varies according to whatever’s available “out there” and because it’s unregulated, there are no controls over what else might be in it, which makes me a little nervous.

And if I were to attempt to “grow my own” as many do to avoid street dealers, jail, and the expense of it all, I would still risk going to prison for cultivation. This is quite a risk to take for attempting to treat my bipolar disorder with the only thing that has offered me any real and sustainable relief to-date, so the “dealers” and the “variable dosage” remain my only options.

I don’t care what the study shows with the mice. I know that (so far at least) it has worked wonders for me, and there’s no reason I should have to risk prison to treat my condition. I wish someone would study that.

April 28, 2010 at 5:52 pm
(36) Wolfdream says:

I don’t believe Mary Jane has anything negative that would hurt BP patients. I’m a current user, and it helps me. I am skeptical of the study too. Recently Washinton State tried to get the legislation to pass the ability to possess and grow Marijuana for use in Cancer, Aids, etc. That seemed to be okay, but when they put in BP the response was no. Where were the studies? I will continue to use pot because I think it ISN’T as bad for you as drinking and because I feel it probably is better for me than all these pills I keep having to take that make me goofier than when I smoke. Bottom line — To each his own.

April 29, 2010 at 3:08 pm
(37) Stacey says:

I have bipolar I, ADD, OCD it seems they are all combined and we believe now I was born with it but back in the day they had little knowledge. It appears I have mental illness on both sides of the family some diagnosed some not I was not treated until my mid 30′s and feel I am stable now on psych meds. I am drug free, do not drink alcohol and do not smoke cigarettes which I have in the past. However, I do have a legal medical certificate to smoke cannibas my doctors are aware of this and I use it as a medicine in addition to my psych meds. I have extreme anxiety attacks which can be intense and horrifying insomnia in fact from the day I was born the cannibas will calm me down and help me to sleep at night. I am very responsible and use it accordingly it is a medicine which is natural a plant here on planet earth created by our god for a purpose which is healing. There are studies in fact there is no harm to the lungs like tobacco and might even in some areas prevent cancer. I feel that when used responsibly as a medicine with doctors approval it can help treat certain symptions in mental illness that even psych meds cannot treat 100%. It is safe and natural and you can now go to the store to fine all kinds of body products and so on using hemp/cannibas it is indeed good for us and in no way to ever be compared with harsh chemical drugs this has been the controversy for so many years… god bless

April 29, 2010 at 9:15 pm
(38) Jo says:

Cool comments

As a look back I have been bipolar since I was 10 or so. I smoked pot daily from 18 to 36 and then just slowed down til I stopped. Asthma didn’t help and I chose to drink instead. I think pot helped me prior to my diagnosis only 1 1/2 years ago. I calmed down and made me more even. The booze though didn’t help one bit. I have bee sober for 2 years.

And…No mice = humans and sign me up.

April 30, 2010 at 12:30 pm
(39) Alana says:

I have found that pot actually helps me in both manic and depressive states. People around me feel that it also helps. When in manic state it helps me “slow down” my thoughts and speech. In a depressive state it helps me relax and think more clearly. If it had not been for the marijuana I personally would have killed myself by now.

April 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm
(40) Donna Abel says:

I had bi-polar before I smoked pot. Thanks/ Donna

May 2, 2010 at 8:32 pm
(41) Lucy says:

My Older brother smoked cannibis un the military in Thailand, Pamana, and here in the states for many years. He blamed his depression on the loss of our brother at an early age, then after the military he claims post traumatic stress syndrome, now most recently Bi-Polar diagnosis. So go figure I can’t truly say it is the marijuana. Seems issues have been present all his life.

May 2, 2010 at 9:26 pm
(42) Mo says:

I have an opinion….

May 2, 2010 at 9:29 pm
(43) Mo says:

but will withold it until I know this will actually be posted…
Such a waste of time otherwise.

May 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm
(44) Mo says:

Well, I guess it will be posted. Sorry for the earlier ones. In my experience, I will ALWAYS be PRO-pakalolo, Mary Jane, Koosh, pot, weed,…whatever you want to refer to it as. I have been depressed since I can remember (about 5 yrs old) and my mind has raced like a hampster in a wheel for all of my life. I’ve used alcohol to calm myself which only lead to more depression, obviously, and I’ve taken drugs as well. Well THIS I can say without a doubt, beyond the shadow of a doubt that (for me) the green calms me down, has not been addictive, allows me to sleep, lets me me ‘normal’ around others…(not talking rapidly and being grandeous). I don’t get lazy when I smoke, I don’t get crazy when I smoke, and in fact tend to be able to focus and get things done! Yet, this herb is unlawful in the USA for the most part, and for what reason? The very worst I’ve done ‘under the influence’ was drive UNDER the speed limit. I’ve never got into altercations with others, shoplifted, got back into the bing/purge thing, flipped out on the phone with whomever – in otherwise all the things I do when I can’t smoke, and do especially when I use booze. I’m a recovering alcoholic (for the most part – I try my best) and it is a constant battle with the drink. I often think of our backassward laws…let’s all think back to: REEFER MADNESS….from nearly a century ago? With my luck, pakalolo will be legalized the day I die. Until then I hit every hempfest I can. I am an advocate for the herb. It keeps me sane…but, the cost. Hmmm. Can’t afford it so much. And the cops in my area would shoot if I grew a few. Now,about this ‘study’. Perhaps the money for such a rediculous thing should be used to legalize the bud. MIZ HILLARD. CAN’T YOU FIND SOMETHING REALLY WORTHWHILE TO STUDY? There are a lot of freaky things out there to study. Just out of curiosity, how many millions will be spent on this 5 year study on midget rats. I’m not sorry folks for taking up so much air space, seems like I’m always apologizing to everyone for talking so much. Too bad I don’t have enough for a pipe full. Peace out to you all.

May 2, 2010 at 10:49 pm
(45) Mo says:

Wolfdream, I think you’re aware of the WA state laws. Apparently my opinion doesn’t matter on this site because it hasn’t been posted yet. (sigh) Oh, well. Waste O’time.

May 2, 2010 at 11:02 pm
(46) Mo says:

Well, I guess you can say I’m a bit manic at the time. Crazy manic. They’ve tagged me with BP, OCD, PTSD, borderline personality, Anxiety Disorder (oh, AD, now that’s shocking!)…and I think there’s something else, but I have enough tags. The peeps in the ‘professional world’ love the tagging. They don’t have the answers, but by God they have the labels. I’m tired. And how will I sleep tonight? Haven’t slept for a couple nights now. It sucks. No Green, No Sleep. No Break. Eeeesh. I’m so tired. Peace out.

May 3, 2010 at 11:43 am
(47) Aggeloutha says:

I have never smoked marijuana but have BP.
My brother smokes it and also has BP.

One interesting thing is that my brother’s BP was diagnosed earlier in life than mine. Hence, I think the use of illegal drugs will exacerbate your condition.

You can’t self-medicate people! Try biofeedback rather than fighting the chemical balancing act.

May 3, 2010 at 11:58 pm
(48) kittyhawk says:

I got a better 4th possibility– mood disordered people use marijuana because it stabilizes symptoms associated with bi-polar disorder-this study appears to be biased…

May 4, 2010 at 11:06 am
(49) Anna Hammerschmit says:

Well it’s about time! I have know plenty of bipolar people, and guess what… Yes, they all smoke pot. I used to believe they were just self medicating but I no longer believe that. The real reason I am willing to accept there is in fact a connection between pot use and bipolar disorder is that my step daughter at the age of 7 has a full blown case of bipolar. And gee, her mother smoked pot all throughout her pregnancy! WAKE UP PEOPLE, THERE IS A CONNECTION! How long did it take people to realize the connection between cigarettes and lung cancer. They had to start somewhere.

May 4, 2010 at 11:31 pm
(50) lauralou says:

Yes my husband over used pot, alcohol, & cigarettes, etc. before being diagnosed with bipolar. it would affect him differently as a “zippy high “instead of a mellow one. The same with his mother. His Sister and Brother are that way too, but they’re in denial of being bipolar.
He has an addictive personality! So it didn’t MATTER WHAT IT WAS HE WOULD OVER DO IT!!
So since we quit all that crap many years now!! He is a better, Happier person. He also sleep very well now! :)

May 6, 2010 at 11:24 am
(51) Wendy L. E. in LR says:

Depressed since childhood. Moderate and sporadic Marijuana use began at 16. Use ended at 19. Major Depression depression diagnosed. MJ use recommenced at same previous level at 35. Bipolar diagnosed at 39, BP meds begun. MJ use continued at previous level. Last MJ use at 48. Am waiting for Doc. to supervise the withdrawal from benzodiazipines I have been on 11 years for sleep.

May 6, 2010 at 11:26 am
(52) Wendylynne says:

Depressed since childhood. Moderate and sporadic Marijuana use began at 16. Use ended at 19. Major Depression depression diagnosed. MJ use recommenced at same previous level at 35. Bipolar diagnosed at 39, BP meds begun. MJ use continued at previous level. Last MJ use at 48. Am waiting for Doc. to supervise the withdrawal from benzodiazipines I have been on 11 years for sleep.

May 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm
(53) Wendylynne says:

If the study is to be a reflection of real world circumstances, then it needs to evaluate the whole drug, not just a part of it. Under the present legal circumstances in the US, research into the possible medical uses of Marijuana is banned, while only research designed to prove the detriment of use is allowed. This means that the only research being done on Marijuana use in the US is biased, and therefore, not reliable. If we want to see good data on this we should look to countries like the United Kingdom which do allow objective research on MJ. That said, I decided a while ago to discontinue the use of Marijuana and alcohol. In the meantime, I have asked for my doctor to supervise my withdrawal from the benzodiazipines I have been on for 11 years for sleep. I wish the BP diagnoses could be removed. I have had no depressive symptoms in many years and have changed my thinking about many things. We will see.

May 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm
(54) sktd says:

my teen was diagnosed with bp at an early age way before her marijuana use

May 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm
(55) Sheryl says:

I try to keep up to date on any studies concerning Bi Polar Disorder. This is the first I’ve heard of this so called pot study. I never showed a symptom of this disease until I was 37 years old. I was happily married, raising my son, working and doing all ” The SuperWoman things” that so many people think you must do in life. I was a little depressed. Went to my primary care doctor year 97′ and he gave me Zoloft because everyone gets depressed at times. Well that triggered full blown mania, I felt great, worked 2 jobs did not need any sleep but then really made bad judgement calls, spending money, had a couple of affairs. It wasn’t until 99 when I could not get out of bed and felt like blowing my head off that I got some help. I has smoked pot in high school, in the early years of my marriage. Of course, I did not do anything when I was pregnant. All I know is the psychologist I saw and you have to tell it all to them told me along with my psychiatrist that marijuana use was actually a deppresant and when you are on psychiatric drugs, you may not get the full benefit of them. I was responsible, worked, went to school during the times I smoked pot. The pharmaceuticals they put everyone on now can cause psychosis, addiction and even death. I am now 50 years old and had to get disability because of certain side effects of Bi Polar drugs. If it was not for the fact it is still illegal, I would continue to smoke pot now and could probably get off most of this crap that is prescribed. I wish all of you peace and happiness because this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me and I don’t thing anybody understands this unless they have it or have a loved one with it. My love one, husband divorced me after 25 years of marriage.

