Updated on April 7, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Medicine made with cannabidiol (CBD) can help you manage your OCD symptoms and live a more fulfilling life. Learn how CBD works with your system to improve your mood.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that causes you to have reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) that drive repetitive habits (compulsions). These unwanted obsessions and compulsions get in the way of everyday function. The patient feels distress when they have obsessions unless they complete their compulsions.
Common behavior patterns in OCD include:
These symptoms take a toll on your emotional health and everyday life. Compulsions and obsessions can take up a large part of your day, leaving less time to focus on other parts of your life. The stress of dealing with OCD symptoms can result in depression, fatigue and anxiety.
CBD can help you manage your obsessions and compulsions while improving your emotional symptoms. It helps your body regulate your mood and thinking patterns.
Everyone has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that creates and uses compounds that resemble the ones in marijuana. When you take cannabis medicine, the ECS uses its cannabinoids in similar ways to the cannabinoid compounds it produces. The ECS includes cannabinoids and the receptors that attach to them, CB1 and CB2.
Research suggests that our ability to switch between habit-based behaviors and new behaviors has a connection to the ECS. Scientists think that difficulties with the transition between behavior types influences conditions like OCD. Previous studies show that a lack of activity in the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) affects the switch. A study looked at the ECS’ impact on OFC activity. When they disabled the CB1 receptor in mice, the mice preferred goal-driven behavior over habitual actions. These results mean that cannabinoids could affect our OFC’s function.
While the authors of this study concluded that cannabinoids exacerbate OCD behaviors, other research suggests a more positive connection. Another study shows that instead of inhibiting brain activity, the CB1 receptor regulates it. The study on the OFC also received funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, suggesting a bias in its interpretation of the data.
In other words, we believe the information we have shows that we can tap into the CB1 receptor’s ability to manage OCD. We can use cannabinoids like CBD to regulate the ECS and relieve OCD symptoms.
CBD has a special interaction with your ECS. Most cannabinoids attach to the CB1 or CB2 receptors, while CBD increases the level of anandamide in your body. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid that binds to the CB1 receptors in your brain, spinal cord and nerves. By blocking the fatty acid that breaks down anandamide, CBD lets your body use more of this compound.
When anandamide binds to your CB1 receptors, it helps your brain regulate essential functions. As we learned from research, CB1 has a vital role to play in controlling habits and behaviors. The data we have so far looks promising for CBD’s potential as an OCD treatment.
We also know that CBD regulates your mood. When you have OCD, you can experience comorbid disorders like depression and anxiety. Anandamide, known as the “bliss molecule,” enhances your mood and calms you down. It also helps you sleep when your symptoms get in the way of going to bed.
You have two primary options for buying CBD medicine: over the counter or through your state’s medical marijuana program. Over-the-counter CBD products come from online stores or natural health shops. Patients can get relief from these items, but check the ingredients and seller before buying. If you qualify for your state’s medical marijuana program, you can get CBD at a dispensary. Recreational dispensaries also have CBD items for customers.
The right type of CBD medication for your symptoms depends on a variety of factors. If medicine with THC is legal for you, you can increase CBD’s benefits with a small amount of it. We recommend consulting a marijuana-trained doctor about your choices. They can help even if you don’t plan on joining a medical cannabis program. You can find one in your area using our doctor database.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we strive to give you the latest information on everything related to cannabis medicine. Check out our our full list of conditions.
Learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder’s symptoms.