Cannabidiol is known for its many health benefits. But can it also help people suffering from Bipolar Disorder? CBD has been touted to help a number of mental health conditions. Learn if there is any evidence of CBD helping people with bipolar disorder.
Can CBD Help With Bipolar Disorder?
Carrie Fisher is an American actress, writer, and comedian best known for playing the iconic Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise. Catherine Zeta-Jones is an Academy and BAFTA award-winning Welsh actress known. You may have seen her in the movie musical Chicago or the heist film Entrapment. American singer-songwriter Halsey (birth name Ashley Nicolette Frangipane) has sold over 1 million albums and has been streamed over 6 billion times in the US alone.
Aside from being powerful, talented, globally renowned women, what else do these three have in common? They were all diagnosed with a bipolar mood disorder at a young age and their struggles with the disease have been well-documented by media.
Mental illnesses have not always been received positively by the public. The media has portrayed people with mental illnesses as crazed lunatics with the sole intention of harming others or themselves for so many years. It is only recently that mental illnesses became more nuanced and a more acceptable topic of discussion as people are opening up about their mental health.
Bipolar disorder affects between 0.4% and 1.6% of the world’s population. Statistically, this means roughly 70 million people around the planet suffer from a type of bipolar disorder in various degrees. You most probably know someone with a bipolar mood disorder, it may even be someone in your family.
What is Bipolar Mood Disorder?
Bipolar Mood Disorder was formerly called manic depression. It is characterized by unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and concentration. These mood shifts can impede one’s ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.
Bipolars have two distinct periods of extreme emotions. The manic phase wherein one feels elated or extremely “up”, and the depressed phase wherein one feels hopeless, or extremely “down”. Manic phases can also be characterized by being highly irritable, or overzealous while depression can be shown as indifference.
Bipolar disorder is typically diagnosed during the teen years or early on into adulthood. Rarely, bipolar symptoms can also manifest in children. Bipolar disorder can also first appear during pregnancy or after childbirth. As symptoms may vary over time, bipolar disorder usually requires lifelong treatment.
Bipolar mood disorders can be quite tricky to treat. Like most mental disorders, medications have various side effects and some have adverse drug interactions. Regular check-ups with psychiatrists are needed to titrate one’s doses and mix of meds.
CBD as Treatment For Bipolar Mood Disorder
One of the compounds getting a lot of traction as a potential new treatment for bipolar disorder is cannabidiol — one of the primary phytochemicals in the cannabis plant.
Cannabidiol, also known commonly as CBD, has been shown to act as a cushion for the brain from damage and reinforces healthy neurotransmitter function. Through these effects, CBD is widely regarded to be able to effectively reduce the severity of bipolar disorders and assist those affected to sustain more stable moods throughout the day.
Hemp is fully legal in the United States and is determined by the government as having less than 0.3% THC content. All Kyoto Botanicals products are made with less than 0.3% THC, are classified as hemp, and are legal to use in all 50 states. They will also help you maintain a balanced phytocannabinoid profile.
Using full-spectrum hemp extract, organic coconut MCT oil, and organic spearmint leaf oil, KYOTO BOTANICALS REST(ful) Spearmint Tincture helps support an overall sense of peace and calmness to encourage your mind and body to relax throughout the day.
Kyoto Botanicals offer CBD products so their consumers can find harmony and balance in their lives and positively shape the world and those around them to be better versions of themselves every day. The company is grounded in family roots and a firm belief that small things make a big impact. KYOTO BOTANICALS believes in giving back to the community and is dedicated to building a brand that can impact local and global needs.
The tincture is non-GMO, vegan, Colorado-grown, extracted, bottled, and triple lab tested. It uses organic coconut MCT oil derived 100% from Virgin Organic Coconut oil, not Palm oil and organic spearmint leaf oil rather than artificial flavors to deliver flavor with benefits.
- Adults take one full dropper (0.5mL) up to two times daily.
- Take daily, morning, and/or evening, and adjust your regimen as needed for the best results for you.
- Apply oil directly under the tongue, being careful not to touch your mouth to the dropper, and let rest under your tongue for thirty seconds before swallowing.
Help yourself find calm, neutral ground with this Spearmint Tincture.
These products are not intended for use by persons under the age of 21. It’s important to consult your doctors with any medical concerns, and before making any changes or adding supplements to your health plan.
We may earn a commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. Newsweek AMPLIFY participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.
CBD for Bipolar Disorder: Does It Help?
Laura Dorwart is a health journalist with expertise in disability rights, mental health, and pregnancy-related conditions. She has written for publications like SELF, The New York Times, VICE, and The Guardian.
Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Erika Prouty, PharmD, is a professional community pharmacist who aids patients in medication management and pharmacy services in North Adams, Massachusetts.
Bipolar disorder refers to a group of mental health disorders that cause extreme highs and lows in mood. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMS), 4.4% of adults in the United States experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lives.
A person with bipolar disorder, previously known as manic depression, experiences disruptive mood fluctuations that interfere with their daily functioning in relationships, work, school, and family life. These mood fluctuations usually include both “high highs,” such as mania and hypomania, and “low lows” in the form of depressive episodes.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been touted as a possible way of treating the symptoms of bipolar disorder. While there’s some evidence that CBD oil can help people with bipolar disorder, there hasn’t been enough research to establish its long-term safety and effectiveness.
Learn more about CBD for bipolar disorder, including its safety, effectiveness, drawbacks, and alternatives.
Catherine Falls Commercial / Moment / Getty Images
What Is CBD?
CBD is one of the active ingredients in the Cannabis sativa plant (marijuana). Although it’s a chemical derived from marijuana, CBD doesn’t have psychoactive properties like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In other words, CBD won’t get you “high” like THC.
