Acute effects of cannabinoids on symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder: A human laboratory study
Background: Preclinical data implicate the endocannabinoid system in the pathology underlying obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), while survey data have linked OCD symptoms to increased cannabis use. Cannabis products are increasingly marketed as treatments for anxiety and other OCD-related symptoms. Yet, few studies have tested the acute effects of cannabis on psychiatric symptoms in humans.
Methods: We recruited 14 adults with OCD and prior experience using cannabis to enter a randomized, placebo-controlled, human laboratory study to compare the effects on OCD symptoms of cannabis containing varying concentrations of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) on OCD symptoms to placebo. We used a within-subjects design to increase statistical power. Across three laboratory sessions, participants smoked three cannabis varietals in random order: placebo (0% THC/0% CBD); THC (7.0% THC/0.18% CBD); and CBD (0.4% THC/10.4% CBD). We analyzed acute changes in OCD symptoms, state anxiety, cardiovascular measures, and drug-related effects (e.g., euphoria) as a function of varietal.
Results: Twelve participants completed the study. THC increased heart rate, blood pressure, and intoxication compared with CBD and placebo. Self-reported OCD symptoms and anxiety decreased over time in all three conditions. Although OCD symptoms did not vary as a function of cannabis varietal, state anxiety was significantly lower immediately after placebo administration relative to both THC and CBD.
Conclusions: This is the first placebo-controlled investigation of cannabis in adults with OCD. The data suggest that smoked cannabis, whether containing primarily THC or CBD, has little acute impact on OCD symptoms and yields smaller reductions in anxiety compared to placebo.
Keywords: THC; anxiety; cannabidiol; cannabinoids; cannabis; marijuana; obsessive-compulsive disorder.
CBD for OCD: Can CBD Oil Help With OCD Symptoms?
OCD, better known as obsessive-compulsive disorder, is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions among people in the United States. Being the fourth most common mental disorder, it is more likely to develop in women than in men. Although OCD doesn’t have an identified cause (yet), symptoms of anxiety, worry, and fear can trigger and aggravate this condition.
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.
Many of those people have found relief in CBD oil.
CBD has been touted for its anxiolytic (anxiety) and stress-reducing properties in several scientific publications, so it’s natural to wonder if it can help with OCD and its pesky symptoms.
Today, we’ll cover the potential health benefits of taking CBD for OCD. We’ll also elaborate on the most effective ways to use CBD for this condition, and answer the most frequently asked questions in this subject.
Does CBD Help with OCD?
When you browse the web searching for the evidence on the efficacy of CBD for OCD, you’ll come across dozens — if not hundreds — of anecdotal reports from users claiming CBD oil has helped them at least manage their condition.
The viability of CBD in treating the symptoms of OCD is also well backed by scientific literature.
For example, a 2015 study published in Neurotherapeutics shows plenty of evidence that CBD may be an effective treatment for OCD (1). The study has only confirmed what earlier studies conducted between 1999–2002 have suggested (2).
The symptoms of OCD affect the limbic region of the brain, which controls our emotions and how we process them. Other conditions where the limbic region is affected include ADHD, dementia, and epilepsy.
The above conditions likely derive from endocannabinoid deficiencies resulting from the fast breakdown of anandamide. Anandamide is one of the two major endogenous cannabinoids (produced in the body) and a natural antidepressant. Its name stems from the Sanskrit word ‘ananda,’ which means Divine Joy. Medical researchers also refer to anandamide as the happiness hormone, as it regulates mood as well as sensations of stress, fear, and happiness.
CBD interacts with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the master regulatory network in all mammals. The ECS keeps the body in a state of homeostasis (internal balance) by regulating the activity of other system organs and their functions. Through that interaction, CBD increases the production signaling of anandamide while slowing down its breakdown.
With more anandamide circulating in the bloodstream, the ECS may efficiently restore homeostasis without suffering from cannabinoid deficiencies.
Studies on Using CBD to Cope with OCD Symptoms
Anecdotal stories, as well as independent studies and a few clinical trials, have provided evidence of CBD’s therapeutic potential in treating the following symptoms of OCD:
- Anxiety: CBD oil has already been tested as a treatment for anxiety disorders, depression, insomnia, and PTSD in several experimental models (3–5). The use of CBD is particularly popular for people with mental health issues, such as panic attacks, social phobias, and general anxiety disorder.
- Convulsions: Medical cannabis high in CBD, as well as hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD oil, have successfully been used in the management of convulsions, seizures, and muscle spasms (6–7). The neuroleptic effects of CBD allow it to reduce the frequency and severity of obsessive-compulsive behaviors in adults, children, and even pets.
