Marijuana and Bipolar Disorder
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Marijuana and Bipolar Disorder (Todd)

Q: My girlfriend has recently been diagnosed with Bipolar, type 1. and she wants to continue to smoke marijuana, but I urge her not too, so my question is, is marijuana bad for that kind of a person and if so what will marijuana and other drugs do to a person with the disorder?

Dear Todd --
I am not an expert on the risks of marijuana overall.  I see people become somewhat paranoid or unmotivated, but a quick search of the medical literature did not seem to comment on whether those are recognized risks in larger samples than the patients I've seen.  A substance use expert could comment better on that.

That said, I can tell you I see a lot of folks who seem to be using MJ as a "mood stabilizer" -- i.e. they are literally using the herb to control their mood.  Often they use very tiny amounts, but usually daily.  They usually seem to stop using if we have success controlling their mood with typical ("Western Medicine") mood stabilizers, as though they found the drugs better than the herb.  These are very anecdotal observations and should be interpreted as such...

Dr. Phelps

Published November, 2000

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