Much of the information regarding marijuana’s relationship to bipolar disorder and medications used to treat bipolar disorder, such as depakote, is anecdotal and unsupported.
Bipolar disorder, which is sometimes referred to as manic depression, is a chronic mental disorder characterized by alternating manic and depressive episodes. According the National Institute of Mental Health, substance abuse is common among those with bipolar disorder; though it is uncertain whether or not controlled substances, such as marijuana, treat symptoms of bipolar disorder or make them worse.
The Food and Drug Administration approves Depakote, also known as divalproex sodium or valproic acid, for treating mania in bipolar disorder. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, depakote, which is an anti-convulsant drug, is more commonly prescribed than the mood-stabilizer Lithium for the treatment of mania.
According to a study co-authored by Lester Grinspoon, MD and published in the “Journal of Psychoactive Drugs,” there is anecdotal evidence that marijuana may treat symptoms of bipolar disorder; however, more research is needed to fully understand the link between marijuana use and bipolar disorder.
According to Dr. Grinspoon, while one person’s manic symptoms may be treated with marijuana, it may make someone else’s symptoms worse. He claims there is no way to determine how marijuana will interact with medications used to treat bipolar disorder.
Marijuana is a Schedule I substance, meaning that its use is federally prohibited. Those who use marijuana for any reason risk criminal prosecution at the federal level.
Keith Vaughn is an artist and writer in Asheville, NC. Vaughn regularly writes essays and fine art reviews for Bees And Trees Blog. He also paints and exhibits his work regularly. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art.