- Psychosis: CBD has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of some chronic mental conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and manic depression (8). Research shows that CBD supplementation shouldn’t serve as a replacement of the existing antipsychotic system, but rather as a viable addition.
The combination of anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and anti-epileptic properties make CBD a viable choice for treating a wide range of anxiety disorders. What’s more important, the use of CBD for the symptoms of OCD may reduce the risks associated with the hereditary and neurological aspects.
Which Type of CBD Products Work Best for OCD?
CBD is available in many different forms, including oils, capsules, edibles, vapes, topicals, and even pet products.
The most common form of CBD is CBD oil. This product contains a hemp extract suspended in a carrier oil, and it uses a sublingual route of administration. In other words, the user squeezes out the desired amount of CBD oil, places the dose under the tongue, and holds it there for up to 60 seconds before swallowing. This way, the CBD will absorb directly into the bloodstream through tiny blood vessels located in the mouth. CBD oil is a relatively fast-acting product; the first effects should be noticeable within 15–30 minutes after administration, lasting up to 6 hours.
If you dislike the botanical taste of full-spectrum CBD, you can try out capsules or gummies. Both are oral products, so they need to be processed by your digestive system before taking effect. As a result, oral products have a delayed onset, but since the CBD is released gradually into the bloodstream, the effects last longer than with CBD oil. CBD capsules and gummies are better for people who travel a lot and those who prefer a fixed dose of cannabidiol per serving.
Another way to take CBD for OCD is through vaping. CBD vape pens contain CBD E-liquid, which is a combination of CBD oil and thinning agents, such as vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), or MCT oil. Vaporized CBD offers the highest bioavailability of all consumption methods, meaning it squeezes the most CBD out of your product because the cannabinoid is absorbed through the lungs. CBD vapes also provide the fastest effects; they usually show up within 5–10 minutes after inhalation, lasting up to 3–4 hours.
The choice of your go-to method largely depends on your lifestyle. If you’re looking for a product that will be good for both general supplementation and relatively fast relief from OCD symptoms, CBD oil will be the best bet. Capsules (as mentioned) are better suited for busy people who need their daily dose of CBD on the go. Vapes, in turn, are catered towards users who prefer the ‘acute’ use of CBD and are looking to maximize the amount of CBD they get from a single dose.
Medical Marijuana vs CBD Oil for OCD
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.
Products sourced from marijuana contain a considerable amount of THC. They induce a euphoric state of mind accompanied by a boost of appetite, deep relaxation, and the heightening of senses. This set of effects is known as the signature marijuana high. In low to moderate doses, THC can reduce anxiety and stress; however, higher amounts of THC are associated with aggravated feelings of anxiety and paranoid thinking patterns.
Therefore, hemp-derived CBD is a safer bet for people with OCD unless they carefully pay attention to the dosage of medical marijuana products. CBD oil from hemp is also more available in the US, as hemp was legalized on the federal level under the 2018 Farm Bill signed by President Trump.
Dosage: How Much CBD Oil to Take for OCD
Everybody reacts differently to CBD oil, so the optimal dosage will vary from person to person. There aren’t official dosage recommendations in place because the FDA doesn’t recognize the medicinal value of hemp-derived products.
For now, CBD products are categorized as health supplements; in other words, the CBD market is unregulated when it comes to the manufacturing and labeling of the products. Some companies provide their own dosage recommendations based on several simple criteria. You can use them as a good starting point, but they won’t guarantee the best results for your situation.
The optimal amount of CBD oil for each individual depends on factors like weight, age, gender, metabolism, the severity of symptoms, anticipated effects, and even the sensitivity of one’s endocannabinoid system.
The best approach to taking CBD oil for OCD is to start low and go slow. A good starting point is about 5 mg of CBD throughout the day. You can take your dose once at a time or split it throughout the day (e.g. 2 x 2.5 mg). Increase the amount of CBD oil gradually, one week after another, until you reach the dose that eases your symptoms. From there, you can lock in at that dosage and stick to it; people don’t build a tolerance to CBD.
It’s useful to keep a journal or log where you will write down each dose and how you feel after taking it. We also recommend that you consult a doctor experienced in cannabis use if you’re looking for professional advice and want to avoid potential CBD-drug interactions.