May 12, 2010 at 7:16 pm
(56) Cat says:

I have bipolar disorder and I smoke marijuana. I am also working towards my Master’s degree in Professional Counseling. As a teenager, I was curious about marijuana and, as many rebellous teens do, smoked marijuana for the first time. I only did it a few times as a teen, when my mother found my “stash” I felt guilty for disappointing her and swore not to smoke again. Years later, I went to college, loosened up a bit, and learned more about my “disorder” and about different philosophys and theories of how to treat the “disorder”. My boyfriend during college would indulge in marijuana from time to time. I would always nag him to quit, that it was bad, and that he was bad for doing it. I realized that this “nag” wasn’t me, it was my mother. In time, I got over myself (my mother’s nagging voice), and I tried marijuana again. The effects of marijuana had on my mood have been tremendous. I was always anxious and irritable, and in intense states I would even become rageful. In the time I have been smoking, however, I have better interactions with friends and family AND I have the courage and patience to reach my goals. I have lost 60 pounds since October 09′ because when I smoke, I don’t beat myself up so much about being a “fatty”. My anxiety goes away, I look at myself in the mirror and say, “Okay, yeah, I have a weight problem, what can I do about it–”– and I do what is necessary. I diet and exercize (kinda beats that stereotype of potheads being lazy and having the munchies, eh?) Also, my GPA is the highest it has ever been. In highschool and even when during my undergraduate degree, I would become so overwhelmed with all the work I had to do, I would just shut down or blow up!

I didn’t make the best of my potential because I was so anxious, and would then lose confidence and esteem. But because of marijuana’s sedative qualities, my anxiety decreases, and I can focus on what needs to be done. Marijuana doesn’t help me “do” what needs to be done, that part is up to me, but my depression, irritablity, and anxiety would at times debilitate me to the point of terror and immobilization. In using this substance to help calm my intense moods, I have found great success. As a mental health professional, it is difficult to voice such a strong opinion on marijuana use for bipolar disorder because I fear that many will simply refer to me as “another dirty hippie pothead trying to get free bud from da man”.

I don’t believe that this will work with every person with “bipolar disorder”, all I know is that I am happy with the results that I have had in using marijuana to self-medicate. I know that there are pills on the market such as marinol that are being tested, but not legal in many places in the U.S., such as my residence. Also, I believe that if peolple use medication in any form, some other form of expressive therapy is also needed to balance the person. One should not medicate onself in order to escape life’s problems. I believe that when used responsibly, marijuana can actually help *some* of those who suffer from intense feeling states. Man made lithium pills because he found that lithium salts caused those who drank the water to have a better mood. If marijuana (which also comes from the earth) helps some folks the way that lithium helps other folks, I think that it is wrong to shame or keep it away from a person in need of it. I believe that people must be responsible with marijuana just like a person should be responsible with alcohol, food, sex, or any other thing, and I recognize that there are going to be jagoffs out there that will “ruin it for everyone”… but the reefer madness days must end. More research and level-headed individuals are needed.

May 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm
(57) KPL says:

Never thought about BP until today. Now going mad w/ research…found this. Just moved from Cali to N. Carolina and now without the bud I smoked for 12 years (I’m 38). I went a little crazy in the last few weeks – nothing suicidal, just crazy sad and angry. And after 2 therapist sessions, they want to test me for BP. Maybe there’s a connection between BP and MJ withdrawal? Maybe if I were still smoking MJ here I wouldn’t have ever gone to a therapist…again? Initially, MJ eased my anxiety; @ 26, I was a type-A corporate perfectionist, had an ulcer and anxiety paralysis where I was sometimes too worried to leave my house, my car etc. I abused alcohol, and this seemed to help. I never talked to anyone, never tried any FDA med – because MJ came along. But, in time, it seemed to alter my basic personality; bring on a disassociation with reality (anti-establishment’ism) and a discontent with society. I had tuned in, turned on and dropped out. My anger led me, hesitantly, into therapy and meds. Finally, in my late 30s, and much therapy, a couple years of getting on and then off celexa and quitting the booze abuse (my pot smoking was never mentioned for fear that a good thing would be taken away), I have been able to smoke with boundaries, for inner peace, and and realize I was still a part of the dreaded system, and that was alright. Did it come with maturity? I’ll admit, it seems like MJ may exacerbate manic episodes, which in turn, I think for me, made feeling low, or even simply content, less tolerable. And I agree: some strains were so much better on my nerves than others; I had to do a lot of research (smoking) to find the good ones for me. (If the FDA were involved, it may alleviate this – but my research wasn’t all bad:) ) And, I think that if MJ is abused, just like alcohol (though, IMO, MJ is the preferred substance to abuse of the two), it can pronounce mental illness. Even if I am diagnosed w/ BP, I’ll still smoke for celebratory reasons, or to bang out an extra- cerebral 5000-word essay for publication. Like those who occasionally take their anti-depressants with wine. But I’ll do it in moderation and not rely on it as much. That much I’ve learned for myself. But everyone’s reaction is different. This is just my experience.

June 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm
(58) susan longaphie says:

my son was diagnosed with bipolar at 9yrs old. He is now 17 and uses marijuana to help with the anger. He refuses to take anymore medicine because nothing has worked and the side effects too great. I have come in contact with several bp teens who use and had it before using. There are loads of these kids , why not do test groups using the kids who have it before using.

June 25, 2010 at 11:48 am
(59) lala says:

i started smokin weed at the age of 14 i only smoked it 3 time every time i smoked it i ended up in the er..i was telling my self that i wasnt the weed they did the test to test the drug and it was only weed….my life and mind has been a total wreck ever since……now im bipolar

June 26, 2010 at 2:47 am
(60) Med says:

I’ve been smoking Mj for about a year now and starting to realize some same symptoms of BP. The last time I smoked Mj with friends I thought they were secretly trying to steal my car. The time before that I left my friends because I thought we were going to be raided. Now I feels like the symptoms are an everyday thing, not so much paranoia but the way I’m always thinking. I haven’t got high in a while now because I choose not to spend too much money on Mj but, now more than ever its always on my mind.

June 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm
(61) Susan says:

This is such BS. I was bipolar long before I ever tried pot. I think it is self medication. I don’t do it now though.

June 28, 2010 at 6:17 am
(62) Grampa Joe says:

I had bouts of mania and depression before the first time I smoked marijuana. This was when I was a teenager, 15 maybe… I didn’t smoke it regularly. I joined the military and was diagnosed with BP. Medically discharged, prescribed all sorts of psycho-pharmaceuticals, I really felt like crap, toxic almost…I stopped taking my meds and I started smoking again, which, to me, helped… that self medication thing… its been 15 years since I made that choice. For me it is better to deal with cycling 2-3 times a year and smoke marijuana than to destroy my liver and kidneys taking toxic chemicals…. in which I have used in a suicide attempt. That is not possible with marijuana. So… in a nutshell, does MJ use cause BP? or does BP cause MJ use? I don’t know. But I do know that it seems to help me with my everyday tasks.

June 29, 2010 at 7:49 am
(63) Trish says:

I smoked pot twice in my youth. The second time, I had a schizophrenic reaction. I suddenly found myself unable to understand the simplest things going on around me. I was terrified and had to go to bed. Any one talking or the t.v. was so agitating because I couldn’t understand what was being said to me or around me.

I had no formal diagnosis at this time. But, I did suffer from trichotillimania, mild depression and anxiety. Much later in life, I was diagnosed with cyclothymia-but now my depression seems to hang on a lot longer.

July 22, 2010 at 6:31 pm
(64) Andrew says:

I have struggled with depressive disorders since I was 15, and I have recently been diagnosed with bipolar II. I can honestly say that, at least in my own experience, marijuana has been extremely effective at evening out my moods. When I’m down, it brings back up to normal. When I’m manic, smoking helps me relax. I think that research needs to be conducted without assumptions, biases, or stereotypes of the people that use marijuana. My psychiatrist told me “If weed helps you, you should continue to use it (responsibly).” It has the potential to be an incredibly comprehensive and effective drug, but gets a bad reputation from some users.

July 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm
(65) Alyssa F says:

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of fourteen. I lived a sheltered life and didn’t even know marijuana was at that age(though after entering high school i obviously learned what it was).
The study is complete bs, as I suffer from the illness and have never even used marijuana or any other type of drug.

July 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm
(66) JC (TOL) says:

I used to have doubts as well. At some point I thought that mj triggered my episodes. In reality I found out that mj stabilizes my emotions and I don’t feel the effects as much or sometimes nothing at all. In my opinion mj is a drug that helps bipolar people to deal with it.

July 26, 2010 at 11:11 pm
(67) Anne says:

I have Borderline Personality Disorder (life sentence). Never hung out with ‘Mary-Jane’. If I became best-friends with her at 17, I woundn’t had to swallow approx. 161,280 medicinal ‘brain pills’. Now I’m almost 50, partaked around 42. Mary gave me my life back . No anger, revenge, revolting behavior I have now., stopped drinking alcohol also and yes, sex got better. Am happier then I have ever been in my whole life. Thank you ‘Mary-Jane and thank you ‘God’.

July 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm
(68) Lost.Cause says:

I’d like to make 2 comments.

1. I’ve never used marijuana and have bipolar. I just wanted to add to your point that one does not equal the other.

2. Some have found a direct correlation between symptoms and marijuana use. A video from Australia had experiences of people with bipolar who found that use of marijuana brought about drastic changes in mood and symptoms. Again, nothing in the video even implied that one could cause the other. It merely pointed out that marijuana use affected people with the disorder.

July 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm
(69) Maire Payan says:

This article I am going to reference is not related to bipolar but it has to do with legalizing and medical use of weed. The article is located on the American Psychological Association’s website. It is not a journal article. The title is:Marijuana: Medicine or Menace? It’s a very good article and poses some very good questuions about marijuana use. I know I have a long history of using weed and other drugs to augment moods or self-medicate. I found the article to be a very good read.

