Cannabis As An OCD Treatment?

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Cannabis OCD Treatment


There is no doubt about the medicinal benefits of cannabis for treating many different ailments. Sufferers of chronic pain, anxiety and depression have long been using the herb, sometimes with astonishing results. What about OCD? Can cannabis be an effective treatment for this understudied disorder? Let’s find out!

While scientific research in regard to the therapeutic use of cannabis is still ongoing, there is now agreement even among mainstream scientists about its medicinal benefits. Along with cannabis’ effectiveness in helping to treat physical ailments such as chronic pain, it has also shown potential in treating a variety of mental conditions from depression and anxiety to PTSD. How effective is cannabis as a treatment for OCD?

PSYCHEDELICS FOR TREATING MENTAL DISORDERS

The use of narcotics and psychedelics to treat mental disorders such as OCD isn’t new. Psilocybin, the active substance in magic mushrooms has recently been studied as an ingredient in nurturing the symptoms of an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Several research papers have explored the effectiveness of psilocybin on OCD, mostly with positive results. One such study conducted at the University of Arizona administered OCD patients with psilocybin in regular intervals. Not only was the treatment proven to be safe, but it also showed a significant reduction in the severity of the participants’ OCD symptoms.

Naturally, this leads us to question whether cannabis too can be an effective solution for OCD sufferers. But before we delve further into this matter, let us take a look at what OCD actually is.

WHAT IS OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)?

What Is OCD

Today, it is not uncommon for someone to refer to themselves or others as “being OCD.” Contrary to the actual disorder, these individuals are usually referencing a dedication to cleanliness and order. In actuality, “real” OCD isn’t just a quirky personality trait. In fact, it can be quite a serious condition, massively interrupting the lives of its sufferers.

OCD often comes along with a number of symptoms including obsessive behaviour, compulsions, and severe anxiety. For some OCD sufferers, obsessions (continuous ruminations on triggering thoughts) can become so severe that they are unable to work or engage in relationships and social interactions.

Irrational obsessions are one thing, but the resulting compulsions are the way the disorder is most recognised. These include repetitive behaviours that are believed to serve as coping mechanisms for troubling obsessions. Many times, the underlying instigator of OCD is fear, or rather, feared consequences. For example, someone may be obsessed with germs and disease, fearing it could harm them or their loved ones. This fear frequently leads to compulsive hand-washing and a fear of touching door knobs.

Another example concerns the OCD sufferer plagued with morbid thoughts who lives in fear of accidentally hurting themselves and others. This can be equally as taxing on the sufferer’s lifestyle. Today, OCD is normally treated with a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychotherapy and medication. Doctors often prescribe anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants since OCD is technically considered to be an anxiety disorder.

HOW CAN CANNABIS HELP OCD?

How Can Cannabis Help?

Let us start out with some caveats: Not all people who suffer from OCD find cannabis helpful. OCD manifests uniquely on different personas. While many people with OCD find that cannabis helps them to relax and enjoy a break from their obsessions, others find their symptoms to remain unchanged or even worsen with use.

It can be helpful to understand that experience level and patience play a role in any medication, prescription or cannabis, to work efficiently. Some strains have entirely different effects than others, which is why it is important to determine the right combination of THC and CBD to treat one’s OCD effectively.

INDICA VS. SATIVA STRAINS FOR OCD

Indica Vs. Sativa

At the root of this disorder are anxiety and fear. Unlike being chased by a wild animal or being physically ill, OCD is perpetuated by irrational thoughts, ones that do not serve its sufferers. As such, the types of OCD triggers are unpredictable and vary from person to person. In such cases, relaxing indica strains can possibly provide relief.

WHAT ABOUT SATIVAS?

Sativas produce a strong cerebral high that can at times provoke or exacerbate anxiety and paranoia. This is why sativas are normally not recommended for those suffering from anxiety disorders.

Indica strains sustain unique effects as compared to sativas. These varieties produce a relaxing body stone that “slows you down,” rather than stimulating your mind as a sativa would.

But with indicas as well, not all circumstances are ideal. Potent strains can at times cause sleepiness, making them not necessarily optimal for those who want to medicate during the day.