CBD is believed to act on the body’s central nervous system to produce a calming, relaxing effect that could help with anxiety and other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder. Some evidence suggests that it also might have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
Is CBD Addictive?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there’s no evidence of any risk of chemical dependency or addiction when it comes to CBD.
And while CBD’s legal restrictions vary from state to state, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has legalized its use for clinical trials. One product containing CBD—Epidiolex—was FDA approved in 2018 for use in the treatment of seizures in certain rare childhood epileptic disorders.
You can take CBD in various forms, including:
- Tinctures (plant extracts dissolved in an alcohol solvent)
- Tablets and capsules
- Edibles, such as gummies
- Topicals, such as lotions and creams
Because CBD’s legal status varies so widely across the United States, it’s always wise to check your local and state laws before purchasing any product containing CBD.
The Science Behind CBD
CBD oil isn’t yet established as an evidence-based treatment for bipolar disorder. Research is ongoing, with many clinical trials underway.
However, it’s believed that CBD works by acting on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system isn’t yet entirely understood by researchers, but some believe it plays a role in many important functions, such as pain and mood regulation as well as inflammation.
Early research indicates that CBD might serve as a mood stabilizer for people with bipolar disorder.
One 2020 review argues that CBD might be helpful in the treatment of depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder due to its calming, antidepressant effects.
A 2020 clinical trial suggests that CBD could be beneficial as an “adjunctive,” or supplemental, treatment for bipolar depression.
CBD has also been shown to have an anxiety-reducing effect and shows therapeutic potential in the treatment of addictions. This could be beneficial to people with bipolar disorder because many people with mood disorders also have comorbid mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders and substance use disorder.
CBD and Its Potential Benefits
CBD is being investigated for use in the treatment of a number of mental health disorders and neurological conditions. These include schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, depression, addiction, and Alzheimer’s disease.
There are certain drawbacks to taking CBD for bipolar disorder. People who use CBD products might experience a range of side effects, including:
CBD can also interact with other medications, such as blood thinners, and it can affect your liver enzymes.
If you take CBD, it’s important to let your healthcare provider know so they can warn you about any potential drug interactions or negative effects on your liver function. You also shouldn’t drink alcohol if you’re using CBD, as the interaction between the two substances could enhance their sedative effects.
There’s limited evidence in initial animal studies that the male reproductive system could be affected by CBD use. So if you’re trying to conceive, you might want to hold off on using CBD or ask your healthcare provider if CBD is safe to use.
Also, most products containing CBD aren’t regulated or approved by the FDA. This means that you can’t guarantee that what you buy is safe, pure, or high-quality. A CBD product could contain THC or even contaminants like pesticides, so choose carefully.
There are many evidence-based alternatives to using CBD for bipolar disorder symptoms. Here are some of the many available alternative treatments for bipolar disorder:
- Medication: There are a number of prescription medications available to treat the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Mood stabilizers such as lithium, as well as anticonvulsants and antipsychotic drugs, may be prescribed by a psychiatrist to help regulate your moods.
- Psychotherapy:Talk therapy with a trusted psychotherapist, as well as support groups led by qualified mental health counselors, can help you work through the emotional and social challenges of living with bipolar disorder.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can help people with bipolar disorder by releasing endorphins that improve their sense of well-being.
- Relaxation and mindfulness techniques: Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, and mindfulness techniques such as yoga and meditation, can have a calming effect and help you regulate your emotions in times of stress.
- Sleep hygiene:Insomnia and chronic sleep deprivation can worsen the effects of bipolar disorder. Practicing good sleep habits, such as going to bed at the same time every night, can go a long way in curbing bipolar disorder symptoms.
Some researchers believe that CBD, a chemical compound derived from marijuana, could be helpful in treating some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions.
Early evidence suggests that CBD oil could play a role in regulating mood and alleviating depression. Drawbacks can include mild to moderate side effects like nausea and fatigue, as well as potential drug interactions and negative effects on liver function.
Alternative treatments for bipolar disorder include prescription drugs, psychotherapy, mindfulness techniques, and lifestyle changes.
A Word From Verywell
CBD is widely believed to be safe and potentially effective in the treatment of various mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder. However, it’s not FDA approved as a treatment for bipolar disorder, and research into its benefits and long-term side effects is still ongoing.
If you decide to take CBD for bipolar disorder, make sure to let your healthcare provider know so they can warn you about any potential side effects or drug interactions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Research on CBD and its potential interactions with other drugs is ongoing. There is some preliminary evidence that CBD could interact with lithium, which is frequently prescribed to people with bipolar disorder as a mood stabilizer. This interaction could potentially cause lithium toxicity, a serious condition.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the chemical compounds (called “cannabinoids”) found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis also contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active component of marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have psychoactive properties; in other words, it won’t give you a “high.”
The only FDA-approved product containing CBD is a pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil called Epidiolex, which is used to prevent seizures in people with two different childhood epileptic disorders. Because most CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA, it’s important to check the product labels yourself.
Always check your CBD product’s certificate of analysis (COA) to see if it’s been tested for THC and contaminants. Also, CBD derived from hemp grown in the U.S. rather than overseas might be a safer bet in terms of the federal and local testing requirements.
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
National Institute of Mental Health. Bipolar disorder.
Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
Khan R, Naveed S, Mian N, et al. The therapeutic role of cannabidiol in mental health: a systematic review. J Cannabis Res. 2020;2(2). doi:10.1186/s4438-019-0012-y
Oberbarnscheidt T, Miller NS. The impact of cannabidiol on psychiatric and medical conditions. J Clin Med Res. 2020;12(7):393-403. doi:10.14740/jocmr4159
Singh RK, Dillon B, Tatum DA, et al. Drug-drug interactions between cannabidiol and lithium. Child Neurol Open. 2020;7. doi:10.1177/2329048X20947896