Bipolar disorder, equally likely to affect men and women, causes a person’s mood, energy, and mental clarity to vary wildly. Such fluctuation leads the person to experience waves of mania and depression. Most patients experience the onset of bipolar disorder around age 25, although teens and children can develop bipolar disorder at lesser rates than adults. In all, 2.6% of the U.S. population has bipolar disorder. 

Four types of bipolar disorder exist, with symptoms ranging from feeling incredibly positive and energized, to depressed and lacking energy. Depending on the type of bipolar a person has, symptoms can include increased activity, sleep troubles, feeling agitated, fast-thinking, rapid speech patterns, and risky behavior. Others may find themselves feeling low on energy, unable to find happiness, unable to concentrate, experiencing a loss of appetite, and possibly considering self-harm.

Melissa Vitale runs a New York-based cannabis publicity firm. After struggling with her emotions her entire life, she was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. “My uncontrollable mood would often let me feel like I was on top of the world. I was the happiest and most helpful child. When my mood turned, however, I felt a wall of emotion that kept me from seeing straight. I would be boiling with anger and wanting to punch, kick, hit, or insult anyone who wasn’t telling me everything was alright.” 

By twelve, she turned to self-harm, which made her suspect that she had bipolar disorder.

With millions of people in America alone dealing with bipolar disorder, patients and physicians alike are always looking for the right course of treatment that can help a person. Some turn to marijuana to treat themselves. This is often done through illegal means—bipolar disorder is not a common qualifying condition for states’ medical cannabis programs. Despite this, a portion of people living with bipolar disorder insists on including cannabis in their treatment. 

Some studies suggest this is not a viable method. A June 2017 University of Washington study on the Effects of Marijuana on Mental Health found that “marijuana use and cannabis use disorders are markedly more prevalent among those with bipolar spectrum disorders compared to the general population and those with any mental illness.”

The analysis noted reports stating the contrary, its study found several adverse associations. It said:

“With regard to bipolar spectrum disorders, marijuana use or use disorder is associated with worsened affective episodes, psychotic symptoms, rapid cycling, suicide attempts, decreased long-term remission, poorer global functioning, and increased disability. Bipolar patients who stop using marijuana during manic/mixed episode have similar clinical and functional outcomes to those who never use marijuana, while continued use is associated with higher risk of recurrence and poorer functioning.”

Dr. Paul Song is an authority on medical cannabis, in addition to serving on the national board of Physicians for Health. He pointed towards additional studies that suggest cannabis use is not recommended for people with bipolar disorder. 

“Research has found that patients with bipolar disorder who use cannabis have increased manic and depressive episodes, poorer treatment outcomes and compliance, and present with their first manic episode at a younger age,” he said in a written response, also including the study linked here. 

Despite the suggestions of some of the medical field, many people have turned to cannabis anyway. In some cases, people began using cannabis to treat the symptoms they wouldn’t discover to be bipolar disorder until much later. In others, patients turned to cannabis as a medical option when they were diagnosed. 

Jeff Allen is a 27-year-old Cannabis patient from Ontario, Canada. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder nine years ago and began using cannabis two years after, at the age of 20. The musical theatre performer said his symptoms were so severe he couldn’t interact in public for nearly two years. 

In a written response, Allen said that cannabis saved his life and changed his world. “During the extremes, high or low, it’s as if my brain is a car, and the gas pedal is being pushed to the floor. After medicating, it’s as if that pedal comes off the floor, and brings my brain back under the speed limit.”

Vitale found herself struggling in her early twenties before seeking help at the suggestion of her then-boyfriend. Even then, the confirmation of her condition was not welcomed. “It was a long hard road to get there, but once I did at age 22, I immediately detested the bipolar diagnosis, forgetting that I had properly diagnosed myself a decade earlier. My doctor, at the day of my diagnosis, told me that I had been self-medicating with cannabis all through college.”

She said her drive home from the doctor was filled with anger, but that would change after taking a hit from her bowl before leaving home for class. She was no longer incensed. “In 10 minutes and one packed bowl, my mood had done a complete 180. I knew the doctors and 12-yr-old Melissa were right: I was bipolar.”

Cannabis advocate and patient Mickey Nulf began using pot as early as 11 but was not diagnosed with bipolar disorder until roughly 13 years later. That said, the now-29-year-old feels like he knew something about himself much before the diagnosis. “I feel even when I was that young, I was using cannabis to help with something but didn’t quite understand.” 

Nulf explained that for many years, his use would be in conjunction with prescribed pharmaceutical medications. However, he would choose to go with only cannabis around his diagnosis. 

“I have chosen to continue using cannabis because pills have always been temporary fixes or numbing to life where cannabis has allowed me to experience life. For the first time. I am happier overall. My dips aren’t as low, and my ups aren’t as scary. I’m able to regulate and able to enjoy what is around me instead of letting the world pass me by.”

Cannabis business owner Olivia Alexander is another to swear off meds. She did so using CBD. 

The founder of Kush Queen CBD products spent seven years combining pharmaceuticals to treat her bipolar disorder. She said this cycle left her immune system shot. Eventually, she’d begin using 100mg of CBD orally each day. She wrote how CBD plays a part in her care plan. “It was not as simple as pouring CBD on it, but with the combination of therapy, diet, exercise, and oral/topical CBD, I was able to come off medication.”

While Alexander and Nulf both chose not to use any pharmaceuticals, others have opted to keep both in their treatment plan. Alexander explained, “It’s important for me to note that in my experience, getting off meds is not the right choice for everyone. I have seen family members benefit from CBD in combination with prescription medications, overseen by a doctor.”

She added, “Mental health is not one size fits all and neither is CBD; however, it did work for me and change my life in the process.” 

The bottom line is to be sure to speak with medical professionals before making any decisions yourself. Some may struggle to find answers through their physicians, thanks in large part to ongoing U.S. regulations. This problem can lead to a person not trying cannabis as a treatment. Or, they could end up trying it in a less-than-legal way. 

“What I do is not sanctioned by the state that I live in,” says Vitale. “I purchase all my cannabis illegally, but the way I consume cannabis is not criminal. It saved my life and gave me the ability to be a normal human being.”

While that may sound fine, Vitale also emphasized that this won’t always be the case. She calls it “a beautiful allegory for life.” 

“There are some days when my mood, no matter what I do, will be depressed. Just like sometimes no matter how much you plan, life just throws shit at you all at once. You have to wade through hell sometimes, but it will always, always get better.”

The post Cannabis and Mental Health: Bipolar Disorder appeared first on High Times.

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1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.

CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.

2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?

Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.

3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. organic hemp seedsTypically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!

99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.

In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?

The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.

5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?

colorado growing operationWe feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.

6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?

Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.

7. What is the best method of use?

For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.

8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?

There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.

9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?

Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative CBD Oil Extractside effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.

10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?

As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.

When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.

The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.

For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.


11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?

In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.

12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?

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Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.

13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?

No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.

We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor thereCannawell.

14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?

Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†

Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.

15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?

We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. mjna message boardWe also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.

16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?

We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.

17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?

CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.

Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.

18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia

There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).

For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.