Other Natural Remedies for OCD
Looking for other natural remedies that could enhance the effects of CBD oil on your OCS? Here’s a short list of some useful compounds:
- N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) – this natural amino acid effectively reduces the hyperactivity of glutamate in the brain, a neurotransmitter that may contribute to some cases of OCD (9). It also produces a potent antioxidant known as glutathione. A few recent studies have discovered that NAC may be an effective natural remedy for OCD and other mental conditions, such as depression.
- Inositol – Inositol is a nutrient and a member of the vitamin B family, primarily found in phytic acid, one of the ingredients of fiber. Inositol is also naturally present in nuts, seeds, whole grains, and citrus fruits. In one study, inositol was found to help alleviate OCD symptoms in thirteen patients with this condition compared to the placebo group (10).
- St John’s Wort – in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, St John’s Wort has concluded an effective treatment for OCD. The study involved a 12-week trial where patients were treated with 450 mg of St John’s wort twice daily. After evaluating the effects, it turned out that 42% of the subject rated “much” or “very much improved” and 50% described their symptoms as “minimally improved.” (11)
- 5 HTP – 5 HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is an amino acid necessary for the synthesis of serotonin. Considering that serotonin-promoting tricyclic antidepressants and SSRIs are used for the treatment of OCD, 5 HTP may also be an effective option. However, this needs to be clinically studied because, despite the theoretical possibility and anecdotal reports from patients and nutritional practitioners, we simply lack research that would bring this subject closer to us.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids – deficiencies in omega 3 fatty acids are common among people suffering from depression and anxiety-related disorders. There’s a growing body of evidence that supplementation with fish oil, which is a rich source of highly bioavailable omega 3 acids, has a beneficial effect on mental functioning, concentration, mood, and stress management. Thus, many people decide to include fish oil and other omega-3-rich products in their diet to boost the effectiveness of their OCD treatment.
Understanding OCD: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental condition that causes a person to experience obsessive thoughts that trigger anxiety, resulting in compulsions to perform a certain behavior. For example, people with OCD may be bothered by intrusive thoughts that the door isn’t locked when they have left the house. This may happen even when they triple-checked it. An anxious thought leads to compulsive behavior, which manifests in returning home to check if the door is really locked.
What are the symptoms of OCD?
The two main symptoms of OCSD include obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.
When it comes to obsessive thoughts, these vary between individuals, falling into several different categories most of the time.
Examples of obsessive thoughts:
- Fear of viruses and contamination
- Having things organized in a particular manner
- Fear of harming someone
- Fear of forgetting about important things and events
- Inability to make decisions
- Obsession with certain symbols being good or bad
People engage in compulsive behaviors as a way to cope with the anxiety they experience from obsessive thoughts. A person will often repeat these behaviors time and again as short-term means of reducing their anxiety levels.
Examples of compulsive behaviors:
- Excessive cleaning
- Excessive hand washing
- Compulsive counting
- Repeating certain phrases
- Repeating activities
- Continually checking that things are done
Who Is Particularly Prone to Develop OCD?
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.
How Is OCD Typically Treated?
People with OCD may try to avoid situations in which they know they might demonstrate compulsive behaviors due to their obsessive thoughts. In addition, some may turn to alcohol or drugs as a misguided attempt to self-treat.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is by far the most common treatment for OCD. It helps people reach their underlying fears as well as address them. Other forms of treatment include antidepressant medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). However, about 50% of people fail to respond to SSRIs. The next type of medication involves antipsychotic drugs. Studies show conflicting results for both SSRIs and antipsychotic medications in OCD treatments.
Final Verdict: Is CBD a Valid Option for OCD?
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.
CBD is the new promising molecule for the treatment of OCD and its symptoms. CBD has been shown to influence several aspects of our mental health, including feelings of anxiety, fear, panic, and compulsion. Since anxiety is one of the core symptoms of OCD, you can use CBD oil to curb it effectively without the side effects of pharmacological treatment. CBD has an excellent safety profile and is well tolerated by humans.
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.