July 29, 2010 at 7:22 pm
(70) samantha says:

I have had mental health issues since childhood. Serious depression, anger and irritability, reckless and impulsive behavior. When I’m completely sober, no drugs of any kind, I feel like I have intense PMS everyday. I cry and rage and spend money and want to have sex all the time, and have great difficulty focusing OR I might hyperfocus on one thing for a long time. When I first saw a psychiatrist I had not used drugs, well, just occasional drinking. I was prescribed an antidepressant, and for several years I was switched from one antidepressant or mood stablilizer or both to another to another. I started smoking pot for fun later in life. I quickly found that I like it a lot. Alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, pills, none of thsoe were ever my thing, but MJ has continued to be the one drug that I just really liked. My mental problems persisted and continue to worsen over the years as I tried out different prescription drugs for depression, anger, add, anxiety, and anti social tendencies. I have smoked chronically on and off for the past 10 years and often felt that it made me less social, lazy, like I was in a fog, anxious, paranoid, sometimes calm, sometimes manic. Nearly a year ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar II, ADD, and OCD. I take Lexapro, Lamictal and Adderall to help me focus (i’m a court reporter, and while I love my job, I do find it very difficult to sit still for long periods of time in depositions and while working on transcripts from home, so the Adderall helps immensely when I’m working — otherwise I don’t care for it or use it if I’m not working) Since taking these medications, I have felt more normal and more stable than I ever have in my entire life. I hate to say it, but, for now at least, I need these medications. The lexapro has helped a lot with depression with no side-effects, and I also feel a lot more social. The lamictal seems to help with mood swings, irritability, and anger. I also cry less and experience depression less since I started the lamictal. Having said all this, I still smoke MJ. It has its pros and cons. Firstly, when I start to go into a rage or start to act irrationally, mj calms me down and allows me to relax and put things into perspective. It also helps me eat because the Adderall really kills my appetite all day long. MJ also helps me with anxiety and feelings of stress and being overwhelmed. I often get so stressed out and worried that I become paralyzed and it’s like a weight that bears down on me and renders me incapable of being productive. So then I try to distract myself from these overwhelming feelings by doing anything and everything except for what I ought to be doing (such as getting work done). MJ helps alleviate that anxiety and worry. I smoke and then I am able to sit back and truly relax for awhile, then eventually I tell myself, well, time to get to work, and it’s like I feel rejuvenated and not so emotional. I have always been afflicted by intense emotions, and they often prevented me from leading a healthy and normal life on day-to-day basis. Lastly, MJ is an excellent pain killer and anti-nausea treatment and I don’t know about you, but on occasion I like to indulge, toke, and sit back and watch the Big Lebowski. Ahhh…. Now, on the other hand, I do tend to overdo it sometimes. I smoke when I shouldn’t or I’ll smoke too much. Then I become lazy and forgetfull, less focused, less productive, and my mind clearly isn’t as sharp as it is when I’m sober. It’s a double-edged sword to be sure. So now I’m trying to inhale smaller amounts when I smoke, and do so less frequently throughout the day so that I can relax, but not become TOO relaxed to the point where I can’t focus on my work. I also invested in a good vaporizer (magic box) so that I don’t actually have to smoke it. You don’t even use a lighter. It’s great. No bad taste, no smell. So essentially, I feel that I for one do have a tendency to want to overdo it, and I need to use it in small doses ( much like I also strive to exercise portion control when eating) and NOT use it when I need to have a clear head. For me, moderation is the key to using this medicinally. An excess of this drug, or smoking it too often, makes me feel lethargic, depressed, slow, and dumb.

August 2, 2010 at 3:21 pm
(71) Kevin Sheehan says:

I have smoked marijuana daily for over 40 years and had syptroms of bi polar disorder before I started. Prior to using marijuana used alcohol. My opinion is marijuana helps with the depressive cycle of bipolar disorder , at least for me.

August 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm
(72) Stacy says:

I was diagnosed with bipolar about 6 months ago. As a young child, i was extremely angry with everything. I would beat up my parent’s, brothers and sisters. I would mentally abuse my father and sister on a regular occasion. At 13 i found marijuana and i will say that during the time i used marijuana, i wouldn’t have dreamed of hurting any one. much the less, i would do anything to help another person relax or relieve their anger. I never raised my voice and i had a clear picture of who i was and where i was going with my life. At 17 i got pregnant from rape. I quit smoking weed and now at 21, have spent 4 years completely sober from marijuana. I can see all of my bat habits from childhood coming back. I will spend weeks in a low depression and i am very irritable and have regular mood swings. even when i am extremely happy, i am irritable and have mood swings daily. I am scared to try marijuana to medicate again even though i know that it will make my moods stable. (the way it had before) because i don’t want my daughter to be taken away. The real question they should ask is “which is worse in society, anger and suicide, or marijuana?” I haven’t heard of anyone getting hurt or dying from smoking weed. And obviously the doctors aren’t listening when we say IT HELPS!!

August 7, 2010 at 10:06 pm
(73) Starwanderer says:

My bipolar disorder started around 7th or 8th grade. My pot smoking didn’t start until after high school. I am suspicious of the study because the person doing the study has already leaning toward a conclusion before even beginning the study. That is not to say one does not start with a theory to prove or disprove, but it seems the person has limited himself to three possibiities as being the only possibilities.

Also, what type of marijuana is going to be used in the study? Marijuana with a high thc content and lower canibanoid content or with a higher canibanoid content and lower thc content. One of the issues I have with medical marijuana (or for that matter buying street drugs) is that there is a vast difference in content between various types and strains of the plant. I suspect the same research can be done but using two very different strains (with very different thc/cannibanoid combinations) and very different results might be reached.

I can say back before I was diagnosed, I used marijuana because it helped me sleep and relaxed me. The same as many bi polars use alcohol for. But a strong sativa with a high thc content would do just the opposite. It would crank me up and contribute to sleeplessness. I favored instead the strains with the higher cannibanoid content for couch lock and sweet slumber.

Once I was diagnosed and we found the right medications, I was not going to chance anything getting in the way of the proper medications that were working so out went the pot!

August 13, 2010 at 10:10 am
(74) Jill says:

I absolutely disagree with the statement that marijuana actually induces that onset of Bipolar disorder. I started showing signs of Bipolar at or around the age of 13…..5 years before I even TRIED marijuana. Our government is searching for ways to condemn Maurijuana use and they just cannot find the evidence they are looking for.

August 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm
(75) scootah says:

He appears to have a negative bias against marijuana to begin with, so it reall isn’t a scientific study at all. If it was he would at least add a 4th possibility; that many people with bipolar smoke marijuana simply because it helps them feel better…without having any causal relation to the illness. Like any medicine, it helps some people and does not work well for others. It is no different than psychiatric medications. I am bipolar and have taken many different meds…THEY ALL have side effects. Marijuana certainly is not any more dangerous than most psychiatric meds, probably less so. I am not anti-psychiatry by any means (I take Depakote and Seroquel), but I think that if marijuana or other options offer relief for some, then they should be able to use them.

September 10, 2010 at 3:12 pm
(76) jessi says:

I think if you are in 8th grade, and you are stoned daily you will most likely develop BP because the stage that your brain is still developing is very vulnerable. Lot of pot at that age = a lot of damage. If you started smoking pot after age 21 (the age your brain is fully developed) the use will most not likely cause BP. I think that age & usage amounts will be key factors in finding causation BP due to marijuana. I think finding a link in age to showing BP symptoms is important. Is it genetic, and your brain got to that age in it’s development, and went awry naturally genetic code was wrong from birth, or did pot use cause it to go awry?

September 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm
(77) scootah says:

Another critical issue is what STRAIN of marijuana are they going to use in the test. Indicas are more relaxing, good for both body tension and mental stress, insomnia, etc. Sativas are very stimulating, cerebral, can be almost hallucinogenic. If they give huge quantities of the wrong type of marijuana to mice, then sure, they will probably go nuts.

I hear few people discussing the different strains and how they affect different people. Marijuana is not all the same. There are Indicas, Sativas, and hybrids of the two, all with different applications for different people…and of course, with different dangers if not used appropriately. No different from any other medicine. Aspirin can easily become a deadly poison in overdose, yet it is fully legal and readily available at the corner store. From what I understand, there is not one death on record that can be directly attributed to the use of marijuana.

September 14, 2010 at 12:53 pm
(78) Shawn says:

I agree with the 4th speaking from a person with BP who has smoked weed for many years, HEAVILY!

I have a family history of BP. While minor signs of my BP were present through my teens and even my 20′s, my first and only pychotic episode was when smoking marijuna very heavily along with the sudden stop of Valium.

Even today, I will smoke to “calm my mind” but find it has that effect for the first week or so, that I smoke, but than when I get habitial with it, it actually has the reverse effect of compounding the feelings of depression and even physical aches and pains.

September 30, 2010 at 1:31 am
(79) sandy says:

i feel like it aids my manic and my depressive episodes but i don’t think it does. i makes me feel better for a while, and i smoke cigarettes and eventually have a beer and then i’m doing this all of the time, every night, because without it i feel like i can’t manage. but i think it creates cycling of moods and i’m not going to smoke pot anymore, i want to manage my disorder by keeping track of my ups and downs and i take an anti-anxiety. for now, because i’m on the lower end of the BP spectrup i think.

October 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm
(80) wife to bipolar says:

I believe 100 percent, that marijuana causes, yes causes bipolar disorder. My husband was only just diagnosed in 2009, but after reading all of the literature, I realize he has been bipolar as long as we’ve been married and even before that. Although mental illness runs in his family, the Strong use of marijuana, also has always been a reality. He was given his first joint @ the age of four(4). Yes, that’s right, 4 years old…. However, he was also given alcohol and tobacco (both smokeless & smokes), and I personally believe that All of those things can contribute to bipolar if given @ such a young age.

October 12, 2010 at 6:45 pm
(81) Amanda says:

I have been bipolar since I was ten. I started smoking marijuana when I was sixteen. The timeline refutes Dr. Hillard’s claim.

October 22, 2010 at 8:51 am
(82) Jackie says:

To: Randi from 4/27/2010 – What are you meds?

October 27, 2010 at 4:07 pm
(83) mark says:

I am very disappointed with the “objectivity” of this researcher. Has she even considered that people with BP find relief from their symptoms from Marijuana? I have BP II and have consistently found that when I have deep depression, the thing that works the best is MJ. Everytime I have ever used it (when extremely fatigued from depression) it has snapped me out of it, or at least greatly reduced the symptoms and put me in a much better mood. I just FEEL better. My meds don’t do that, and they don’t prevent the great fatigue from happening in the first place. I liken it to aspirin; you have a headache, you take an aspirin, the headache goes away. For me, MJ does the exact same thing. I am so tired of researchers like this refusing to recognize this. I never took anything other than MJ and I drink very little. BP runs in my family; I did not get it from drugs. I hope she reads this and learns FROM US ( or at least from me) that MJ helps some people.

October 30, 2010 at 6:06 pm
(84) Marenii says:

This study is absolutely biased. There are SO many variables not being considered. My husband was Bi-polar I and needed Marijuana. He could be a real bastard when he didn’t have any smoke for a while. He would say “It’s time to get my head right”. It calmed him down when he would manic. He would build me all kinds of things out of wood when high. He was genius when it came to building things and the marijuana would slow his thoughts down so he could get things done. Myself, I would smoke every so often after the kids were in bed, if I had a really bad day. It would help me relax and get a good nights sleep. I can go without sleep for days. I can’t take SSRI’s because I can get violent on them. My anger gets worse. My sister on the other hand needs her Prozac. Without it she’s an emotional mess. Marijuana is just like other medications- what is right for some, may not be right for others. Also agree with the posts of different kinds of weed. Some kinds I would get hyper (in a good way) and others would just make me hungry. For me, skunkier is better.

