Mood Stabilizers or Cannabis?
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I've been diagnosed with BPII. Ive been told I need to go on Moodstableizers IE Lithium, Valproate and so on. I would much rather go with what God gave us, but from my readings it looks like there is not a lot of studys done on canibus and mental illness. Is there any test groups out there. Or can we start one. And would mental illness qualify as a need for medical use. I'm sure alot of these questions you may not be able to answer. If you have any idea on where I could go to get data that would be great. Thanks Les

Hello Les --
First, you can work on deciding whether you really buy this "bipolar II" or not.  Check out my site on that, which I hope will help you with the decision.  You can ask your doc/provider for more information tailored to you as to why they think you have that, if you're leaning the other way.

Then, if you buy the diagnosis, you can think about treatment options.  Now, here's my bias.  Whatever you're going to put in your body probably has some risk.  You might as well focus on the ones where we know something about the risk.  And the other side of that coin is "benefit", and again you might as well start by focusing on the options where we know something about benefit -- that's basically what you're asking for, I understand, more information about benefits you might see from God's own creations.

Well, I could cop out and say lithium is His, because that's true: it's an element, just like sodium, right next door in the period table in fact.  It's in the water down in Ashland in my home state of Oregon.  Too much can make you way sick, though, so don't get carried away...

However, there are a lot more options to explore besides lithium, and for the moment almost all of them come from drug companies.  You'll have to decide what you think of that, but I can tell you we know a lot more about those molecules than anything else you're going to put in you.   Here's a website where you can read the latest research about other "naturally occurring elements" such as choline, inositol, omega-3 fatty acids and such, all of which have a teensy little bit of evidence to review.  Marijuana may have some mood-stabilizing properties based on what users tell me, but they pretty universally give it up in favor of the drug approach once they've had both, if they really have bipolar II (some other stuff that looks similar, I see people still using MJ some -- like post-traumatic stress disorder, for example).

Good luck with your research.

Dr. Phelps

Published November, 2000

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