- Blessing, Esther M et al. “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.” Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics vol. 12,4 (2015): 825-36. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
- Boshuisen, Marjolein L et al. “rCBF differences between panic disorder patients and control subjects during anticipatory anxiety and rest.” Biological psychiatry vol. 52,2 (2002): 126-35. doi:10.1016/s0006-3223(02)01355-0
- Blessing, Esther M et al. “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.” Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics vol. 12,4 (2015): 825-36. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
- de Mello Schier, Alexandre R et al. “Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa.” CNS & neurological disorders drug targets vol. 13,6 (2014): 953-60. doi:10.2174/1871527313666140612114838
- Shannon, Scott, and Janet Opila-Lehman. “Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report.” The Permanente journal vol. 20,4 (2016): 16-005. doi:10.7812/TPP/16-005
- Devinsky, Orrin et al. “Effect of Cannabidiol on Drop Seizures in the Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.” The New England journal of medicine vol. 378,20 (2018): 1888-1897. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1714631
- Malfitano, Anna Maria et al. “Cannabinoids in the management of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment vol. 4,5 (2008): 847-53. doi:10.2147/ndt.s3208
- Davies, Cathy, and Sagnik Bhattacharyya. “Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for psychosis.” Therapeutic advances in psychopharmacology vol. 9 2045125319881916. 8 Nov. 2019, doi:10.1177/2045125319881916
- Grant, Jon E et al. “N-acetylcysteine, a glutamate modulator, in the treatment of trichotillomania: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Archives of general psychiatry vol. 66,7 (2009): 756-63. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.60
- Fux M, Levine J, Aviv A, Belmaker RH. Inositol treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 1996 Sep;153(9):1219-1221. DOI: 10.1176/ajp.153.9.1219.
- Taylor, L H, and K A Kobak. “An open-label trial of St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) in obsessive-compulsive disorder.” The Journal of clinical psychiatry vol. 61,8 (2000): 575-8. doi:10.4088/jcp.v61n0806
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.
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Using CBD for OCD: Why (and How) It’s Effective
In recent years, scientific research has been able to confirm that the anxiety disorder Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) is more common than originally thought. According to recent reports by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1.2% of all US adults have been diagnosed with OCD – with over 80% of the affected suffering moderate to serious impairment. As cannabis and hemp are legalized in a growing number of states, many people are turning to CBD oil as a new treatment to ease OCD symptoms.
Our Top Choices: CBD for OCD
There are literally thousands of CBD brands out there. Knowing which brands provide the best quality and value for money is becoming increasingly difficult.
Since starting Healthy Minded, we’ve published over 20 in-depth articles related to anxiety disorders (including OCD) and spent hundreds of hours researching over 20 different brands of CBD.
We’ve had some bad experiences with some CBD brands (we’ll save those for another article). Our recommendations will make sure you can treat your OCD symptoms with the correct dosage for you, without needing to worry if the potency quoted on a label is accurate or not.
The products recommended on this page are, in our opinion, the highest quality CBD oils from the most reputable brands currently available.
- BEST OVERALL:Koi CBD – Broad Spectrum CBD Tincture
- BEST TASTING:Joy Organics Full Spectrum Organic CBD Tincture
- BEST VALUE:CBDfx – CBD + CBN Oil Calming Tincture
- BEST GUMMIES:Diamond CBD – Yum Yum Full-Spectrum CBD Relax Cubes
Before we get into the details of why we’ve chosen each of these products, let’s go over what we currently know about using CBD oil for OCD and how it might relieve symptoms.
What We Know About CBD for OCD Research
Independent studies, as well as anecdotal history, have provided clear evidence of cannabidiol’s ability to supplement the endocannabinoid system, and provide many medicinal and therapeutic qualities. Several of these qualities benefit OCD directly, such as
- Anxiolytic CBD oil has already been used to treat depression in animal testing, even treating insomnia and stress in children with PTSD. The use of CBD is also shown to help relieve symptoms of other anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, general anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
- Anti-Epileptic strains of medical cannabis high in CBD have successfully been used in treating conditions that cause convulsions, seizures and muscle spasms. Because of its neuroleptic effects, CBD is able to reduce the severity of obsessive and/or compulsive behaviors in children, adults and even pets.
- Antipsychotic CBD is also shown to effectively reduce the symptoms of more chronic conditions such as schizophrenia, manic depression and bipolar disorder. Studies show that CBD medication is not a suitable replacement, but a viable addition to existing antipsychotic treatment.
In combination, CBD’s anxiolytic, anti-epileptic and antipsychotic qualities make it a good choice for treating a broad spectrum of anxiety symptoms and disorders. More importantly, supplementing with CBD may reduce risks associated with the neurological and genetic/hereditary aspects (discussed above) of OCD.
CBD for OCD Thoughts: Does It Really Help?
The viability of cannabidiol in treating symptoms of OCD is more than speculation in the medical community. A 2015 neurotherapeutics study by Esther Blessing and Maria Steenkamp provides plenty of evidence that CBD for OCD is effective. Other supporting studies include Boshuisen et al (2002), Bystritsky et al (2001), Osuch et al (2001) and Schneider et al (1999).
