Anti-Aging & Medical Cannabis Blog

There are many conditions that people use medical marijuana for in Maryland or Delaware. One condition that many people seem interested in Maryland or Delaware medical marijuana for is bipolar depression. Medical cannabis can help reduce pain, inflammation, anxiety, help with sleep, and more. This is the reason that the states of Maryland and Delaware legalized it for medical use.

In Maryland and Delaware, there are many conditions a person can have that qualifies them for a medical marijuana card, but some language in the law makes it uncertain for many patients if bipolar depression is a qualifying condition. In this post, we will focus on bipolar depression, what it is, if a person diagnosed with it is eligible for a medical marijuana card, and if marijuana can help. 

If you live in Maryland or Delaware and are considering getting your Maryland or Delaware medical marijuana card, we can help! Schedule a consultation today to get started in your medical card certification process.

What is Bipolar Depression? 

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), you may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior, and the ability to think clearly.

Episodes of mood swings may occur rarely or multiple times a year. While most people will experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any.

Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, you can manage your mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. 

It is important to recognize the stress these swings can place on a person and those around them. If you or a loved one seem to go through periods of euphoria and hyper-productivity followed by an emotional crash, speak with your doctor or a mental health professional.

Is Bipolar Depression A Maryland or Delaware Medical Marijuana Qualifying Condition?

Now that we have looked at what bipolar depression is you are probably wondering if it is a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Maryland or Delaware. The states have approved the use of medical marijuana for the following conditions and ailments:

  • Cachexia
  • Anorexia
  • Glaucoma
  • Wasting Syndrome
  • Severe Pain
  • Severe Nausea (including that caused by other medications for conditions)
  • Seizures
  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Chronic Pain
  • Any condition that is severe, for which other medical treatments have been ineffective, and if the symptoms “reasonably can be expected to be relieved” by the medical use of Cannabis.
  • A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that results in a patient being admitted into hospice or receiving palliative care

You will notice that bipolar depression is not specifically mentioned on this list so then you may think that you can not qualify for medical cannabis. However, one aspect of Maryland and Delaware’s law is key here regarding bipolar depression. The law allows a certifying provider to certify a patient for medical cannabis if the condition is severe, other treatments have been ineffective, and symptoms can be relieved through medical marijuana. So, the question is now can someone benefit from medical marijuana.

Can Medical Marijuana Benefit Bipolar Depression?

While the research is still relatively new about medical marijuana in general, the results so far are promising regarding medical marijuana’s ability to help with bipolar depression. One study found that marijuana use correlated with “significantly reduced ratings of depression, anxiety, and stress.” It also found that marijuana high in CBD was best for reducing symptoms of depression. This has been studied before, and a possible mechanism has previously been found. CBD may act on serotonin receptors in the brain, which are thought to have huge importance regarding depression. Specifically, to bipolar disorder, some studies have also had promising results, including a better and enhanced mood.

Research also shows that many that experience bipolar disorder often also experience an anxiety disorder as well. Anxiety medications are often prescribed for someone suffering from bipolar disorder. One of the most common ways to treat anxiety in patients is to manage the levels of a neurotransmitter in your brain called GABA. These levels are typically managed through a class of medications called benzodiazepines. Here is the problem, though, with this approach. You can build a tolerance to benzodiazepines, which means we often find patients taking more and more of them. The medications cause thousands of overdose deaths each year.

Preliminary research about medical marijuana and anxiety shows cannabis has similar effects to medications like benzodiazepines. The good news is, though, that medical marijuana for anxiety has those similar effects without the risk of overdose.

Medical marijuana also appears to lower levels of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is the hormone that is often associated with how much stress you are feeling.  If you have lowered cortisol levels you have a less severe reaction to stress, which can reduce anxiety.

Can I Get A Medical Card For Bipolar Depression?

So, the three criteria you would need to meet to get a medical card for bipolar depression are that the condition is serious, other treatments have not worked, and medical cannabis would have to be able to help. Well clearly anyone that has bipolar depression has a serious medical condition. It is also extremely likely that medications are either not effective or have become ineffective over time. Finally, the initial research clearly shows that medical marijuana can be effective at treating someone with bipolar depression.

This means that someone in Maryland or Delaware who is experiencing bipolar depression is eligible to be a medical marijuana patient. The ability to access medical cannabis opens a completely new and alternative treatment pathway for many experiencing bipolar depression.

If you are interested in getting medical marijuana for bipolar depression in Maryland or Delaware, you should consult a good medical cannabis provider like those at Green Relief Health. They will help walk you through the process to ensure that you are able to access medical cannabis as quickly and as easily as possible.


Ryan Nawrocki