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Can marijuana usage affect depression/bipolar disorder?


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#1
felinegreenies

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Two weeks ago, I was prescribed a medication called Lamictal in order to treat my suspected bipolar disorder. I have been suffering from severe depression for years now and have been treating it through antidepressants and therapy. But only recently have I started visiting a psychiatrist who believes my depression is more manic, hence prescribing me the Lamictal for the maintenance treatment of my manic episodes. I've tried taking Lexapro, Prozac, and Abilify, none of which effectively made me feel better for a long duration of time. The only medicine which I believe brings me to balance is marijuana. My therapist, on the other hand, believes that my marijuana usage is not healthy. I smoke everyday multiple times, smoking around 1-2 grams a day.

Now.. two weeks ago, I was prescribed to the Lamictal. The only problem was that I could not afford it. I recently went on a manic money spending binge, and now have no money. I also had no money to buy pot, so I thought it might be a good idea to follow the advice of my psychiatrist and therapist and stop smoking in order to assess my mental state without the influence of the mind-altering plant.

This was a bad idea. I failed to attend my daily therapy sessions. I failed to show up for work, and I am now under the risk of being fired. I'm bed bound. I can't sleep at night (as I type this at 3:30 am), and I can't wake up in the morning. I can't function nearly at the level I was able to even when I felt depressed. This that I am feeling right now is worse than depression. I feel angry. Tears are streaming down my face. I want to punch my pillows and destroy things. I NEVER feel like this. I am usually a very calm person, and anger is a very rare emotion for me to feel (which probably in turn is not healthy either). Especially when there is nothing in particular to be angry or frustrated about.

I am so sad and hopeless. Is this what manic depression does to people who don't smoke pot?!? If so... is there any way I can get a MMJ license to treat my bipolar disorder?

I'm a WA state resident. I don't believe bipolar disorder falls into the category of diseases and disorders treatable by marijuana under the state law. Unless I say that I have trouble eating when I'm sober. Which I do. But is there a way that I can find a doctor who will legitimately look at my situation with my manic depression and tell me that I have the right to treat myself with medical marijuana?

Is there scientific evidence that marijuana affects manic depression?

Please help me. I hate feeling this way. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow, but I'm very scared as to what to tell him. I'm scared that he will reject my wanting to be treated medically with cannabis. Does anybody know if the THCF offers medical visits and special exceptions to the state law under specific circumstances? Is there a way that I can get a license through my difficulty of eating, although I am not anorexic or bulimic? I am very much underweight (5'5'' 105 lbs). Does this qualify?

#2
ShawnP

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I've never felt suicidal after smoking, but overall it hasnt done anything, Im probably going to do it torm

#3
Grunge

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Well, I have moderate depressions and weed helps me. I think if YOU feel that marijuana is the best thing for you, then I would probably talk to another psychiatrist or physician and see what he/she thinks. You probably should have brought up the fact that you would vaporize or consume marijuana in a more healthy way instead of smoking it.

-Look at the bright side of life ;)

#4
hendog

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Its unfortunate that there are not alot of studies done on that..but the few that have been done have seen positive results!! If YOU feel better by smoking weed then DO SO! To experiment with the different strains would be the thing to do..some people think pot is pot, but its NOT! The POISON that your Dr. Feelgood is giving you is TOXIC and MJ is not. You cannot be afraid to stand up and tell the Dr. what your body is telling you...and there is a list of studies as long as my arm as to the EVIL EFFECTS OF SMOKING THE DEVILS WEED..and what your Dr. will find out is there is NO REASON FOR CONCERN !! Its safer then ANYTHING they have ever prescribed to anyone. My sister is Bipolar and I only wish she would be open minded to that..but she's still in the denile stage...

Hemp Oil might do you wonders..check out www.phoenixtears.ca

and Granny Crows Medicinal Marijuana (google this) from A - Z all the different studies that have been done with MJ. Its mind blowing what awesome medicine the Hemp Plant is..and instead of it being LEGAL its been lied about and demonized for way too long. Its time to stand up and fight for safe medicine. Good Luck Felinegreenies..have Faith that things will be ok and they will. Not saying its going to be easy..but you'll be OK. Take Care and again Best Of Luck.

#5
felinegreenies

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Thanks for the responses and support, everybody! I really appreciate it. I visited my psychiatrist yesterday, and he respects the fact that I find relief through marijuana use, but still believes that because marijuana affects the brain's reward pathway directly, it is addictive and creates a dependency unlike other medicines which do not affect the reward pathway instantly through intake (such as anti-depressants or other mood stabilizers).

I told him that at this point in my life, I am not ready to give up marijuana as an effective means of relief for my symptoms. He accepted this, and we agreed together that I will continue to use marijuana for the moment, and hopefully in the future when i become more stable with the Lamictal, I will be able to phase out the marijuana use, just like one would phase out any other medicine or drug that causes withdrawal effects.