Because they affect the limbic region of the brain, the symptoms from disorders like OCD, epilepsy, dementia and ADHD can all be improved with cannabidiol supplementation. CBD also increases production signaling while inhibiting the breakdown of anandamide. Anandamide is a natural antidepressant named after the Sanskrit for Divine Joy and is commonly known as the “happiness hormone” because of its ability to regulate mood as well as sensations of fear, stress and happiness.
The Entourage Effect
When used alongside other compounds within the cannabis or hemp plant, CBD may actually be more effective than when used alone.
Several studies have shown that various terpenes have anti-anxiety effects of their own. The interaction between CBD and these terpenes may provide a synergistic effect. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect.
For this reason, many people prefer to choose broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum CBD oils and claim that these provide more relief than CBD isolate alone.
Which CBD Oil Should You Buy for OCD?
As CBD is a relatively new industry, picking a CBD oil for the symptoms of OCD can feel a bit like it’s the wild west out there.
We’ve put together this list of three CBD oils from companies that we trust and that we’re confident you’ll be satisfied with.
Broad Spectrum CBD Tincture – Koi Naturals
Our Number 1 Choice
A CBD-expert colleague sent multiple products to labs and found Koi to be the most reliable in its labeling.
Koi’s Hemp Extract Tinctures have been “formulated to provide a complete and restorative experience and to bring balance in your life.”
They contain less than 0.001% of THC (so you needn’t worry if THC has an unpleasant effect on you), and as it’s a broad spectrum product it contains naturally occurring terpenes and other phytocannabinoids. This is an ideal CBD oil for Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
There are four strengths available (250mg, 500mg, 1000mg, and 2000mg).
If you’re splashing out on 2000mg CBD you want to be sure you’re getting every milligram of CBD you’ve paid for – fortunately every one of Koi’s products has an independent Certificate of Analysis from CannaSafe.
Full Spectrum Organic CBD Tincture – Joy Organics
If you’re like us, then you dread the taste of unflavored CBD oil under the tongue. Fortunately, Joy Organics knows how you feel and has produced the best tasting flavors we’ve tried.
And don’t just take our word for it. Their tinctures frequently come out top on nearly all of the top 10 lists we’ve seen online.
Fresh Lime, Tranquil Mint, Orange Bliss, and Summer Lemon flavors are all available in various strengths and sizes.
If you’re suffering from OCD and anxiety-related symptoms, these calming flavors immediately get you in the right frame of mind to reclaim some peace and calm.
Joy Organics has been around since 2018 and was one of the first CBD brands that we had contact with. They also provide copies of all their Certificates of Analysis (COAs) and third-party reports, so you’re always getting a high-quality product.
CBD + CBN Oil Calming Tincture – CBDfx
Best Value for Money
Not only great value for money, but CBDfx has also produced a propriety blend of CBN and terpenes intended to calm you down and keep you that way.
Each bottle contains CBN (aka “the relaxation cannabinoid”) which binds to your CB1 receptors and may produce a sedative-like effect.
Even with these added extras, CBDfx’s CBD oil tinctures are super affordable AND they tick all the boxes when it comes to Certificates of Analysis and Lab Reports. CBDfx also has frequent promos, so you can save even more money by checking their site regularly.
If you find that you need super-strength CBD oil (CBDfx has up to 6000MG), then you’ll struggle to find a better value product (on a cost per MG of CBD basis).
Another thing that stands out is their 60-day money-back guarantee (most other brands are only offering 30-days at the time of writing)
Yum Yum Full-Spectrum CBD Relax Cubes – Diamond CBD
These full-spectrum ‘relax’ gummies, are perfectly portable and easy to consume in any stressful situation.
There’s a total of 1250 mgs of CBD in each tub, which means a well-balanced dose of 25 mg of CBD per cube.
They’re available in various fruit flavors, and we recommend you order the assorted tub on your first try. If you prefer one of the four flavors over the others, you can order a single flavored tub on your next purchase!
How to Choose the Right CBD Oil for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
The CBD market has grown so fast that selecting high-quality, high-value products is challenging. When evaluating what’s best for you, consider the following:
Look for Hemp Sourced In the USA or Europe
Try to buy CBD sourced from hemp products grown in the USA or Europe. These tend to have higher quality, fewer contaminants, and are free of GMOs.
The Hemp grown in these areas has lower levels of THC. When you are taking CBD, you typically do not want THC: for someone feeling anxious, THC can make nervousness worse.
