People report using both medical marijuana and hemp-derived CBD oil for OCD. There are, however, significant differences between these two sources of CBD. CBD products from hemp contain only trace amounts of THC, so they won’t get you high. You might feel a sense of calm, balance, and have a slightly elevated mood, but you won’t experience any mind-altering effects.
However, keep in mind that CBD products aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). CBD is a versatile tool for improving one’s quality of life, but for the time being, the FDA classifies it as a health supplement, so there is no standardization when it comes to manufacturing practices or dosages. Therefore, it’s essential that you leave no stone unturned when researching your potential supplier. Doing so will help you ensure both the quality and safety of the products.
Other Natural Remedies for OCD
Tackling OCD is sometimes challenging, and often involves a combination of therapy and pharmacological means. However, people have recently started to explore natural approaches to cope with their symptoms without the side effects of prescription medication.
OCD is a troubling mental health condition that can be difficult to diagnose and treat with success. Cognitive-behavioral therapy generally works for OCD, but some people may be apprehensive about taking this approach due to a stigma associated with the mental diagnosis. Pharmaceuticals, such as antidepressants, are another possible option, but 50% of people do not respond to these medications.
Although we don’t yet completely understand what triggers OCD, we do know there are hereditary factors involved, as OCD is more likely to develop in people whose first-degree relatives have this disorder. Also, the likelihood of developing OCD is increased among people who have a history of sexual trauma or abuse in childhood.
However, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that CBD can be beneficial for the condition, particularly by helping with anxiety, repetitive behavior, and something called fear extinction.
They’re available in three strengths: 15 mg/ml (450 mg total), 30 mg/ml (900 mg total), 45 mg/ml (1350 mg total) as well as five flavors: unflavored, fresh lime, tranquil mint, orange bliss, and summer lemon.
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CBD dosage for OCD
This isn’t all that surprising since OCD is considered an anxiety disorder and CBD is perhaps best known for its ability to relieve anxiety symptoms.
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It varies by individual. The best approach is to start with a low dose such as 10 mg, wait a few hours to see how it affects you, and gradually increase as needed until you achieve the desired relief.
Multiple studies  have shown that CBD can reduce the effects of this kind of learned fear and promote its extinction.
Researchers have conducted a few animal studies with cannabinoids, yielding mixed results. Two studies, from 2010 and 2013, linked CBD with a reduction in compulsive-like marble-burying behavior among mice. However, as Dr. Feusner notes, the observed mouse behaviors like marble-burying or pathological grooming aren’t necessarily complete models for OCD in humans.
Although 2-3% of the population has OCD, it doesn’t get enough attention from researchers around the world. This is reflected in the fact that no new medication for OCD has been developed since 1997. Research gravitates toward conditions that are more prominent in our media, already receive better funding, and are at least a bit better understood—think depression and PTSD. There is always remarkable research emerging on OCD, but typically not on the same scale.
A 2017 study at Washington State University showed that OCD are “was positively associated with cannabis misuse, but not frequency of cannabis use or quantity.” But, as with other studies along the same lines, the researchers didn’t look at the effects of marijuana on their subjects.
Cannabis products and OCD
In 2015, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 22.2 million people had used marijuana in the past month—7% of the population. This made it the most commonly used drug in the United States, and usage was trending upward. As states continue to battle over medical and recreational legalization, marijuana is becoming an increasingly typical part of life in the United States. So far, recreational use has been legalized in ten states and in Washington D.C. Medical use, restricted to those with certain conditions, is now partially or completely legal in 36 states.
On the other hand, countless people with or without psychiatric disorders say that marijuana and/or CBD help them feel better. Much research, though in its early form, supports the effectiveness of both medical marijuana and CBD for specific conditions. But, as stated in the National Academies report, there’s only limited evidence for a small number of conditions.
Disclaimer: This post is an examination of research on marijuana and CBD usage among people with OCD and other mental health conditions. NOCD does not endorse any study or its results, or recommend the use of marijuana, CBD, or any psychoactive drug.
A 2016 study sheds additional light on the possible neurobiology of these effects. When CB1 receptors—which are blocked indirectly by CBD—were deleted in specific neurons, mice were not able to shift from “goal-directed” to “habitual” behavior (possibly an analogue to compulsions in humans). Those researchers concluded that mice were switching between goal-directed and habitual behaviors based on activity in their CB1 receptors.