How can CBD help with OCD?

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Anxiety can impact both the mind and body in different ways, and one of the most common anxiety disorders is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). 

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Canada, OCD is an anxiety disorder that affects about 1 in 40 adults and typically begins gradually in adolescence or early adulthood. OCD impacts both men and women almost equally and its causes are attributed to a combination of psychological, genetic and biological factors.

The term OCD is thrown around in everyday conversations when someone likes something done in a certain way for example, but OCD is a serious mental anxiety condition that can seriously impact a person’s day to day life and well-being. 

Traditional treatments for OCD include therapy and prescription medication, but CBD has also become an increasingly more common treatment for anxiety. CBD oil is being used to help those with anxiety and depression to help treat their symptoms and improve sleep.

Before getting into CBD for OCD, let’s break down what OCD is, how to recognize it and treat it.

What exactly is OCD?

OCD is defined as having unwanted and disturbing thoughts, images, or obsessions (sometimes referred to as urges) that intrude on a person’s mind and causes a great deal of anxiety or discomfort, which the person then tries to reduce by engaging in repetitive behaviours, rituals or in serious cases, compulsions.

The most common symptoms of OCD are recurring obsessions or compulsions that interfere with daily life. The symptoms will eat into a person’s time (an hour or more per day) and according to the American Psychiatric Association, cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning. 

Common OCD obsessions include but are not limited to; the fear of contamination, focus on perfection, like exactness and order, and repetitive doubtful thoughts.

Person washing their hands. OCD and CBD

Common compulsions can include excessive cleaning/washing, repeatedly checking things, ordering/arranging things in a certain way, hoarding, and/or mental rituals, such as counting or repeating words, or praying.

The compulsions or rituals are used to help deal with the obsessions. When these compulsions become overwhelming and time-consuming it leads to OCD. A therapist can help with the diagnosis and offer support and treatment.

Common OCD treatments usually involve a combination of counselling such as cognitive-behavioural therapy and antidepressant and/or anti-anxiety medication.

How can CBD treat OCD?

CBD is being used more and more to help treat mental illnesses anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It works with the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a group of receptors in our bodies’ central nervous system that specifically interact with cannabinoids to maintain homeostasis – basically, the ECS supports a healthy physical and mental balance. As the central nervous system helps regulate our body’s hormones (such as cortisol, the stress hormone, or melatonin, the sleep hormone) CBD works with the ECS to regulate hormone-related issues which is why CBD is so effective for those who suffer from anxiety and sleep disorders. 

Common anti-depressant medication prescribed for anxiety and OCD is Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)., norepinephrine and dopamine are chemicals in the brain that impact mood and feelings of well-being. SSRIs help to increase the activity of these specific neurotransmitters in the brain, helping to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

CBD works with the body in the same way naturally. One study found that CBD works to stimulate the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. The research found that in mice, CBD stimulates 5-HT1A, producing more serotonin without the need of SSRIs. 

A study published in Neurotherapeutics found preclinical evidence that supports CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorder, OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely. however, few studies have investigated chronic CBD dosing. While more research is needed, the study said, “Current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders, with the need for further study of chronic and therapeutic effects in relevant clinical populations.”

Benefits of CBD for OCD

CBD’s anti-stress effect makes it a viable treatment for those suffering from OCD and anxiety. While more research is still being done to find out its full effects, studies so far have shown positive effects of CBD for OCD, depression and other anxiety disorders, making it a value-add or alternative treatment to traditional medications. By creating that feeling of homeostasis for mental and physical balance, CBD helps to relax the body and mind, bringing equilibrium to a person’s overall mental health. 

Woman sitting on a couch with coffee and a book relaxing, CBD and OCD

 

While more scientific research is needed to see how CBD oil and SSRIs can work together, medical experts say CBD oil and SSRIs can be safely taken together. While it is best practice to check with your therapist and/or doctor to ensure CBD won’t interfere with any medication or treatment, CBD for OCD is an alternative treatment accessible for most individuals. It’s even been shown to help your pets with anxiety.

