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Medical Marijuana and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

What Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is one of the many disorders that falls within the general category of anxiety disorders. Characterized by repeated and unwanted thoughts, feelings, fears, images or sensations that cannot be controlled, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can be disabling to a sufferer. The thoughts, feelings, ideas, fears, images or sensations can center around almost anything or anyone and make up the “obsessive” half of the disorder. The obsession then leads to an uncontrollable and urgent need to act on the obsession which creates the compulsive half of the disorder. Typically, the compulsion leads to a routine or to repeating the same act or ritual over and over again in a vain attempt to prevent the obsession from returning. A common example of an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder cycle is the fear of germs which leads someone to repeatedly wash their hands over and over again hundreds of times a day. Although we all are aware of germs and the need to wash our hands, an OCD sufferer will begin to feel severe anxiety if not able to do so at the exact moment that the obsession strikes, and in the precise manner that the compulsion dictates that it be accomplished. The cycle repeats again which leads to severe anxiety for anyone suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Medical Marijuana and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessions that make up an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can be virtually anything; however, there are some common obsessions. Fear of dirt or germs, fear of making mistakes or being embarrassed, fear of sinning or being punished and the need for order or symmetry are among the common obsessions. Common compulsions include constant washing or bathing, repeating words or phrases, repeated counting or arranging things, hoarding, and the need to perform tasks in a specific order or a specific number of times.

The cause of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is unknown. Some theories focus on physical trauma or infections that lead to changes in the brain while others focus on emotional trauma that led to the inability to cope. Traditional treatment for someone suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder generally combines extensive cognitive therapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, or tricyclic anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications.
Medical Marijuana and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Learning to manage an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can take years of intensive therapy depending on how severely the disorder manifests itself. For someone who has been all but debilitated by the disorder, prescription medications are often used to get him or her to the point of being able to manage the anxiety and depression associated with the disorder in order to give the therapy time to work. While many of the anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications can be effective, they frequently come with rather severe negative side-effects. The list of possible side-effects associated with SSRI and tricyclic anti-depressants is long; however, among the more common negative side-effects are nausea, headache, agitation, diarrhea, weight gain, insomnia and drowsiness. Anti-anxiety drugs, which work by slowing down brain activity, also come with a long list of potential side-effects including drowsiness, confusion, impaired thinking, blurred vision, memory loss and even depression.
Given the long list of common negative side-effects that accompany anti-depression and anti-anxiety medications, the use of medical marijuana as an alternative treatment option should be considered. Medical marijuana offer many of the same benefits that the prescription drugs offer without the negative side-effects.
Medical Marijuana and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Clinical Evidence
Marijuana has been used to treat both pain and anxiety for centuries by medical practitioners throughout the world. Recent studies have confirmed that medical marijuana is an effective anti-anxiety medication for some people suffering from anxiety related disorders. Although some study participants actually reported increased anxiety in recent studies, many reported a significant decrease in anxiety related symptoms when using medical marijuana. The disparate results are believed to be based on individual body chemistry.
Conventional SSRI medications work by producing a brain chemical known as serotonin. While medical marijuana does not actually produce serotonin, marijuana does effect a brain substance known as anandamide. When anandamide reacts with the THC found in marijuana, it produces a calming or soothing effect throughout the body which can decrease the anxiety felt by a Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder sufferer. By reducing anxiety, the compulsive urges associated with the disorder often diminish.
Studies have also shown that medical marijuana is an excellent anti-nausea drug. For a Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patient who continues to need some of the traditional medications, some of the negative side-effects such as nausea can be relieved by adding medical marijuana to the medication regime. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the major components of medical marijuana. Clinical studies have shown that CBD contains chemical properties that have been shown not only to reduce anxiety by also to alleviate nausea.

Medical Marijuana and Obsesive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessions that make up an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can be virtually anything; however, there are some common obsessions. Fear of dirt or germs, fear of making mistakes or being embarrassed, fear of sinning or being punished and the need for order or symmetry are among the common obsessions. Common compulsions include constant washing or bathing, repeating words or phrases, repeated counting or arranging things, hoarding, and the need to perform tasks in a specific order or a specific number of times.
The cause of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is unknown. Some theories focus on physical trauma or infections that lead to changes in the brain while others focus on emotional trauma that led to the inability to cope. Traditional treatment for someone suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder generally combines extensive cognitive therapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, or tricyclic anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Medical Marijuana and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Learning to manage an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can take years of intensive therapy depending on how severely the disorder manifests itself. For someone who has been all but debilitated by the disorder, prescription medications are often used to get him or her to the point of being able to manage the anxiety and depression associated with the disorder in order to give the therapy time to work. While many of the anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications can be effective, they frequently come with rather severe negative side-effects. The list of possible side-effects associated with SSRI and tricyclic anti-depressants is long; however, among the more common negative side-effects are nausea, headache, agitation, diarrhea, weight gain, insomnia and drowsiness. Anti-anxiety drugs, which work by slowing down brain activity, also come with a long list of potential side-effects including drowsiness, confusion, impaired thinking, blurred vision, memory loss and even depression.

Given the long list of common negative side-effects that accompany anti-depression and anti-anxiety medications, the use of medical marijuana as an alternative treatment option should be considered. Medical marijuana offer many of the same benefits that the prescription drugs offer without the negative side-effects.

Medical Marijuana and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Clinical Evidence

Marijuana has been used to treat both pain and anxiety for centuries by medical practitioners throughout the world. Recent studies have confirmed that medical marijuana is an effective anti-anxiety medication for some people suffering from anxiety related disorders. Although some study participants actually reported increased anxiety in recent studies, many reported a significant decrease in anxiety related symptoms when using medical marijuana. The disparate results are believed to be based on individual body chemistry.

Conventional SSRI medications work by producing a brain chemical known as serotonin. While medical marijuana does not actually produce serotonin, marijuana does effect a brain substance known as anandamide. When anandamide reacts with the THC found in marijuana, it produces a calming or soothing effect throughout the body which can decrease the anxiety felt by a Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder sufferer. By reducing anxiety, the compulsive urges associated with the disorder often diminish.

Studies have also shown that medical marijuana is an excellent anti-nausea drug. For a Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patient who continues to need some of the traditional medications, some of the negative side-effects such as nausea can be relieved by adding medical marijuana to the medication regime. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the major components of medical marijuana. Clinical studies have shown that CBD contains chemical properties that have been shown not only to reduce anxiety by also to alleviate nausea.

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