November 2, 2010 at 12:38 am
(85) Cindy F. says:

They should be researching better ways to diagnose or treat bpd. Weed is just a hot topic right now especially what with Prop 19 going on in California right now. Everyone already knows that some people w bpd use medicinal marijuana. Big woop.

I started therapy when I was 17 in hs, tried cannabis at 19 (2nd yr college), was diagnosed correctly for bpd when I was 21 (after I dropped out and came home) and I’m 24 now (community college- still at home).

November 12, 2010 at 11:00 pm
(86) michelle says:

I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder 3 years before trying marijuana, it calms my mania, and lessens my depression. Lets legalize it!

December 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm
(87) nick burke says:

i started smoking marijuana in my juinior year of high school, when i was 16. i was the first kid in my group of friends to try it and really enjoyed how it made me feel. the next year i graduated and was smoking every day, trying to move out of my parents house, get a better paying job and partying almost everynight without much sleep, thats when i went manic for the first time. i wasnt home very often so my mom had no idea what was going on and i didnt either. i ended up being hospitalized for 2 weeks. originally they diagnosed me with bipolar disorder and then decided to drop that diagnosis and came up with drug induced sychosis. i was kinda scared to even get close to pot for quite awhile after that. about six monthes later i decided to move to san diego with my sister. she found me a room and i hopped around a couple jobs until my roommate offered me a job in his hydroponics shop. it didnt take long for me to get into my old routine but this time the marijuana was free! so i usually smoked when i started coming down from a high. after six monthes of living in san diego i found myself hospitalized again and this time i was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. i moved in with my dad which is where im now, im 19 now and havnt smoked since then, every docter i talked to say to me “marijuana is not my friend”. theres so many other possibilities for me going manic but for now im trying my best to stay away from pot. its been 8 monthes with no episodes and iv been off my mood stabilizers for 4 monthes

December 14, 2010 at 4:45 pm
(88) stephanie says:

i find it difficult to imagine my life without marijuana in it. i’m 22, female, and have been bipolar type 1 since age 17. that was also the same year i first tried mary jane. i smoked regularly for several months until an onset of severe depression upset my head and smoking seemed to make my problems more apparent. i stopped smoking and didn’t smoke for more than several months straight ever again, always with intermittent breaks where i couldn’t do it frequently, or at all, anymore. but now i smoke every single day again, and have for nearly a year. when i have an episode and have not smoked, i see an extreme change in my behaviors, personality, and mental capacities. sometimes i will be incredibly upset, as if there is some brooding feeling underneath the surface of who i am somewhere, just waiting to break through in all of its power and glory and absolutely kill me or someone else. i am afraid that there is always something “on the ready” inside of me, almost like a red button for a nuclear weapon. i would never anyone else no matter how out of control my bipolarity feels, because i know that it’s not me and it’s not their fault. however, as soon as i smoke, all of that just evaporates. the insane chaos inside of my head is quieted to a purring cat. it’s like i can breathe and assess my life in a logical way, without any emotional hindrances in the way. it almost feels like the “default” of who i am. like when i smoke, i can be the natural me, without torrential feelings and thoughts that, because they may be very deep, i do not have the mental capacity to understand myself, and i certainly can’t take anyone else there with me just because of a description. i don’t feel alone at all when i smoke. i feel like i’ve been given myself back, if only for a little while.

February 4, 2011 at 5:48 am
(89) mia says:

I know exactly what you mean. Just so you know. <3

April 6, 2011 at 1:40 am
(90) Peter Keegan says:

I’m with you and Mia: I know EXACTLY what you mean. I love the ways you describe it. I’ve felt like that since I was 11, though I haven’t had the words for it, and I probably never fully will. It’s too much to actually handle; too much to describe. But when I smoke, I calm down, and I’m me. I’m comfortable. I become much less impulsive, much less rude, sleepier, happier, and I can actually function the way I want to. I don’t care if it’s supposed to only last a few hours, either–when I smoke before bed, each day is better (more even) than the last. I went to a psychiatrist and he took me off the weed, and I’ve been doing worse; I think I’m going to switch doctors.

December 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm
(91) Jason says:

Studies just love to bash marijuana for everything, in this case the researcher points out the other possibilities before even conducting the study. Great.

In any case I’m writing this comment to leave an anecdote. I have bipolar disorder and am a long time marijuana user. I have found, with a very high degree of reliability, that using marijuana suppresses the tendency towards the manic state, and increases the tendency towards a depressive state.

For example, after smoking every day for a long time I will become depressed. If I stop smoking, I will certainly become manic in the days / weeks immediately following. If I then smoke again, my manic symptoms go away (but will come back later a day or two, if I continue not to smoke).

In the end my life has become a delicate balancing act; smoking marijuana to avoid “raging” at my partner and quitting it when I notice I am becoming depressed and ignoring my life goals.

It would be nice if marijuana got more acceptance as a treatment for bipolar although I concede that perhaps this “treatment” is not consistent between all people that have bipolar. Anyway if you are having problems with your manic state then I suggest keeping a little weed around ;)

December 27, 2010 at 1:28 pm
(92) Sam says:

I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
I had previously consumed massive amounts of Cannabis.
However, it is my belief that this has been the correct diagnosis for years. In the depths of the depression I have as a result of the disorder I feel that Marijuana has the potential to lift me up, quell mania, and show me that I can be happy and there is something to live for. I would gladly participate in this study.

December 28, 2010 at 6:53 am
(93) wildcomputerwife says:

… anything can change moods … good or bad … when I spoked Marijuana … dampened the mania … I wanted to eat anything in site … crashed depressed … I couldn’t rely on Marijuana not evening out mania … not diagnoised … until age 34 … cocaine … wow … what a go drug … then you had all the drugs in between … none of them favorites to bipolar … alcohol free free since 1987 … just can’t keep away from the Rx pain killers … for no more than three days … they are my place to be … are they no different then Marijuana? we all have our drug of choice … food, alcohol, pot, pills, sex … so are we escaping when we take our meds? or are we escaping when use other means to self medicate ourselves? Which are really helping us? Both have side effects … who are really trying to convince?

December 28, 2010 at 8:15 am
(94) Charles says:

I, and I suspect many others, smoke marijuana to relax when nothing else helps. It may not be legal yet, but Dr’s are unwilling to prescribe other means of fighting the mania such as valium. klonopin doesn’t work for me. Marijuana is the only option left. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why many of us use downers, but apparently MOST Dr’s are consideralby below that common sense approach. Until people really want to understand mental illness, we will be forced to self medicate, and then suffer the stigma of doing so.

December 28, 2010 at 10:39 am
(95) Anniem says:

Did you know that more than one president ordered studies done of marijuana? In the case of Nixon, when he learned that the extensive study that he ordered had results showing that the weed is far less dangerous than alcohol, and has many benefits, and it was actually recommended to have it legalized…well, Nixon had all traces of this study destroyed. Then, he went on the rampage against this “drug”, and started the DEA. I am disturbed by the presumption of this upcoming study that marijuana is bad. I myself have been on a whole list of drugs for bipolar through the years. They all had terrible, irrevocable side effects. I finally stopped taking them. Now, when I’m too hyper, or can’t sleep, I’ll smoke a little. Problem solved. No side effects. Sounds a lot better to me!

December 28, 2010 at 11:12 am
(96) babs says:

Many disorders have been jumpstarted by marijuana. A friend’s son had full blown schizophrenia from smoking marijuana. After the pot was out of his system, so lessed the symptoms of schizophernia. This is because pot today is extremely high in THC. My friends son is better but he still has a mental illness. I have another friend that witnessed 9/11 and it jumpstarted her MS. The doc said she would have gotten MS without the stress of 9/11. Two years before I had my first major hospitalization of BiPolar disorder, I did not drink or smoke pot. Before that, I only smoked pot twice and noithing happened. I haven’t smoked it since. Many chemicals or situations can jump start a mental illness. But the brain chemistry does not lie. You still have a mental illness. Hilliard must have some kind of hidden agenda.

December 28, 2010 at 11:21 am
(97) Cody Spencer says:

Marijuana is used by some to slow manic episodes, inducing a state of relative calm, and enabling the user to control wild impulses. This is a medical use, just as marijuana is used to control nausea in chemo patients, and to relieve symptoms in AIDS patients. The article is noticeably missing this element in the marijuana arena.

December 28, 2010 at 12:17 pm
(98) cullen says:

I have been diagnosed with BP. My BP symptoms manifested early in life, in my teens, and I did start not smoking MJ until my 30′s. I found particular some strains of Marijuana to be much more therapeutic than others . for instance, the indica strains were the most helpful in invoking relaxation. the sativa strains just kinda make you dazed and confused which i found to be unpleasant.

hashish, manufactured via cold water extraction using an indica to begin with is nothing short of a miracle.

i believe there is a grreat deal of pharmacutical benefit to MJ and BP…..I am on Serequel now and am running the risk of
diabetes, profuond weight gain and vision impairment. I am not smoking at this time.

I believe that big pharma continuously runs negative ads against MJ and it is continuously maligned in the media.

I wish for the truth to come out. The only reason, if you know your history, MJ is illegal in the first place is because it competes with polyester and scores of big pharma drugs.

See what Dr Andrew Weil says about MJ for more in depth information. We are being lied to.

December 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm
(99) liz says:

I am a 40 yr old woman who started who started using marijuana 4 yrs ago*. diagnosed
Bi-polar type 2 two years ago. it helps me to focus and also calms me better than any benzo. I think this study isa pile of horse poop.

December 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm
(100) cowboybob says:

Pot use != Biploar

And to suggest otherwise is bunk.

Self-medicating came after I developed mental illness NOT before.

December 28, 2010 at 4:05 pm
(101) Sherri says:

The symptoms of Bipolar disorder were there and misdiagnosed well before I started using marijuana. When I started smoking pot (don’t feel like spelling out marijuana every time I use the word) most of my symptoms disappeared. I stopped smoking it when I became pregnant with my daughter and while I nursed her….talk about POST-partum insanity. After I stopped smoking pot all of my bipolar symptoms came back with a vengance, and I wasn’t diagnosed correctly for 18 years. This chick at the U of W doesn’t have a clue. I live in Wisconsin (she scares me). Wisconsin just passed the Medical Marijuana referendum, I’m afraid that people like her are getting money from the state to fund studies like hers to put the KABASH on the referendum; which by the way won by a landslide.

December 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm
(102) Bronwyn says:

The strain that is used is important. Here’s some info on the differences in the strains.

The Sativa High :
The sativa high is often characterized as uplifting and energetic . The effects of a sativa marijuana are mostly cerebral. They give a feeling of optimism and well – being, as well as providing a good measure of pain relief for certain symptoms. A few pure sativas are also very high in THC content. They are known to have a quite spacey, or hallucinogenic, effect. Sativas are a good choice for daytime smoking.

The Indica High :
The indica highs are most often described as a pleasant body buzz. Indicas are great for relaxation, stress relief, and for an overall sense of calm and serenity. Marijuana indicas are also very effective for overall body pain relief, and often used in the treatment of insomnia. They are the late – evening choice of many smokers as an all – night sleep aid. A few pure indica strains are very potent in THC, and will cause the “couchlock” effect, enabling the smoker to simply sit still and enjoy the experience of the smoke.

