How Helpful Is CBD As an OCD Treatment?
OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is a highly prevalent mental disorder that affects people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. In fact, it’s estimated that one of every 100 adults (roughly two to three million people) have OCD in the United States alone. Depending on the severity of the disorder, it can be incredibly debilitating.
OCD is classified as when a pattern of obsessive and compulsive actions emerges, hence the name. Obsessive thoughts can be incredibly intruding and make concentrating on the task at hand very difficult. Compulsive behaviors are often a direct result of these thoughts and are often an attempt to make them go away.
As people grow more conscious of their health and wellbeing, they are starting to turn towards alternative therapies when it comes to dealing with conditions such as OCD. One of the most promising alternative therapies is cannabidiol or CBD.
What Is CBD?
Before we get into what exactly OCD is and how CBD can help, we should go over what CBD is and how it works.
CBD is one of the main cannabinoids in marijuana and hemp plants. Unlike its sister cannabinoid, THC, CBD is not psychoactive and apparently produces no psychological effects. This is part of what makes it such a promising alternative therapy.
Within the body, there is a large regulatory system called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short. The ECS is comprised of a multitude of receptors spread throughout the body. These receptors can be activated either by the body’s naturally occurring endocannabinoids or by phytocannabinoids such as CBD and THC.
CBD and THC primarily interact with two receptors within the ECS: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and nervous system, while CB2 receptors are mostly located in the immune system. However, unlike THC, CBD does not directly bind to these receptors (which is why it’s not considered to be psychoactive). Instead, CBD stimulates the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids to bind with and activate the receptors. This, in turn, encourages them to do more of what they normally do.
Because CBD directly interacts with the ECS, it is able to offer numerous medicinal benefits and evidence suggests that it has a number of potential therapeutic applications.
In fact, initial studies have already found CBD to offer the following properties:
- Antiemetic (reduces nausea and vomiting)
- Anticonvulsant (suppresses seizure activity)
- Anxiolytic (combats anxiety)
- Analgesic (relieves pain)
What are the Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
In OCD symptomatology, there are considered to be four main categories: intrusive thoughts, hoarding, constant checking and fear of contamination. Each category of OCD is characterized by different symptoms and behaviors. However, all categories display the obsessive and compulsive components.
In general, symptoms of obsession include:
- Repeating unwanted ideas
- Fear of contamination (i.e. germs, bacteria, etc.)
- Aggressive impulses
- Images of hurting loved ones
- Thinking you might cause harm to others or that you may be harmed
- Intense and persistent sexual thoughts
Common symptoms of compulsion include:
- Constant checking and/or counting, such as checking the locks on the door
- Repeating tasks, such as cleaning certain items over and over again, or washing your hands repeatedly
- Arranging items to face in a certain direction multiple times
How Can CBD Help OCD?
A study published in the October 2013 issue of Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology had very interesting results when it came to CBD and its potential with OCD. In this study, researchers injected rats with Meta-chloro-phenyl-piperazine (mCPP). This is a compound found in the drug MDMA (commonly referred to as “ecstasy”).
In mammals, such as rats and humans, this compound can induce panic attacks and OCD-like tendencies. After the rats were injected, they were placed in a sand-filled cage with a number of marbles. The rats immediately began burying the marbles, which is an OCD symptom.
After this reaction was observed, the rats were given CBD. The results were astonishing: nearly immediately after the administration of the CBD the rats’ behavior changed and basically went back to normal.
Other Anxiety Disorders CBD Mediates
Evidence suggests CBD may be incredibly beneficial for a number of anxiety-related disorders in addition to OCD such as PTSD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Many people have found immense relief after using CBD for these disorders, including the customer below.
“I purchased the Cinnamint CBD for my daughter who struggles with severe anxiety. I also purchased the citrus liposomal CBD for my autistic 8-year-old grandson, who also has severe anxiety. I have to say that it's working! My grandson went through a horrible year last year being put on several anti-anxiety meds to "help" him deal with his overstimulation issues in school. Nothing worked and only served to make matters worse. With the CBD he's had no awful side effects. He's able to fall asleep, and that's a BIG deal!! From infancy he's never been able to fall asleep at bedtime. I can't tell you how much of a gift that is for all of us. We love your products. Thank you for making them available to us. We love what you do! Many thanks!” - Jennifer A.
CBD is a truly powerful nutrient that has the ability to support mediation of a number of conditions, including debilitating anxiety disorders such as OCD. By offering direct relief from many of the most common symptoms of OCD, CBD is able to provide a natural alternative to commercial pharmaceuticals.