Bipolar Disorder and Marihuana


I am bipolar 1 and suffer from severe mood swings. I generally use an arsenal of medications to control my illness, but I recently tried marihuana to combat my depression. Over a period of a month I smoked about 2 joints a day and during that time my mood was steady and positive. I was able to stop taking Klonopin without negative side effects. I had to stop using pot when my supplier left town and my mood swings increased about two weeks later. I went back to my old meds. While the medication I am taking is helpful, it is not as helpful as marihuana.

As a psychotherapist I am familiar with the literature on medications for bipolar disorder. Marihuana is regarded as a drug to be avoided, but my experience with it was beneficial and therapeutic. It may not work for others with my illness, but as everyone in the business of psychopharmacology knows, prescribing is more of an art than a science. Trial and error is the method psychiatrists rely on to prescribe medication, and the patient is the one who suffers during the search for a suitable treatment.

It is sad that marihuana cannot be added to the list of drugs being researched objectively for treating mood disorders. I hope that clinical trials of marihuana for people with mood disorders will be considered some day. Its healing potential could help save the lives of many patients.