I prefer Indica MJ because I tend to be manic more than depressed. It slows me down and allows me to focus. I have smoked Sativa while manic and it put me immediately into a manic state and I cleaned house for a full 24 hours (this was before diagnosis with BP 1). Great way to get the house cleaned but very destructive for the body and mind.

I have smoked on and off for 37 years. Now that I know Indica is better and consistently smoke only that variety, it is truly a help. It helps especially when life throws really horrible things at you. Now instead of flipping out at those horrible life events, it helps me through the everyday anxiety, and helps me to accept that some things just can’t be changed and just have to be dealt with and lived through in a mature manner. I also use a vaporizor to minimize lung irritation.

December 28, 2010 at 8:47 pm
(103) Jim says:

Like most people who posted, I smoked pot as a teenager, many years before my bipolar diagnosis, which didn’t come until I was 48. However, while being treated for depression for many years, I know I was exhibiting manic behaviour that was not being treated. Between the manic episodes, and my combined OCD, the mere thought of using drugs to self-medicate rather than seeking proper professional advice makes sense. Just like the alcoholic who seeks to ease his pain in a bottle, or the person who relies on caffiene to live on 3 hours of sleep a night. It’s a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”. I agree with many other posters, that the study is over-simplified, and that self-medication as a fourth option needs to be explored.

December 29, 2010 at 7:18 pm
(104) Megan says:

It’s ridiculous that anyone on this site would say that smoking weed a few times would contribute to their mental disorder. You’re obviously just looking for someone or something to take the wrap of why you feel like you feel.
I have been “off” my whole life. I remember even as a young child being down on myself and having no energy to play. I was exposed to pot at 14 by sibling. I smoked on and off until I met my now husband at 18. I have been smoking almost continuously since then ( I am now 28) Though I have taken a few breaks and not smoked for 3 months to a year.
If I didn’t smoke I don’t know how I would get relief from my mood disorder. Truly. I am a severe case, I feel. I have several mood swings a day and they come on like wild fire. I have certain triggers that will send me into a blind rage or a crying fit, out of nowhere although 2 seconds ago I was laughing. I have never been seriously medicated for bipolar disorder or depression, though I have been diagnosed.
Smoking pot helps me to be happy and calm when other wise I’d be flying off the handle. I can sit down with my kids and play and laugh instead of being set off by the noise they are causing. (Noise-huge trigger for me)
People around me would be miserable if I didn’t have some release.
It is hard and my heart goes out to people suffering with mood disorders. No one can fully get it if they don’t have it. Seriously. I beg God to make me “normal” everyday. Just to have a normal thought process…that would be so wonderful.

January 9, 2011 at 10:12 pm
(105) AKA says:

I was diagnosed at 14 yrs old with BP. My hypomania was off the charts for 20 years…that was until I met marijuana. Now, I had been offered in the past but never had any desire to partake. I WAS an alcoholic though, oddly enough. Tangent aside, At age 33 I tried it, seriously! I was amazed at the “good place” it put me in. My negativity disappeared, my patience grew. I was finally able to slow down and focus. REALLY!! I am kicking ass at a job that I have held down now for the longest time in my life! And for the first time EVER, I dont hate myself. I was in such a better position that I decided to get in better shape, and ended up dropping 37lbs! (thats right folks! No “munchies”) I have been on OVER 16 different types of FDA approved medications for depression and bipolar disorder. None of them worked, all of them had HORRID side effects. They cost me hundreds of dollars a month, along with psych visits to get the rx. Now, I spend a little under 200 a month and smoke a small amount in the morning and in the late afternoon. No panic attacks, no hospitalizations. I still get down, but never to the point of wanting to drink again or kill myself. I wish I could openly support the legalization of this without feeling my life was on the line.

January 10, 2011 at 3:24 pm
(106) Jcumberland says:

I am diagnosed bipolar and sever depression mainstream antidepressant do not work for me I have used marijuana befoe I was diagnosed and I find it is the only. Thing that keeps me level mainstream drugs have no effect on me it jut made it worse so now I am in the process of getting a liscence to obtain and grow for medical purposes the phamasutical company’s do not want to legalize marijuana because they know it is a better solution then mainstream drugs marijuana has a better effect then any pharmacy drug I have ever used if I am sick I smoke a joint I feel better so maybe marijuana might not be for everyone but for certain people it’s a god send and helps them deal with everyday problems without blowing a gasket

February 2, 2011 at 8:04 am
(107) mitchell says:

I know from personal experience that my BP came way before my pot use. It really helps depression so self medicating when Im down really brings up my outlook on life and allows me to function (almost) like a normal person. If that researcher honestly thinks the 2nd answer is most likely he’s got to be really dumb and bias. You know he’s probably just saying what people want to hear, especially ones paying for his study.

February 3, 2011 at 12:35 am
(108) Lucille says:

I have a 26 year old son wit bipolar. It’s been a long hard 10 years. he’s been on most of the meds, in hospitals and we’ve basically given up on the medical/pharmaceutical community. He self medicates with marijuana. Access is a problem because medical marijuana is illegal here. therefore so is consistent stability… but it does seem to ease his pain.
As a doctor, Dr Lester Grinspoon was the first American physician to prescribe lithium carbonate for bipolar disorder.


February 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm
(109) cal says:

Im 24. I just did 4 years in the navy. I had always have had long cycles of manic and depression, but about 5 months ago I started smoking weed almost every day in large amounts. Since then I’ve had very rapid cycling. Almost every couple or days weeks I switch. I turn into a monster for a couple hours and dont figure it out untill its over. About 2 weeks ago I stopped smoking and these have stopped and Its back to how it was befor. Hope this is of some help.

February 14, 2011 at 5:00 am
(110) Aaron says:

I smoked pot heavily during my 20′s and was diagnosed with bi-polar at 32.
However looking back I realised that I’ve had bi-polar symptoms since i was 10-11.

I think I gravitated towards pot because It was a way to relax my mind. I felt like my mind was actually useful when I smoked because I could focus on what I chose.

Sometimes the next day after ive smoked I literally feel like ive had a holiday from my over active mind.

February 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm
(111) Alex says:

Started smoking pot at 16. Started smoking it heavily at 18. I never had any symptoms of bipolar disorder until I was 20 when I was smoking very heavily at the time. I think the study could be a long shot, but it’s worth investigating. I loved pot, but weed’s not as harmless as people think it is. There’s a correlation between teen use and risk of schizophrenia. There have been 30 studies over 20 years that give conclusive evidence that between 8-13% of people who have schizophrenia have it because of their cannabis use.

February 20, 2011 at 12:36 am
(112) Allison says:

I’ve experienced symptoms of bp since I was about 11 or 12 years old. I tried mj at age 15, stopped by 17 diagnosed with bp at 19 and now I have started smoking again. After being on dozens of medications that make me feel slow, heavy, and drowsy (most bp medications aren’t designed for people my size…I’m very petite) I have found that mj helps me in pretty much every aspect of my disorder. I have been an alcoholic for a while and it ended up getting me in trouble with the law multiple times (MIP, DWI/DUI), and academically (I was put on academic probation for poor grades) alcohol only has increased my mania and I have had to deal with the consequences of it now (I’m almost 22). Since I’ve started smoking again I haven’t gotten in any trouble, my grades have improved, and my mania is slowed down (I can have a reasonable conversation with people meaning they can understand me and I don’t get confrontational and mean), while in my depressive states I have found that mj helps me get out of bed, eat, and go to work and school. I smoke everyday to help slow down my emotions that vary from day to day ( I have rapid-cycling bp which makes it even harder to gauge what the day may be like).

The unfortunate thing is that the only law-breaking I have done since quitting drinking is the thing that improves my daily living by infinite amounts; mj is still completely illegal and probably always will be in UT.

February 20, 2011 at 1:41 am
(113) James says:

UM, what about people with BiPolar seek relief from Marijuana??

March 2, 2011 at 8:02 pm
(114) Dan M. says:

I was recently diagnosed Bipolar 1, with some other undiagnosed eating and OCD issues. I used to self medicate with marijuana for 10 years to help with racing thoughts, anxiety, and definitely for insomnia.

So let’s back up and realize that marijuana did not trigger my BP. I inherited that from my Dad, and my Mom has mental health issues as well. I grew up in an abusive household with an alcoholic Mom, until she was forced to sober up. So I found by recreational use at 15 it calmed me down mentally.

The “Demon Weed” has less side effects than Ambien and Lunesta that’s for darn sure.

March 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm
(115) crazyinmt says:

I was diagnosed Bipolar 1 & 2 (mixed) with rapid cycling, anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, sleeping disorder and PTSD at 45 years old. My daughter was diagnosed with same, at the same time although she has had psychotic ‘episodes’ (visual and auditory hallucinations)(schizophrenia?? we don’t know yet).
Recently we have both tried weed to see if that would alleviate anxiety the mania and help with sleep.
For me it relaxes my body but not so much my mind. I can take 2 or three hits and be melted into the couch, but then am analyzing everything from the lines on the ceiling right down to my fingernails. LOL. I do have to add tho, it is all in slow motion… Not sure if that is good or bad yet. Obviously if I’m doing all that, I’m not sleeping! But, I’m also not wiggin out.
My daughter, on the other hand, has to be careful when she smokes it. If she is manic or in a rage smoking only makes it worse and she hallucinates horribly. If she is semi-calm already it keeps her that way. But there is no way of knowing once you are high when those moods will change. (she can feel when a mood change is coming on normally) So, if high, and her mood changes the outcome is not a very good one.
So, I guess I’d have to say that I’m still not sure if weed is the way to go. I do know that Doctors are either ALL FOR IT (discreetly) or totally against it and have every reason in the book for you to NOT smoke or eat it.
But, I have not seen or heard of anyone going balistic and killing themselves or anyone else when high.
So, that being said, with all those meds out there that we have tried and tried and have failed us (and have horrible side effects)….weed, used cautiously (until you know how it effects you)in my opinion can be a good thing…No matter what my doctor says. :) (hmmm, I think i have the munchies)

March 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm
(116) Judge says:

People with bipolar disorder seek out marijuana because it helps with both the anxiety of the ups and the depression of the downs. I suspect the doctor conducting this study could never understand.

March 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm
(117) clean as a whistle says:

BP’s smoke tobacco more than the general population. I guess cigarettes cause BP? As far as I am concerned, Depakote and Ability should be considered recreational drugs. Marijuana is definitely a psychosis inducing drug. Being a mixed-state rapid-cycle where “normalcy” is the exception and not the rule, I guess I might suggest that lithium induces psychosis. It and lamictal definitely make me “high.” I haven’t smoked in decades, but if you can tolerate being stoned out of your mind, then you might find some mixed-state manias extremely amusing.

If it works for you, party on. Me? I’m sticking to the lithium/lamictal “high.” Psychiatry doesn’t get it. They all have their own secret agendas and rarely have good science to back up their opinions. Good luck!