I wonder if I will really be able to phase out my marijuana usage though...?

#6
Weedman2000

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you dont need to phase out your usage.

marijuana is much safer than any of that shit they are prescribing you. if it gives you relief, why not use it?

the worst "withdrawals" you will get from bud are a lack of appetite and a little trouble sleeping

#7
Ganjafarmer700

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I think you should get off all that other bullshit and just smoke herb. I'm no expert, but anti-depressants usually just make things worse. Or more boring. I know someone that is bipolar, and when they started taking medication for it, they had NO EMOTION. Like none. Not fun.

Edited by Ganjafarmer700, 13 March 2009 - 02:30 AM.


#8
thedon420

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I have an undiagnosed mild case of bipolar disorder, and marijuana is all I need to stay level

#9
LEGALIZEHERBde

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I am an RN who has almost completed my Masters degree in Psychology. I have worked in the psych fielf for over 8 years and have my BSN with a minor in psych. In addition, I have good common sense and real life experience with what you are saying.
First, most bi-polar people are unresponsive to pharmaceuticals and therapy. That is a common phenomenon. A majority of bi-polar persons studied have spent a lifetime going from one therapist/drug to another in desperate attempts to gain control of their life to no avail.
One question I have for you is, which came first, marijuana use or bi-polar symptoms. If it was the latter, I would surmise that marijuana is an effective medicine for you. You would also qualify in most MMJ states for use of herb. It is considered a serious debilitating condition contrary to many peoples opinion and current studies support that statement. If your marijuana use started first, I would say the herb has caused your symptoms. It is a form of withdrawal.
Another question, what are your current lithium levels? I'm assuming they've been high as you've displayed manic behavior. Sorry couldnt remember if that was on your list as tried.
If you have any other questions and I may be of assistance, let me know. I have a strong interest in this area and have a wealth of knowledge to share. Finally, I would like to say that ALL of the medications currently being given to patients (psychotropics) are hit or miss. The companies that make them are essentially throwing darts at the dart board and hoping they get a bull's eye. Many of the drugs, such as Zyprexa, bypass clinical trials and ruin people's lives before they are TRULY researched regarding efficacy. In Genesis 1:12, it states that God made seed bearing herbs and plants and it was good. How on earth can the creator be wrong? Don't trust man-made drugs!!!!!!!!

#10
felinegreenies

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Thank you so much for all of your responses and support. Coming to terms with my manic depression has been so difficult for me these last couple of weeks, and being able to find support through all of you means so much to me. Thanks again, blades. :)

The one thing that my psychiatrist brought up that I am a little worried about is the idea that marijuana does affect the reward pathway of our brains, and yes! I do find that smoking marijuana is pleasurable and that these feelings of pleasure have addictive qualities. Pharmaceuticals differ in this aspect because they don't have that immediate sense of pleasure after taking them. Thus, they are not addictive in the same sense that marijuana is addictive (although they are addictive in the sense that they create some intense withdrawal symptoms when not phased out). Am I "addicted" to marijuana's affects on my reward pathway, or am I self medicating with marijuana? Maybe both? I'm not really sure.

Although I was prescribed to Lamictal about three weeks ago, I have yet to even fill in my prescription! I'm scared out of my fucking pants to even try conventional medicines anymore. I took Welbutrin maybe three years ago, and that in turn made me suicidal. The Fluoxetine helped a little bit, but failed to follow through over time. The Abilify, I feel, enhanced my manic episodes to the point where I didn't feel myself. I also read many reports from people on marijuana.com that those who started taking Lamictal feel as though weed and the medicine do not live happily ever after together. Many people who were everyday tokers who started taking Lamictal stated that marijuana began to make them feel super anxious and hard of breathing. I DO NOT want this to happen... I can't imagine giving up my weed for a medicine.

As for the questions asked by legalizeherbde:

I was only diagnosed with (or presumed to have) bipolar disorder three weeks ago. I was diagnosed with depression 4 years ago, but I believe that I have been depressed since my father passed away when I was 6 (which was 15 years ago). I started smoking recreationally as a sophomore in high school, but started using daily about a year ago.

As for lithium levels, I have no idea even what that means...? Is lithium a drug taken to treat bipolar? If so, I have not began taking any medications in order to treat it because of my fear for conventional meds :( .

I think I'm gonna hit up The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation and try to gain some more knowledge on whether or not marijuana is a choice for me or not.

And finally, let me quote God: "All seed bearing plants, I give to you".

