Unfortunately, it is not at all unusual for people with bipolar disorder to convince themselves that they no longer need their medications, and, also unfortunately, this is a chronic illness that does not go away. Often, people miss some of the qualities of a manic state (such as high energy, quickly-developing ideas, great expectations and confidence) and hate to give it up. In all these ways, there is significant overlap with addiction, and with the risk of relapse. Cannabis is a frequent choice when people decide to medicate themselves; while cannabis does appear to have therapeutic properties for some conditions, it is not at all a treatment for bipolar disorder.
As with addiction, one can attempt to intervene, which typically involves several of the people closest to the individual who conceptualize his condition in the same way and give him the same message including a strong push toward getting help and continuing to use it. LCL staff would be glad to talk and brainstorm with you about that — call (617) 482-9600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, he may indeed need to run into some kind of consequence that he cannot ignore. We are all very fortunate to live in a free society, but one down-side is that we have no significant power to control or restrain the behavior and choices of others, even when they make awful choices.
Involuntary hospitalization can be an option for someone with bipolar illness, but only when his behavior becomes imminently dangerous or he is clearly way out of touch with reality. If you happen to know who his treatment provider is, the most direct way to make that happen would be a call to the provider (who will not be able to disclose information to you but can acquire information from you).
[Filed under Depression & Mood Problems]