March 15, 2011 at 11:06 am
(118) Linda says:

I smoked pot before and after being diagnosed as BPI. I like the calming effect, I think it’s self medicating!

March 15, 2011 at 11:42 am
(119) Dan says:

I never smoked marijuana before being diagnosed as schizoaffective. Being hospitalized on monthly basis for this disorder over the past 15 years I started smoking marijuana and have NOT been hospitalized once since then. Maybe your study should focus on that there might be benefits for some people. My “renowned psychologist” and physiatrist have documented the medical benefits of marijuana has on me.

March 18, 2011 at 6:55 am
(120) Troyat says:

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to say after more than 3 decades of smoking dope I’ve finally given it up and I feel so much better.
I started drinking and smoking when I was 12 yrs old, and I have no doubt in my mind that I was self-medicating. I was only diagnosed with bipolar in my 40′s but I don’t believe my smoking was the cause, the smoking was a symptom. I always had a very high tolerance compared to others and always wanted more. I used it to enhance my mania. Of course abusing any substance decreases it’s effect, and at the risk of talking drug talk, nothing compares to the natural stuff from the 70′s and 80′s. I eventually figured out that what is around these days only makes me tired and I’m on enough medication already to do that. I found myself being very irritable when I ran out and decided it wasn’t doing anything for me anyway. It takes about 3 months for it to be cleared from your liver and I have to say I’ve noticed an incredible difference in my energy level, my motivation and not to mention a hell of a lot less paranoia. I put most of my anxiety down to bipolar, but now I can see.
The stuff that’s around these days is downright counter-effective and causes more problems than is worth the initial relief. Honestly, don’t bother, you’ll just end up with another problem to deal with. Smoking dope did not cause my bipolar, it masked the symptoms for many years, but in the end it made everything worse. Just like with alcohol, we have to accept that things effect us differently, so best to avoid any mood altering substances altogether.
I would never believe I’d come to this point of saying this, but I’m speaking the truth. Give it up and see what happens !

March 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm
(121) Allison says:

I have ben diagnosed with depression and ADD since I was ten years old. I have also been a self mutilator since I was eleven and have attempted suicide four times, two of which resulted in hospitalization. From about age 15 to 25 I smoked pot quite regularly. I always had severe mood swings after I came down and my therapist would strongly recommend against my using pot. My cutting and extreme paranioa was much worse after I started smoking. I also got sudden burst of euphoria out of no where that could last hours or days. I never put two and two together for quite some time.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder ar age 25. My psychiatrist is pretty sure the depression/ADD diagnosis was incorrect and I should have gotten the bipolar diagnosis a long time ago.

I think from my experiences that since bipolar disorder is genetic I was certianly predispositioned to it. But it got worse with the use of pot it got a lot worse. The periods of time that I did not smoke it was a bit easier to be stable (although I still had issues either way.)

I am properly medicated now and have not smoked any pot since starting medication. If I go off the meds for a few days i it becomes very problematic.

March 25, 2011 at 1:02 am
(122) Nick says:

I’d say people predisposed to BP or already suffering seek to self medicate with pot (or alcohol, or whatever) and those substances unwittingly further serve to destabilize the individual. At least that’s what happened with me.

March 28, 2011 at 4:05 am
(123) Mordecai says:

I’m extremely skeptical of the hypothesis that is being examined. The hypothetical proposition being made is too simple and quite linear. There are multitudinous factors that could be causes for bipolar, yet marijuana is the only factor being tested. It also seems that the experimentation could not possibly bring conclusive evidence. Bipolar Disorder is complex in its biological nature, so it seems that experimenting with lab rats is irrational considering the anatomical makeup of a rat is quite simple compared to a human.

I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder but only began using marijuana after the diagnosis. I have found that the various medications prescribed to me by my psychiatrist have had little positive effects compared to cannabis and the side effects of my prescriptions are more detrimental than the side effects of marijuana.

March 31, 2011 at 10:48 am
(124) Rachael says:

Everything that I have read said that Marijuana helps in the treatment of bipolar disorder, but could cause schizophrenia to get worse. Bipolar disorder can be caused by or can cause a lack of dopamines in your brain. Marijuana releases more dopamines, helping with the disorder. Schizophrenia is too many dopamines in the brain, thus, marijuana would not help with that. However, Marijuana does not seem to cause bipolar disorder.

April 6, 2011 at 12:53 am
(125) Peter Keegan says:

I’ve been bipolar since I was 11, my psychiatrist says, though I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 19. I started smoking when I was 17, and used it to help manage my symptoms, if you can believe it.

April 7, 2011 at 1:02 am
(126) Anne says:

Before the doctor say me I was bipolar I had serious problems because of illness, i had problems with police because i told offensive things for one cop (i was out of control because of humour variations) and once I said to the woman I loved that I would kill myself if she doesnt love me. I broked things (I never beat on her but I was very rude, telling offensive things). I dont think marijuana help so much the whole treatment because I am happy just the moent I use it (before I never was happy). But I am sure it is not bad because the serious problems I had before marijuana or when I have been 6 months without smoking.

Sorry, I live in Latin America, my English is not good.

April 11, 2011 at 10:14 am
(127) Gendznshmaltsish says:

Meaningless, all of it. If you are bipolar, like someone who is certainly in no way me or anyone like me in any way or anyone like my father in any way, who cares? If you stay out of trouble and feel better you are better. Debate all you like with your stories and lovely tales, BP will kill you, or more accurately, BP will kill yourself. Someone who is miserable with BP will do anything to relieve it. ANYTHING. Legal, illegal, studied, real, imagined, who cares. This is nonsense. Tell me MAO inhibitors are safe. Tell me cyanide is safe. Tell me SHOTGUNS are safe. All legal. All effective in some way at treating BP.

April 12, 2011 at 9:35 am
(128) Scott says:

I am 50 yrs old and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 38. I have been on many different types of medications that not only didn’t work well, but the side effects were included light sustained nausea and low grade sustained headaches. These meds were also harmful to my organs. Liver function tests were required. Looking back I can say with certainty that my biplor condition started in my mid 20′s after a major event in the military. Mental illness runs in my family…..I had a brother who was paranoid schizophrenic and eventually killed himself, and 2 sisters who are bipolar. I have 2 ‘normal’ siblings. My father suffers from depression. The most effective treatment for me has been marijuana. It calms my manic phase immediately and raises me out of my depression. For me, it is a wonder drug. There is no nausea, no headache, no insomnia (I still take my trazodone at bedtime). I take one small puff in the morning, one again in the afternoon, and once again in the evening. There is not one study that is going to convince me that marijuana doesn’t help my illness…..I KNOW that it does.

April 12, 2011 at 10:39 am
(129) Mickey says:

I think untainted marijuana helps relive depression, and this is recognized by the Mayo Clinic on their website.

Early in life I drank heavily and found myself depressed a lot. At the brink of suicide, a friend suggested marijuana and it helped tremendously. After quitting alcohol, I find stress and negative thinking to be the source of my depression. Though I refrain from marijuana right now, there is some lack of focus and some depression…..again, mostly attributable to negative thinking. I was diagnosed with Bipolar many years ago, but stopped taking meds entirely a year and a half ago. I do not consider myself to be a violent person by any means.

In no way am I trying to dissuade anyone from stopping their current meds, or to start smoking/eating marijuana. Only trying to point out what has and more importantly, what has not worked for me. Alcohol is a depressant – why does this not appear on a warning label? Moderation is the key to every thing we put in our bodies too.

April 20, 2011 at 8:53 pm
(130) Joël says:

I am bipolar type I and my first manic state was before my use of cannabis.
Cannabis indica (like the Northern light strain) contain more CBN than cannabis sativa and is used to calm manic states. CBN is acting like a neuroleptic and lower the effect of THC.

Cannabis sativa is used in depressed states to higher the mood.

It does work good for me.


April 21, 2011 at 7:19 am
(131) John says:

This is non sense. I have had all kinds
of mental illness undiagnosed since
I was a kid. It wasn’t until pot that I
started to feel better. That is until the
Five events that gave me PTSD. THEN had
bipolar. I want to know the link
between PTSD and bipolar myself

June 1, 2011 at 5:55 am
(132) Matthew says:

I first used marijuana about 9yrs before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But I used meth and alcohol too. I do smoke. But recently I abused the psychiatric medication for it, and in the end it didn’t matter what pill it was I just took all of it at once. So now the worst I do is smoke weed like an alcoholic drinks everyday except I can choose when I want to smoke and be okay with that. Once in a while I have a beer or two. However I tend to want a xanax or simular. But I know when the balance is shifting by recognizing my symptoms. I believe this, if I didn’t smoke weed I could do worst. But I know, like prescription pills, I will quit someday only marijuana will be easier than pills. Thanks for reading.

June 1, 2011 at 8:14 pm
(133) Sharon says:

I was told I was bipolar shortly after starting my period when I was 11. I had never smoked marijuana and neither had my parents, so I am not sure I agree with the direction of the study. However, a study of the use of marijuana for people who the traditional medications do not work is definately needed.
When I did finally try marijuana, I found that it help like no other medication had and continues to, although I don’t think its a cure all.

June 26, 2011 at 10:36 am
(134) Jenn Mondello says:

Looking back, Ive been bipolar since I was a kid, but didn’t get properly diagnosed until 2 years ago. While there aren’t studies out there, I can say since I’ve been smoking weed and finally able to keep relationships and jobs. I was bipolar WAY before I picked it up, and my life has been smoother since. I’ve had family members who were naturally concerned about my “drug” use, and when I’ve quit for them, BAM- the craziness comes back. I can’t wait for the day my medicine is considered viable by the AMA so I can start trusting doctors again.

July 25, 2011 at 9:15 am
(135) Epsilon3G says:

I was diagnosed with bipolar/Panic/anxiety ect when i was 10 I was one of the kids who went through the system.I have been on Zyprexia,Depakote,Zoloft,paxil,wellbutrian,buspurone and a few more actaully and they made me sick, I took them long term and when i quit those drugs i had serious withdrawl even though the doctor said they were non habit forming.I have been smoking marijuana for 12 years and i couldent stop from the first day and im 25 now.When i found weed i found relif from my symptoms but i also found an empty wallet which is the problem I know it helps me and ive seen studies and brain scans stating that weed affects the brain of a bipolar very differently,A normal person who smokes will show signs of bipolar in a scan but a biopolar who smokes before a scan shows that his or her brain looks like the healthy controls brain correct me if im wrong please.Im in a constant battle with affording weed to make the pain go away I wish the gov would legalize use for bps so my insurance would pay for it

August 31, 2011 at 1:09 am
(136) jake says:

I started smoking weed on occasion when i was 15. when i was 14, i had a very awful break up with a girlfriend, which sounds stupid because i was so young, but believe me, i was dealing with a very adult type situation at the time. That had sent me into being depressed. It went away, and (seemly, to me) completely unrelated i started smoking marijuana. By the time i had turned 16 i was smoking daily. Depression would sometimes take over, but when i smoked it always made me feel better. long story short: my ex demanded i stop smoking weed, even though i told her that was what kept me evened out, and it was manageable for about 4 months, and then my emotions went whack. I started getting extremely depressed, angry, happy, rapidcycling if you will, and then she broke up with me. as soon as the normal amount of depression subsided, i started smoking weed again, and ever since i have been great. i have gotten 2 new jobs, one of which is my dream job for the time being, im going to school, and have a band. The only complaint i have now is when i havent smoked for longer than say anywhere from 3 hours-8 hours, i begin to get anxious and slight, very easily managable feelings. so for me, marijuana has taken the place of lamictal. Unfortunately, i could see this blowing up in my face in a few years, and weed will quit working all together as my brain chemistry changes with my age. (i am 20)

September 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm
(137) Kyra says:

Excuse me?

