Marijuana & Eskalith
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Q:  Eskalith & MJ


I was diagnosed with Bipolar II three years ago. I have been smoking maijuana for about five years now. I was originally on 600mg of Lithobid and did not notice any interactions between MJ and Lithium. I am now on 900mg of Eskalith.   The past few times I have "smoked" I have experience more of a 'trip' than a 'high'. Could this be due to the Eskalith being long acting? Also, is this a dangerous combination?   I ask because MJ helps balance things when I am very depressed.

Thank you,

ps. Thank you for this website. I have learned so much about BP.

Dear "Lil" -- 
Colleen and her colleagues will appreciate your thanks.  I'm not aware of any evidence to suggest that MJ is a problem while taking lithium any more than MJ is a problem when not taking lithium.  I'd be more concerned about your bipolar disorder accounting for that "trip" than the lithium, i.e. that your illness may have changed to make you more susceptible to this, as opposed to the lithium dose change accounting for it.   In other words, I've not heard other folks describe anything like this due to lithium, but I hear it all the time as their illness changes with time: something that used to work out fine does the opposite, that kind of thing. 

 Interesting that lithium seemed to "balance" things; you might get something like that effect from low dose Depakote added to lithium, a common combination, and there might be more benefit overall from the Depakote than the MJ, e.g. prevention of cycling into down's at all.   Good luck figuring all this out. 

Dr. Phelps  

Published December, 2001


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