CBD VS. THC

THC Vs. CBD

One other difference among cannabis strains is their THC and CBD content. THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that’s responsible for inducing psychoactive effects. CBD, a similarly powerful yet non-psychoactive cannabinoid can work in synergy with THC to mediate its psychoactive outcomes. CBD, while having medicinal benefits, is a psycho-inactive substance that is used more as a medicinal substance than a recreational substance to get stoned off of.

It can be recommended that patients who suffer from anxiety choose a CBD-dominant strain over THC-rich varieties. It is noteworthy to mention that there are some users who swear by the beneficial effects of THC for their anxiety. While these reports are anecdotal, the euphoria experienced after ingesting THC may help OCD sufferers with latent or circumstantial depression.

THC

THC is the main psychoactive component in cannabis and the most abundant cannabinoid produced in the plant. THC is responsible for encouraging the typical “high” experienced when you smoke weed. Regarding THC and anxiety however, research hasn’t come to a conclusion just yet. Some people say that THC helped them with their anxiety while others report that it made their symptoms worse. Just like with prescription medication, not every option is ideal for all patients.

Some studies on THC’s anxiolytic effects have been performed, but the results of these studies are inconclusive. In one such case, half of the participants of one study reported that THC soothed their anxiety while the other half reported an increase in symptoms.

CBD

If you find that strains high in THC don’t work for treating OCD, you can always give CBD strains a try. CBD has mildly relaxing properties and is said to have potential as an effective anxiolytic and antipsychotic. It is because of these properties that pharmaceutical companies are now heavily engaged in CBD research.

Some studies suggest that CBD is also an anti-compulsive substance that may efficiently treat obsessive-compulsive behaviours. Like most CBD research up to this point, these studies have only been performed on animals, such as mice and rats. Further peer-reviewed scientific research studying actual human OCD subjects is necessary to confidently assert any opinion.

The good thing is that you don’t have to wait for years to see if CBD is right for you! While still regulated, CBD is legal in many countries and can be purchased in supplemental forms.

START WITH LOW DOSAGES OF THC

Time-tested advice to start with low doses of THC doesn’t just apply to those who are new to cannabis. Some of the research concerning cannabis’ interaction with anxiety suggests that dosage plays a large role. Low doses of THC can be very anxiolytic while higher doses can have the opposite effect.

High or frequent doses of THC may desensitize cannabinoid receptors, making its relaxing effects less noticeable. So start with low doses and don’t go for the strong “hardcore” stoner strains if you want to treat your OCD.

WHAT ABOUT EDIBLES?

Edibles

For medicinal cannabis users, edibles maintain some advantages over smoking marijuana. The effects of this consumption method result in more sustained effects to lengthen the time between medicating. Smoking provides faster relief, but the effects of the cannabinoids may only last an hour or two at most. Without having to light up numerous times throughout the day to get a potent dose of THC or CBD, simply use edibles to avoid unnecessary interruptions in your schedule.

WHAT ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE STRAINS FOR OCD?

Before we get into our recommendations, it is worth noting that the below strains are all very potent. They are anecdotally reported to help with the condition, but due to their potency, should be dealt with in low doses. Of course, due to the nature of the condition, effects will likely be specific to the individual.

QUERKLE

Querkle is an indica-dominant strain with a very high THC content that reaches concentrations up to 26%. This strain grows robustly and is recommended for those seeking above-average THC levels.

WHITE RHINO

White Rhino is a hybrid packed with staggering amounts of THC and CBD, which makes her a strain with huge medicinal potential!

CRITICAL KUSH

Critical Kush is an indica-dominant strain with tons (25%) of THC that can produce a very strong and very relaxing stone for OCD sufferers who know how to handle strength.

There is still a lot of room for development when it comes to scientific research on the effectiveness of treating OCD and anxiety with cannabis. However, with so many THC and CBD-rich strains available to choose from, patients can experiment individually with different varieties of cannabis to best fit their needs.

 

         
  Georg  

Written by: Georg
Based in Spain, Georg spends a lot of his time not only geeking out at his computer but in his garden as well. With a burning passion for growing cannabis and researching psychedelics, Georg is well versed in all things psychoactive.

 
 
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