Overview of Bipolar
Research has shown that some mood disorders, such as Bipolar Disorder, can run in families, with the potential to skip a generation between diagnosed cases. Beyond the known causes of chemical imbalances in the brain and the chemical transmitters not working properly between the cells of the brain, it isn't certain why some people are predisposed to bipolar disorder and others are not. Bipolar refers to the two poles of mood, similar to a battery. One is for the "positive" effects of mood and the other "negative". Usually the person with bipolar disorder has rapid swings in mood, cycling from high energy and inflated sense of self and even elation to severe depression and exhaustion that leaves them unwilling to crawl out of bed on any given day. The more rapid the cycle the more dangerous the situations for the patient with bipolar disorder as both extremes can result in death from suicides, accidents or carelessness because they think they can fly, run faster than a train, etc.
These mood cycles over the last fifty years were controlled with some very powerful drugs and even treated with electroshock therapy. "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" is all about mood disorders and bipolar treatments. Half the characters in the story suffer from a mood disorder. These barbaric treatments that left patients over-medicated and over-treated led the revolution to find "safer" drugs to treat these disorders. In the last thirty years, lithium, the very dangerous substance and the same substance used to charge batteries, became available in pill form to treat bipolar disorder. Its very promising effects kept it on the market and it's still in use today despite the fact that studies have revealed that long term use of lithium damages the speech and thought processes of the brain. Patients who regularly take lithium have to have regular blood draws to check for toxic levels of the drug in their livers/systems.
Findings: Effects of Cannabis on Bipolar
But these patients don't have to even start lithium, ever. The two main strains of medical marijuana, indica and sativa, can be used together or separately to treat the symptoms as the patient starts to cycle. Indica is often used to calm, alleviate anxiety, and relieve insomnia, which could be used when the patient is experiencing a high cycle and can't be bothered to come down to sleep, eat, or focus. Sativa elevates mood, and acts as a stimulant; most effective for the lows in the person with bipolar disorder. So much relief could be gained and without any harm to the body's organs or long term damage to the brain and liver through the use of medical marijuana.