Medical Cannabis has been used extensively in the last decade to treat a variety of anxiety-driven disorders. In particular, CBD (cannabidiol) stands out, because of its strong anti-anxiety potential. No two forms of anxiety are alike. Social anxiety differs vastly from PTSD, and for those suffering from any anxiety driven disorder, the experience is very different. The same can be said for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
What is OCD
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviours an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.
Most people have obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviours at some point in their lives, but that does not mean that we all have “some OCD.” In order for a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder to be made, this cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes so extreme that it consumes a lot of time and gets in the way of important activities that the person values.
Some examples of compulsions:
- Cleaning to reduce the fear that germs, dirt, or chemicals will “contaminate” them some spend many hours washing themselves or cleaning their surroundings. Some people spend many hours washing themselves or cleaning their surroundings.
- Repeating to dispel anxiety. Some people utter a name or phrase or repeat a behaviour several times. They know these repetitions won’t actually guard against injury but fear harm will occur if the repetitions aren’t done.
- Checking to reduce the fear of harming oneself or others by, for example, forgetting to lock the door or turn off the gas stove, some people develop checking rituals. Some people repeatedly retrace driving routes to be sure they haven’t hit anyone.
- Ordering and arranging to reduce discomfort. Some people like to put objects, such as books in a certain order, or arrange household items “just so,” or in a symmetric fashion.
- Mental compulsions in response to intrusive obsessive thoughts, some people silently pray or say phrases to reduce anxiety or prevent a dreaded future event
Other conditions sharing some features of OCD occur more frequently in family members of OCD patients. These include, for example, body dysmorphic disorder (preoccupation with imagined ugliness), hypochondriasis (preoccupation with physical illness), trichotillomania (hair pulling), some eating disorders such as binge eating disorder, and neurologically based disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome.
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Hoarding Disorder
- Hair-Pulling Disorder (Trichotillomania)
- Skin-Picking Disorder (Excoriation)
What role does Medical Cannabis Play in the Treatment of OCD?
There are more than 26,000 published scientific papers exploring cannabis and cannabinoids. Many of these studies have focused on the relationship between anxiety and Cannabidiol (CBD). In a current study, done by the New York State Psychiatric Institute, the focus is entirely on the effects of Marijuana on the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The study results are due to be released in October 2018, however, animal model studies have reinforced the anti-compulsive properties of CBD (cannabidiol), and have shown promising results in the treatment of OCD with CBD.
In another study, the anxiolytic effects of CBD were also reinforced, citing Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for Anxiety Disorders, among them Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). All studies done thus far have confirmed that CBD in lesser dosages has been more effective than when administered in higher dosages. This is why dosing accuracy is vitally important.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid constituent of cannabis that lacks the psychoactive effects of D9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD has broad therapeutic properties across a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, stemming from diverse central nervous system actions. In recent years, CBD has attracted increasing interest as a potential anxiolytic treatment.
The conclusion that one can draw from all these studies is that CBD, unlike THC, has some powerful anxiolytic effects and has proven highly effective in the treatment of anxiety and anxiety driven disorders. Always bear in mind that any oils high in THC could exacerbate, and in some instances even cause anxiety. Always ensure that any possible cannabis product that you are considering for the treatment of anxiety and anxiety driven disorders, including OCD, contains minimal THC and high levels of CBD.
To read further studies on the effects of CBD on anxiety:
Note: All content is shared for information purposes, not as medical advice. Always consult your doctor or specialist.