If there really is a God... rock on motha fucka. :smoking:

#11
LEGALIZEHERBde

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I would love to share even more convincing data regarding your questions. Because of my special interest regarding this wonderful drug, I have sought every piece of scientific data about MMJ like a sponge to water. The beautiful thing is that there is so much more for me to learn. In the meanwhile, I can continue to share the knowledge I have attained up until now. As I'm sure you know, knowledge is power. The only way to change this state of affairs is just like any other social injustice, education.
As far as the reward pathways, I'm sorry to say, ANY CHEMICAL, FOOD, ACTION, OR FOREIGN BODY/OBJECT that you come into contact with or ingest will affect you serotonin receptors, synaptic gaps, and neurotransmitters. Most subjects regarding these topics are nothing more than hypothesis. The science of neurology is still and may be forever, one of the most intriguing and unknown physiological function.
To conclude, in the medical business, pharmaceutical companies, with their own hand-picked scientists do most of the research on their medicines (you know like the Tobacco Institute who had actual physicians who undertook studies, paid for by big tobacco, and found that Tobacco smoke inhalation was essentially harmless). After presenting their bias and contrived studies, the FDA will almost always agree with their finding and approve the drug (Zyprexa, Fen-Fen, Vioxx, Clozaril, and several others were groundbreaking, supposedly and later with TRUE human trials done proved much more harmful than what they were treating). Once they gain approval, an ALL-AMERICAN appearing, used-car salesman/ lawyer type, who dress in formal attire, come into the MD's office touting the effectiveness of their new wonder drug. The MD's most of the time, regardless of their actual finding in practice and theory, will believe what these salesmen say. The salesmen will then like a crack or heroin dealer, give many free samples. Once, they get their teeth in, they give the MD's front-row seats to sporting events, lavish vacation packages, free medical equipment, and darn near any incentive you can imagine. Of course, many MD's are driven by greed nowadays, hence warehousing of patients, and are all too ready to continue prescribing these new groundbreaking meds on ever patient who presents with any resemblance of the ailment. Hopefully, you followed this sequence. I tried to make it as plain as possible.
Lamictal is still relatively new and not entirely understood. I wish you the best. However, after seeing some of the disfiguring conditions first-hand that were caused by these WONDERFULLY INNOVATIVE drugs, I would never try them again. To this day, I have never seen anthing more than laziness, obesity, and COPD with regards to marijuana side effects. However, not every person I know who smokes suffers these ailments. Everything in moderation. Or as Benjamin Franklin stated, " Moderation is the key to success".

#12
felinegreenies

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legalizeherbde, you put it beautifully :D

it most definitely is true that anything that interacts with the human body is bound to either cause a positive or negative response, right? In some people, marijuana causes anxiety and paranoia, while in others it conjures inspiration, relaxation, etc... and for those who do find a positive reaction to smoking need to understand that MODERATION IS MOST DEFINITELY KEY. Anything enjoyable should be taken into consideration through moderation; i think too much of anything could be harmful...

And here I come up with another question... do I smoke too much? How does one understand whether or not they are smoking responsibly and recreationally as opposed to smoking without moderation? I sometimes find myself smoking myself silly all day, but i feel great. I don't think it's necessarily a healthy choice that I make by staying in all day long, but at the same time it definitely beats staying in all day being depressed and miserable? Is it the weed or the depression that causes me to feel this way?

If weed were legalized/decriminalized/not judged by society so critically, would it help me to be able to socialize better with others, as opposed to staying in all day long? Now this is another issue altogether... haha. I'm getting side tracked.

But yes. even without the help of the plant, I would find myself isolating and being unmotivated due to my depression. I really do think that marijuana helps to stabilize my mood, so I guess in conclusion, it really does help doesn't it?

Now I have another question: I find that weed really is the best medicine for overcoming my instability with mood. But what do I do now to overcome my lack of motivation and lack of desire to socialize? Is this something that can be answered by looking into different strains of marijuana, or different methods of consumption?

Oh, and also. fuck the corporations who try to convince us that these destructive conventional drugs are what is going to heal us, when really they just cause an endless loop of addiction in themselves. Fueling these expensive med corporations with our money is only helping to destroy our bodies, minds, and empty our wallets. Why not just plant a seed in the ground and find peace of mind through a plant??

#13
halcyone

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I suffer from PTSD. I did the pill of the month club thing for a while, got fed up and went to pot. My wife suffers from lupus (SLE), which can cause depression (which it did), and she snokes also. Needless to say, I'm not having near the problems I used to have and she isnt depressed, and it also helps with her pain.

#14
Sparkin

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My brother has this exact disorder and he smokes marijuana.

I want to say it helped him, but I can't be too sure. He's been taking Ativan (Benzo) and Resperidone (Anti-Psychotic) while constantly smoking marijuana, and he seems to be doing alright.