CBD is available in many different forms; CBD oil, edibles and topicals. CBD is safe for most people and does not require prescriptions. 

How much CBD to use for OCD symptoms

For those new, to CBD the recommended dose is 5-10 mg once or twice a day and increasing the dosage by ~5 mg every 2-3 days, or as needed to find the right dose for you. CBD is bi-phasic, meaning there is an optimal dose range for each individual regarding the use of CBD, but it’s important to note more is not necessarily better.

As the rituals or compulsions brought on by OCD can be time-consuming and can be triggered unpredictably, knowing the right CBD dose for your needs and when to take it will make CBD more effective for your needs.

Dosage is dependent on a variety of factors, including body weight, genetics, diet, metabolism, certain medications, medical conditions, and the quality and formulation of the CBD product. A typical dose range is between 10mg-40mg per day, typically spaced out in four-to-six-hour intervals.

Our CBD Quiz and Dosage chart is a good place to start in determining how much CBD to use for your OCD symptoms.

For CBD oil, each bottle has a different concentration of CBD. resolveCBD oil comes in 500 mg – 2,000 mg. If you’re just starting to use CBD oil the 500mg bottle is good enough. The tincture has measurements labelled on it so you know how much oil to take. The best way to consume CBD is sublingually (under the tongue), although you can consume CBD oil in your beverage or food of choice, however, it’s best to avoid excessively warm liquids as they limit the effectiveness of CBD.

If you prefer a CBD edible like a gummy or capsule, each package should be properly labelled with how much CBD is contained in the package as well as how much CBD is in each individual piece. CBD edibles are a convenient way to consume CBD as well as offer the convenience of accurate dosing.

Woman about to put a CBD gummy edible in her mouth to eat

Choosing the right type of CBD for you will depend on your preference and lifestyle, both CBD oil and CBD edibles offer the same relief for OCD, it’s whatever method works best for your routines. Taking CBD oil sublingually is one of the quickest ways to consume CBD, and you can start feeling the effects much more quickly than CBD edibles. 

Taking CBD oil under the tongue bypasses the digestive system entirely by being absorbed by mucous membranes located in the mouth. Skipping the metabolization process that occurs during ingestion allows the compound to enter the bloodstream more rapidly. Whereas CBD edibles have to pass through the digestive system along with other factors such as body weight, metabolism etc. edibles typically take effect within 45 minutes on the low end to up to 2 or 3 hours after being consumed.

When looking for the right CBD product for you, also consider the type of CBD. The three most common types include: Full spectrum, Broad spectrum and CBD isolate.

Full-spectrum CBD oil (used in resolveCBD products) all the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, including CBD and THC (<0.3%). Full-spectrum CBD is considered to be the most beneficial, as all the cannabinoids work together to amplify the benefits and effects of CBD (known as the entourage effect).

Broad spectrum contains all cannabinoids except THC and CBD isolate contains no other cannabinoids except CBD. 

Finding the right product and CBD dose may take a few trials, but there is enough anecdotal and scientific evidence validating CBD as a viable treatment for anxiety and OCD.

While there is no specific cure for OCD or anxiety, these mental disorders can be healthily managed with the right treatment and support. While science is still uncovering the full effects of CBD on OCD it adds another option to traditional methods of therapy and prescription medications and antidepressants. Whether CBD is new to you or you have tried it in the past, speak with your medical professional about how it can treat OCD and your anxiety symptoms.

 

Written by Rosalyn Solomon

DISCLAIMER: Information and products presented by resolveCBD are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment, nor is it intended to be a substitute or alternative for professional medical advice. Always consult with a licensed professional regarding medical treatment or possible interactions with prescribed drugs. Products are intended to be used as directed, by individuals who are 19 years of age or older.

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