According the article, these are the possible explanations for Marijuana use in those with Bipolar – (1) that bipolar disorder brings on cannabis use; (2) marijuana use precedes the disorder and brings it on; or (3) an “X” factor causes both bipolar disorder and marijuana use

Why isn’t the possibility that Marijuana may be helpful in stabilizing mood swings being discussed?

September 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm
(138) brad p says:

the pharma companies dont want weed legalized because they will lose millions thats why there isn’t a study on bi-polar and weed actually being helpful. the timber companies also pay alot to keep weed illegal. unless you can get up a shit ton of money to pay large campaign contributions marijuana will stay illegal, to some going along with marijuana is political suicide.

September 6, 2011 at 1:53 am
(139) james says:

I have been using a volcano vaperizer and using sativas for the “lows’ and indicas to chill out the “highs” … been working good for me for awhile… bigest problem is getting the weed. I realize that weed may not work for everyone but it has been a God send for me.

September 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm
(140) brad p says:

i have been smoking since i was 14 and was diagnosed with bi-polar at age 22. after years of trying to get meds stabilized i finally took my prescription to my doctor and gave him the whole bottle telling him i would self medicate instead. since i was diagnosed in nov 2003 i have had plenty of time to think about my life before and after drug use. i wasn’t diagnosed but believe i have been bi-polar my whole life just in childhood i don’t think the depression side shows up as much as the mania and kids get diagnosed as adhd or add when they are actually in a state of mania. i have taken damn near every bi-polar medication they have short of lithium(which i wont take they will have to force that shit in me.) the medications all knock me out like mike tyson in the 80′s. i took a horse tranquilizer in high school and it didn’t even knock me out but i took a half of the lowest dosage of any mental meds and literally fell asleep walking. if your rich you might be able to handle falling asleep like that but i’m poor and employers don’t put up with that to long. i have lost more than a few jobs because of bi-polar.

The best thing i have found for my disease is marijuana. it is the only thing that when i get in that “fuck it, blow the world up”(mania) mood it brings me back into a controllable place or on the other hand when i’m in that “blow my head off mood”(depressive) it brings me back up and sometimes even will get a smile or laugh out of me afterwards. i haven’t been able to decisively choose between indica or stativa breeds because of my location in the country(Alabama needs major law reforms.) i would like to be able to find out but until ten years after the feds change the law alabama will not change.

November 7, 2011 at 1:15 am
(141) Jennifer R. says:

I am a 21 year old female. I first began experiencing depression and insomnia at the age 7, and was formally diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder at the age of 16. I began smoking cannabis at 15, about a year before my diagnosis, as a way to actually help me COPE with what I was feeling. Although cannabis helped greatly with my depression, I realized at 16 that I needed further help and finally had my mother take me to a few psychiatrists till I found one that I liked. He put me on Lamictal, and I take Ambien for my insomnia, and although the medication helps, I am still an active cannabis user. Over my 6 years of smoking, I have realized that this substance can do what most prescription drugs cannot, and I truly see it as a miracle plant.
So, perhaps this woman is leaving out an entirely different view. Perhaps Bipolar II patients use cannabis to help maintain a disorder that can so easily take over one’s mind and life, leading to the significant amount of people that use the substance. Bipolar disorder is a complicated disorder that is extremely tough to treat and, unfortunately, also amounts in the highest suicide rate among any other disorder, Depression included. It is extremely hereditary, and I don’t believe she will find any evidence of Cannabis causing Bipolar Disorder. Of course, she is a researcher with an already set bias, so perhaps she will, but I bet you the results will most likely be an awesome type I error if that is the case.

November 20, 2011 at 10:20 am
(142) George says:

I haven’t yet read Dr. Hillard’s published papers on marijuana effects. So, I’m not sure if her studies are well-designed or are mere “propaganda” for the government. And, it is true that NIDA appears to be far more friendly to studies that are designed to show detrimental effects of marijuana. However, in the US, frequently it is easier to get funding for marijuana studies by formulating a hypothesis such as Dr. Hillard’s described in this report. It doesn’t necessarily mean that she believes that.

Probably the best discussion that I have ever seen on the whole medical marijuana issue and these concepts is in the “marijuana movie”. It can be viewed from the following link. Please check it out.


November 20, 2011 at 11:38 pm
(143) Michael Prichard says:

I am bipolar, have been since birth if I had to diagnose it. I truly believe that the marijuana helps if you do not abuse it. If anxiety attacks and you have a “medical marijuana cigarette” ready to go. Smoke it cause it will realax you. It slows down your thought process for a while but it will come back to normal after a few hours. The marijuana gives you time to calm down and relax so you may go one with your day. Even keep your job if you have trouble holding one like myself. I am all for the legalization of medical marijuana. I think it would do wonders for those who really need it. The goverment “FEDERAL” TAXES IT IN CALIFORNIA. THE MAKE AROUND 500,000 IN TAXES EACH YEAR FROM ONE SHOP THAT I KNOW. THINK ABOUT THIS PEOPLE WE COULD LIVE A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE. DON’T YOU WANT THAT, TO BE RELAXED AND WORRY FREE. MY E-MAIL IS coldcatfish@yahoo.com feel free to leave any messages

January 25, 2012 at 11:34 pm
(144) stacy says:

This article is a waste of time. Many cannabis users probably use it because it helps with there bi polar mania symptoms and would prefer cannabis over a pharmaceutical that makes them feel even worse. Spend some time and money doing research on how it can help bi polar symptoms instead of wasting money on false, misleading one sided meaningless research.

February 1, 2012 at 11:27 pm
(145) Chad says:

The two strains of Marijuana indica and sativa. Both indica and sativa are outstanding when treating the two levels of bipolar mania and depression. Indicas are the most effective in treating the mania as sativas curb mania and can been the most effective medication for depression.

February 25, 2012 at 7:25 pm
(146) rob says:

I was diagnosed as a teen with depression and within the last few years i was diagnosed as bi polar. I have tried several meds that make me zombie like ir very sleepy. Yes they decreasex my episodes but i was numb to everything. My whole life seemed to be getting worse. Finally a new dr. Gave me straterra and i gradually stopped taking the bipolar meds and started smoking weed befor bed or when i got realllly stressed out. Currently i hold a 4.0 gpa and have lost over 30lbs. I still have days where it takes a little motivation but its nothing like it was befor.

February 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm
(147) Matt says:

There is definitely a relationship between the two. I was normal prior to smoking on and off for a period of 4 years and then most days of the week and then pretty much everyday for the better part of a year and a half. I became really depressed and when i decided to stop to focus on my college workload, i had HORRIBLE physical withdrawal symptoms and crazy anxiety that wouldnt go away…even 3 weeks into my sobriety. The other day my doctor diagnosed me with a lower form of the disorder. When i used it i felt normal, so it literally became a medicine for me and it started to take over my life.

March 27, 2012 at 7:53 am
(148) Devin says:

Sorry if i posted twice i don’t see my comment

Your not a very good scientist because my hypothesis, from personal experience, is that the two are completely unrelated. Psychosis brought on from bipolar disorder and psychosis brought on from cannabis use are completely different. However doctors are ill informed on the potential repercussions of cannabis use and thus identify all who come to the hospital in a psychotic state as having bipolar disorder. They said i did as well, but after quitting marijuana, and discontinuing my medication, i have not had any further issues. Most young people aren’t able to stand up to the overwhelming pressure put on them by doctors, peers, and parents and thus continue to take harmful biploar medication long after the psychosis passes. It is sad. That said, Bipolar disorder and cannabis psychosis are two different things, and your article seems biased and/or poorly thought out for not taking that into consideration.

April 19, 2012 at 11:13 am
(149) Rhonda says:

I also have a severe case of Bi-Polar along with spinal stenosis and the pain I go thru mentally and physically is terrible. I have been on pain pills for a long time with very small amount of relief. I self medicate myself smoking marijuana and I can honestly say it helps the pain, it relaxes me mentally to where I do not have the Bi-polar outbursts and most of all it helps me relax and get a good night sleep. Only because it is illegal here in wisconsin I am unable to use it like I use to as a younger adult and the pain I go thru on a daily basis causes my Bi-Polar to flare up more often and I haven’t slept a full night in years. I am up every 2 hours every night and it gets very frustrating. I see a pain specialist and he totally agrees that if and when they allow medical marijuana I will be one of the first he will issue a card to. So please allow us patients to get the relief we need to life what life we have left comfortably.

June 13, 2012 at 10:21 am
(150) johnnydouglas says:

I have bipolar 1 for over 20 years– about 25 years now. Smoking marijuana is very helpful if it is indica marijuana; pure indica does not cause paranoia or mania– sativa does. The two types of weed are now genetically mixed and I do not like this myself. Asian based indica is the best medicine for bipolar and sativa can be o ne of the worst if yu are prone to paranoia. A study like this is not really possible to conduct without a lot of permission and approval — to be done the right way. Look into indica and sativa– they are two different animals i tell you. Indica helps me sleep and gets rid of my hypervigilance etc and paranoia– i do not reflect on past conversations. Sativa causes the symptoms that indica relieves. thanks. johnny douglas. Maybe a test of indica and sativa would be better.

June 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm
(151) Derek says:

I have bipolar disorder, and it seems to me that when I am smoking marijuana daily (not atm :( ) that it helps me avoid the hard to control lows and highs I have. And I seem to have less manic episodes when i consume cannabis daily. I have also found cigarettes to be a GREAT help; I can focus clearly after smoking cigs.

And perhaps surprisingly, cannabis often helps me think more clearly, especially if my emotions are going crazy (depressed, furious); smoking a little cannabis doesn’t make me feel great or anything in a time like that, I still feel the emotions I did before smoking, but the feelings are reduced and I can get my thoughts straight.

As far as marijuana causing bipolar, I doubt it; many people claim that cannabis may cause schizophrenia, but despite what the media makes it sound like, the evidence shows otherwise. Take Australia for example: their rates of marijuana have skyrocketed between 1970 and 1998, especially among the age group of 20-29 year olds. However, schizophrenia rates have remained the same, 1 in 100. Smaller studies (that don’t involve entire countries) show an apparent link because schizophrenics are more likely than the general population to try cannabis or other illegal drugs.