Hell, I'm about to go smoke a joint with him right now =D

#15
hotkarl

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I am currently on Lamictal one in the morning and one pill at night. Ive been on it for about 6 months now and Ive realized it helps me alot with my bipolar dissorder and mood swings. Throughout the 6 months ive tried diffrent combinations with marijuana, add pills, and anxiety pills. Ive realized through my own personal experiences that Marijuana helps alot but only if I smoke on weekends and not daily. I found that smoking daily just broke me down. I would get angry or sad at any moment at any time. I started just smoking on weekends and it seems to mellow me out for the stress ive had during the week. I have to constantly take the lamictal though. I believe I have become somewhat dependant on it.

This is from my personal expierence but everyone is diffrent I hope this helps.

#16
LEGALIZEHERBde

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You posed two really good questions, which, whether you realize or not, both arrive at the same conclusion.
Question 1. "do I smoke too much? How does one understand whether or not they are smoking responsibly and recreationally as opposed to smoking without moderation?
Only you, and possibly with a physicians input, can determine if you smoke too much. It's like asking, am I an alcoholic....well only you can determine that. There are a couple of ways you can help self-assess your use. Go to AA and check their questions you answer to determine if your an alcoholic. Change all alcohol references to marijuana. Don't bother with questions regarding cops, obviously we all think the laws are attacking our freedom. Another thing you can do is, ask your family who cares most about you. Use it for a month, then don't use it for a month. Then with no weed, try your Lamictal for a month, then try nothing for a month. Just like your very own clinical trial. Then ask your family what they saw during those past four months. That will help gain some insight. However, don't tell them your motives in advance. Many bias people will say that the Lamictal helped if they no your intentions. My biggest personal indicator, for myself, would be how I have been handling my responsibilities and how high of a priority it is. If it's your highest priority, even before breakfast, upon awakening, and you get absolutely nothing done besides loafing around the house. I would say that use is just as debilitating as the disease your trying to treat. If, instead, your more productive, and many of your negatives have become positives secondary to the use of this substance, than it is most certainly beneficial. As previously stated, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. That is something you must look from within to TRULY determine. Be honest to yourself. You know the real truth if you just take the time to consider.
Question 2: "I find that weed really is the best medicine for overcoming my instability with mood. But what do I do now to overcome my lack of motivation and lack of desire to socialize? Is this something that can be answered by looking into different strains of marijuana, or different methods of consumption?"
This question was probably effectively answered in the aforementioned response. To add to that, yes, it is widely known amongst connaisseur's, that generally a sativa is more of a productive high. Indica's are more appropriate for sleep aids and pain relief. One problem is that there are no true indica's or sativa's. Most strains are somewhat of a hybrid even if only having a 10% component of the other type. I would obviously recommend a Sativa for you. I would also recommend an energy drink (only 1) or a cup of coffee to counteract the sedation you are feeling. Kind of like giving you Cogentin or Benadryl with your Prozac. It alleviates the other med's side effect. The danger in that is you begin the Elvis syndrome. Where you basically start take more and more meds to stop side effects. It's very cyclical and can keep going (i have patients who take as many as 20 different pills twice a day. Only three to five of the pills were originally necessary. The rest were to counteract side effects.
From what your saying, from my perspective, you are either....1. overmedicating with marijuana or using the wrong strain ....or 2. your disability is severe...or 3. marijuana, just like other medications you've tried, may not be the right choice for you chemical make-up. This is only judging on what you've told me. I'm sure in this complex system we live in, so to is your condition and status

#17
Tanksta

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Some times I am depressed and weed helps me with that alot. I wouldent say I have depression though because normaly i feel fine. I also live in WA but Im not sure about if you can get a permet for pot or whatever. Im pulling for you dude! good luck with everything. ;)

#18
christina

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I have bi polar disorder, not at a high level but it's there and when I quit smoking it does make it hard to sleep for awhile. I have panic attacks and take kolanipin occasionally when needed, doctor prescribed. But I smoke every day. I am only on 50 mg of Zoloft per day for depression and to level my seratonin levels and that has worked great for me for years now. I had a nervous breakdown a few years ago and didnt know what it was, so I went to the hosp and they tried me on all these crazy drugs like lithium, and zyprexa and I felt like a zombie from the lithium told em I knew I wasnt that crazy. Then the zyprexa made me even more depressed, my regular physician put me on just the zoloft and kolanipin for panic attacks and I do fine on it. I never wanted to take any of the mood stabilizers or anything else either.

#19
christina

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Mood swings and irritability are a symptom when you quit too. That all goes away after awhile though. But try kolanipin that stuff saves me sometimes when I get real angry and upset, chills me right out man. ;)

#20
Wrecked

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Yes, it will affect it, it will take it away.

I have depression (in my genes) and its pretty bad. Marijuana really helps.

Doctors prescribe Marijuana for Bi-polar, it can really calm people down and make them more normal. My mothers boss's son (mouthload) has bipolar, he has a medical marijuana card, and his whole family says their favorite time with him is when he smokes, because he turns from a rude asshole to a happy affectionate guy.




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