Living with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, can be annoying, but sometimes it can be debilitating. People who suffer from OCD think and do things they can’t control. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 2.2 million adults, or about 1% of Americans, have been diagnosed with OCD.
Usually, people treat OCD with psychotherapy and medication. Some of the medications can have negative, sometimes deadly side-effects like insomnia and an increase in suicidal thoughts. But did you know that CBD for OCD could soon be used to lessen symptoms of this disorder?
CBD, the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, is already being used to treat different forms of neurological disorders such as epilepsy. Researchers are now discovering that CBD may be able to help with lessening the symptoms of OCD. Though studies have only been done on animals thus far, CBD’s success in treating neurological disorders in humans gives us reason to be hopeful.
CBD for OCD at a Glance
- What the claims are: CBD can help lessen symptoms of OCD.
- What the studies show: Studies have shown that CBD had positive effects on mice that displayed obsessive-compulsive behaviors and anxiety. The negative behaviors were reduced after the mice received treatment with CBD mixtures.
- What the facts say: Most studies on CBD have been done in mice, but CBD is already being used to treat epilepsy in humans. It appears that CBD may have the same beneficial on other neurological disorders like OCD. However, more research is needed to know for sure.
About Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a type of mental illness characterized by recurring cycles of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted or intrusive thoughts or urges that trigger feelings of distress. The compulsions are various compulsive or repetitive actions a person takes to control the obsessive thoughts and cope with the feelings of distress. One can have both obsessions and compulsions.
In OCD, these obsessive and compulsive thoughts and actions can negatively affects a person’s personal life, job and relationships. For example, a person may feel that he or she needs to place something in a specific order, wash his or her hands for a specific number of times in a row, or need to wipe a table whenever a crumb of food falls on it.
Doctors know the brain scan of a person with OCD doesn’t look like a normal person’s brain scan. However, they don’t yet know if OCD it’s a neurological disorder caused by familial genes or trauma or stress.
There’s no cure for OCD, but treatment may help lessen symptoms. A doctor may prescribe medication, psychotherapy, or both. In the case of medication, there can be negative side-effects. For example, Anafranil, a commonly used drug in the treatment of OCD, may cause anticholinergic side effects like dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, delayed urination, and a rapid heartbeat. Paxil, another common drug, can cause weight gain in addition to the aforementioned anticholinergic side effects. In contrast, CBD has only a few minor side-effects like changes in appetite and fatigue.
Using CBD for OCD
Cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-psychotropic component of the cannabis plant, been shown to play a role in the modulation of behavior, according to research. It has also been found to reduce anxiety and improve the sensation of well-being. That’s because CBD affects our endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is known to regulate physiological functions in mammals in the central and peripheral nervous systems and in peripheral organs. CBD compounds attach to endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies which regulate cell function in many tissue types in the brain, skin, and other organs.
“Numerous preclinical studies indicate that CBD exerts therapeutic effects in animal models of a wide range of health disorders, including neuropsychiatric conditions,” researchers wrote in the journal PLOS One.
Research has also shown that CBD also induced antidepressant and anti-compulsive-like effects in rodents tested in compulsive and psychotic activities. A compound mix of fluorinated CBD was shown effective during behavioral evaluations in mice that showed anxiety, depression, and psychotic and compulsive behaviors.
CBD is already used in the treatment of neurological conditions like PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Today, plant extracts with high levels of CBD are already being administered to epileptic children as well. Because OCD is another neurological condition, studies show promise that CBD for OCD could soon become a form of treatment.
One study into CBD for OCD found that the anxiety-reducing action of CBD seems to be mediated by serotonin receptors the amygdala, which is involved in the regulation of stress responses. According to the study published in 2012 in the journal Recent Patents on CNS Drug Discovery, CBD has been shown to reduce amygdalar responses to fearful stimuli, a mechanism may be essential for the anxiety-reducing effects of this compound in social phobia. In addition, CBD has been shown to elicit anti-panic effects through the activation of receptors in a critical area for the modulation of emotional reactivity to stress.
Another study showed that CBD could also induce antidepressant and anti-compulsive-like effects in rodents that showed anxiety, depression, and psychotic and compulsive behaviors. The mice were tested in various different activities that induced compulsive and psychotic behaviors. A compound mix of fluorinated CBD was shown highly effective in modulating the mice’s behavioral activities. The impact of the anti-compulsive effects of the fluorinated CBD mix depended on CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors of the cannabinoid system.
Like previous CBD studies on epilepsy, current studies on CBD for OCD are showing high promise to one day be an effective help in reducing obsessive-compulsive behaviors in humans.
Despite millions of people already using cannabis and CBD for many different reasons, typically every drug comes with side-effects. CBD is usually well-tolerated by the human body because it’s non-psychoactive. That is, it doesn’t get you “high” like THC, another component found in cannabis.
The more common side-effects of CBD are minor, like are diarrhea, changes in appetite, and fatigue. CBD can also interact with other medications, which is a top concern for people already on medication for OCD. All that said, these side effects are generally uncommon and rather minor as compared to those of many pharmaceutical medications.
Another concern of CBD is that it’s not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, hence dosage may not be as accurate as stated in labeling. There have been cases of CBD oil containing THC, which would give an intoxicating effect, instead of the non-psychotropic effect of CBD.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder can sometimes be debilitating and medication can come with negative side-effects. Studies of CBD for OCD show its strong promise for possibly lessening symptoms of OCD in humans. That would benefit people not only in reducing the symptoms of
- The Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy
- Fluorinated Cannabidiol Derivatives: Enhancement of Activity in Mice Models Predictive of Anxiolytic, Antidepressant and Antipsychotic Effects.
- Treating obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Facts & Statistics
- Anticholinergic Drugs to Avoid in the Elderly
- Cannabinoid-related Agents in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
- OCD Medication Guide