June 30, 2012 at 4:05 am
(152) Lizard says:

I was diagnosed at 16 Smoked pot since I was 12.It’s a genetic disorder.My mom was manic depressive wich was the earlier name
BP.I quit smoking pot at 15 when I was adopted by my sis.thats when the symptoms came apon me.I through a desk at a teacher.Iattacked akid in art class.Then i would stay in bed for days or weeks not want to eaven bathe.Then ,my suicide atempt was the last straw..I was hospitalised and diagnosed with major depression.Was put on prozack.I attacked and orderly and broke his nose.Thats when it was figured out.I was puit on litium then tegratal and depakote and blah blah.I mpoved out on my own smoking pot again .Holding a job paying my bills doing good .i left town withte carnival smoked still was off meds and realy living for 11 years thanks to pot .I calms slows down the racing thaughts helps me sleep and not a violent tendacy in my body.I quit smoking a year ago for my family and my girl freind .I od on xanax don’t remeber doing wok in the hospital wound up in treatment now i’m back on med and miserable this is not living .I only do it make my family and girl friend happy. But wheres my happiness…….Lizard

July 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm
(153) tina burns says:

hello im bipolor and yes it helps the voices that i hear go away and the point where i dont want to be around people goes away to a point.there is nothing wrong with smokeing it if did i was i would be dead a long time ago.i think its a good thing for bi polor because more than half the meds for it you cant afford.the side affects allone on meds are bad for you and your life who ever heard of a joint killing your liver or caussing bad things to happen to other people not me

August 11, 2012 at 10:38 pm
(154) Juris says:

My feeling is that milder forms of bipolar disorder are not commonly diagnosed in teens. The teens are unknowingly self medicating themselves with marijuana to cope with the mood changes of this disorder, particularly the low depressive phases. As younger adults give up marijuana usage as they enter the workforce, and as daily pressures with day-to-day living increase, the bipolar symptoms worsen and these people have a more difficult time coping. They seek professional help. Then the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is made, when, in milder forms, the disorder had been present for decades.

August 15, 2012 at 12:08 am
(155) Dave M says:

I THINK BIPOLAR DISORDER BRINGS ON CANNIBUS USE or could be used as a medication for bipolar. it relieves the manic episode state, but the side effects can cause weight gain, short term memory loss and other things, so its not the best medication, but for someone that doesn’t know they are bipolar, it probably makes them feel more calm and normal, definitely a natural self medicator for the disorder and teens do have it, it just hasn’t matured into the the full disorder yet, but they still have the depressive thoughts, social troubles and anger issues. my question is how do you know when a mouse is bipolar??

September 15, 2012 at 12:17 am
(156) noah says:

I smoke mad weed, take adderall, and have a diagnosed bipolar disorder I see a doctor for…..WTF?

September 21, 2012 at 2:53 am
(157) Lisa says:

As a bipolar sufferer (diagnosed at 18 but severe symptoms occurring at 12-13years old), I started smoking marijuana at the age of 16 before i was diagnosed to help calm me down. it helped me through the hardest times and I probably would have killed myself if i didn’t use it constantly. Ever since then i am an everyday smoker and my bipolar has been very under control compared to what it used to be. I obviously still have my moments but as I said it is MUCH less severe now I smoke. BUT as i am still young and discovering things about this disorder, i think the worst is yet to come. And i hope I’m not making my condition worse in the long run by smoking… but at least i am alive today.

September 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm
(158) J says:

I am assuming that by “brings it on” she means “causes.” But cannabis can be neither a necessary nor a sufficient cause. If it were a necessary cause this would mean that ingesting cannabis is necessary in order to develop bipolar, something that is clearly absurd. If it were a sufficient cause, that would mean that cannabis is sufficient in and of itself to cause bipolar, so that any person who ingested any amount of cannabis would develop bipolar, which is another absurdity.

October 4, 2012 at 2:50 am
(159) Amber says:

I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar since I was around 13…. maybe 14. At around 16 I stopped taking my medications. I went through a hippie detoxifying phase. Anyway, I never started taking that shit again and was pretty awful, although therapy has helped immensely, so my friend smoked a joint with me one day. I usually vaporize in eat marijuana now, but I’m definitely a lot more stable and mellow when I’ve medicated as opposed to when I haven’t. So I usually eat a brownie every 12 hours or so. It has made all the difference in my life. Knock it if you want, but you can’t say its “withdrawls” because I acted the same way for about 6 years before I ever tried pot.

October 17, 2012 at 12:13 am
(160) Juan castello says:

I am bipolar,I smoke marijuana.
It helps me tremendously with my mood swings and all.
This woman has no idea what she is talking about.

October 17, 2012 at 6:46 am
(161) Wanda Robinson says:

I started smoking pot after I couldn’t stop crying for 3 years. I have a gift called tears, it feels like a curse and smoking helps me to stop crying and sleep and eat, I am anorexic, have been my whole life. Marijuana should be legal, it is the only medicine I can take. I just don’t know whre to get it.

January 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm
(162) Anonymous says:

I would be interesting to see what they find in this study. I am diagnosed with Bipolar type II.

As a child, I was very moody and often depressed (for no apparent reason).

I did not try marijuana until about age 23. I had not, at that point been officially diagnosed with Bipolar II but instead with Depression and Dysthymia and Anxiety. It did not seem to make it worse.

However, I will note that I have been staying away from MJ for quite awhile & have been doing pretty well. however, about 2 weeks ago, I acquired some more MJ and all the sudden, I am feeling the depression sink in…that heavy drowsy, cloudy, unsettling, despair…and the crying spells for no reason.

So…my suspicion is that the mental illness or the propensity for it pre-exists MJ use…but that perhaps MJ use activates it or makes it worse? Just a guess; I’m no scholar.


February 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm
(163) Steph says:

I’m inclined to agree with the others. Maybe it’s just that weed smokers just get hungry, sleepy, and/or happy, and don’t really pursue medical studies about using the herb. Marijuana is not a drug, it’s a plant, and the effects of using it are almost nonexistent compared to alcohol use. There has never been any legitimate research on whether or not weed interacts poorly with psychological medications. I can’t help speculating that the medical profession frowns on smoking weed because they would rather keep up their practice by prescribing pharmaceuticals. Just a thought.

August 27, 2013 at 10:09 am
(164) sweet_dee says:

I highly doubt that marijuana use causes bipolar disorder. Bipolar is mostly caused environmentally (traumatic experiences) or genetics. And I also believe that marijuana is horrible for a bipolar person. if they already have the illness, it’ll break through even more when they get high on pot.

September 30, 2013 at 10:51 am
(165) Tina Everett says:

How about a mother’s perspective. My son had depression and anxiety and was started on antidepressant at 17. His anxiety was worse when he went to college which is expected. He was struggling but making it. He was introduced to marijuana during his second semester. It helped his anxiety and wanted to believe the myth that it wasn’t addictive. He finally came off of the marijuana after a long battle of withdrawals. But like most he has started back using. There is a family history on both sides of his family of bi-polar and depression and suicide. He had to be admitted to a behavioral center over the holidays a year ago because he was so depressed and anxious. He is seeing doctors and counselors and learning coping skills. He has been diagnosed with Bi-polar now. i have read and cant help but believe that the marijuana use has made it worse. I wish he had never started using. i understand that it seems to help the symptoms at present but I’m scared of the long term effects. I have an uncle who started using marijuana when he was in his teens. He is now 60 years old. he has been diagnosid with bi-polar but doesn’t take med. They didn’t have help when he was younger and everyone just thought it was all drug and alchohol use. We understand more now but his life was ruined! I DO NOT WANT TO SEE MY SON END UP LIKE THAT! i keep wondering where we would be today if he had never started and how much better he will be in the long run if he will stop using now. My prayers are with him and anyone else suffering from this turmoil.

October 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm
(166) Raymond says:

Hello, I have been using marijuana for 16 consecutive years and am now on my ay to 32 years old. I have recently been diagnosed and am waiting for a appointments to discuss medication options. to describe me and my Bipolar diagnosiis the best I am full time on the Mania side with until now 4 depression cycles a year, what i find with the marijuana usde is it is a downer drug no doubt but for me on a 95% Mania status it works great to center me and slow down my brain it seems. When I am in the depression stage I actually learned to avoid it as it would send me further down so to speak!!
In saying this you need to understand my Mania is to the max as I am an alberta farm boy and work 18-20 hrs a day whether it be for my employer or at home and that is where the pot comes in!!! If I don’t smoke a little every night my brain will not shut down and I will keep working. Please note to put it to a quntity amount i smoke 1 1/2-2 normal to small size marijuana cigarettes an evening over a 8 hour period and all day weekends . I would have to say depends on what ened of the bipolar spectrum you are at depicts how your body and mind reacts to the marijuana use!!!!!!!!!

October 30, 2013 at 11:23 pm
(167) Joan says:

I’m bipolar and I can tell you weed is medicine for the ups and downs of bipolar, much in the way speed slows down ADD. I had onset of symptoms at 12, believe me, dope, drinking, reckless living fall under b/p, not the other way around. The brain is much more harmful than any chemical out there. Suicide? That doesn’t come from drugs, unless maybe you did a lot of acid in the 1960′s before it became weak.

December 9, 2013 at 11:54 am
(168) bob says:

stupid bitch cant even spell… psychoses hahahha

December 9, 2013 at 3:00 pm
(169) Marcia Purse / Bipolar Disorder Guide says:

Not stupid. The plural of psychosis is psychoses.

December 20, 2013 at 2:11 am
(170) Red Baron says:

One of the oldest known natural medicines to mankind, one of the safest, easiest to cultivate, and widest in application, still gets shunned and pushed out the door by those who refuse to understand it.
One of the most well known mental illnesses to mankind, one of great fame and one of great shame, one who understands what being shunned and misunderstood feels like.
Any wonder cannabis and bipolar pull towards each other? Not every cannabis plant is the same, and not every bipolar sufferer is either. Of course some people will not have the same results with it, if negative reaction, seek a different medicine. Personally, I find it to be an incredibly effective medicine, when used in moderation. When taken to excess, like anything, it can worsen everything.

February 20, 2014 at 5:01 pm
(171) Adam Demont says:

I totally agree Red Baron. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2013 after a single manic episode. However, this manic episode lasted for a few months and developed progressively where I was smoking marijuana atleast 4 times a week. I eventually began to think that I was the Messiah. My uncle and aunty have bipolar disorder. I believe I always had the genetics to have an episode, and marijuana just accelerated the process, along with stress that was occuring in my life at the time.

March 1, 2014 at 2:32 pm
(172) Iwolf says:

Marijuana works great for me. Really, really great. I had my bipolar diagnosis way before I started smoking. I’ve been smoking daily for the past 10 months before bedtime – never felt so good. I feel normal, happy, grateful, and I love the plant tremendously for that reason. And it seems like I’m not alone – despite a lot of psychiatrists warning people with mental illnesses about marijuana. Interesting.

March 5, 2014 at 10:13 am
(173) lee says:

Krill oil, magenisum calcium, b12, and smoke marajunia and drink energy drink if need more energy requires everyday use has helped and take your antidepressants few hours after might help for anxiety disorder like social phobia

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.