Isolate, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum?
There are three different types of CBD to choose from, and you’ll need to understand the differences between them to decide which CBD is best for people with OCD.
- CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD (and the most expensive too)! It contains no terpenes or any of the other compounds found in hemp. Use if you don’t want to worry about the effects of any other compounds in hemp.
- Full Spectrum CBD does contain other compounds including flavonoids and terpenes – and of course THC. To be legal it must contain less than 0.3%THC. Use Full Spectrum if you want the full effect of CBD, and aren’t worried about the effects of THC.
- Broad Spectrum CBD is Full-Spectrum but without the THC. Use to get the full benefit of hemp without the THC.
The big difference between the three is terpenes (the aromatic compounds found throughout nature, that give cannabis its distinctive taste and smell).
Terpenes, such as limonene, myrcene, or pinene may provide their own effects and relief from anxiety disorders.
Some studies suggest that CBD is more effective when used alongside terpenes, in a phenomenon known as the ‘ entourage effect ’.
Strength & Potency
You can easily waste money on a CBD oil that isn’t potent enough to deal with your OCD symptoms if you don’t check the label carefully.
You’ll notice CBD oil is usually measured in milligrams (mg). The higher this number, the stronger (and more expensive) the CBD oil will be.
Most brands have CBD products with several levels of potency to choose from.
It’s recommended to start at lower potencies and to use a lower amount of CBD. You can work your way up to higher dosages later if you’re not achieving the desired effect.
Most people with OCD don’t care about the taste, while others can’t even bear to think about the taste of an unflavored CBD oil.
If you fall into the second camp, look for a brand with well-reviewed flavors.
Fruit flavors tend to be the most common, but we’ve even seen ‘lemongrass and ginger’ and ‘skittles’ flavors on some sites.
3rd Party Testing & Transparency
Any reputable CBD company will have third-party testing certificates for you to examine on their website.
Take some time to download and read these, and then check the lab that was used for the testing also has a good record (if they don’t have a Google Maps listing this is a BIG red flag!)
You can also examine the ingredients of the CBD oil, which should be listed out on both the label and test results in full.
If you’re new to CBD, how do you know if a brand has a good reputation? You can certainly look at reviews, but we all know how easily they can be faked. So how do we know who to trust?
For external reviews, a great place to look is YouTube. It’s much harder to fake a video than it is to write a phony review.
You can also take a look at their Facebook page, and search on other social media networks to look for unbiased opinions.
Customer Service & Returns
If you have OCD, the last thing you need is further anxiety if something goes wrong.
Check out their returns policy, and if you’re still concerned then shoot them an email with a few questions.
Any customer-focused CBD brand will answer you within a few hours, and this should put your mind at rest.
A Brief Look at OCD’s Root Causes and Effects
In a nutshell, OCD is a cycle of repetitive behavior, obsession, and compulsion. Obsessions are unwanted or intrusive thoughts or memories and images that trigger feelings of distress. The resulting compulsions are various repetitive behaviors an OCD individual engages in to control the obsessions and/or cope with feelings of distress.
Because OCD often occurs with other disorders, it has been challenging for the scientific community to study and diagnose. As of now, there are two main theories regarding its origins:
Neurological medical journals show that OCD patients respond to Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (or SSRIs) with some consistency, leading researchers to suggest that OCD is largely a neurological disorder. However, it’s widely accepted that there are likely other contributing factors.
Genetic OCD has an increased rate of occurrence among first-degree relatives, supporting the idea that there are genetic and hereditary aspects to the disorder. According to the NIMH, individuals with a diagnosed sibling or parent are at significantly higher risk of developing OCD.
The degree of impairment caused by obsessive-compulsive disorder varies by personality type. Obsessions can be irregular or constant, with the potential to seriously harm one’s productivity and reputation in the workplace, university or neighborhood. In either case, it isn’t hard to imagine how excessive compulsive behavior can disrupt daily routines and social interactions.
Natural Medicine is The Best Medicine
More specialized research will be needed to highlight CBD’s viability in tackling OCD specifically. However, there’s an abundance of mainstream and independent material (as well as anecdotal evidence from OCD patients themselves) showing CBD to be effective in treating a wide range of symptoms brought about by anxiety. Fortunately, obsessive-compulsive disorder is no exception, as it falls well within the spectrum of genetic and neurological anxiety disorders.
*The content in this article is for general information only and should not be seen as a substitute for professional advice. For more specific insight into your medical condition, speak with your healthcare provider about the treatment options that are available to you.
**These products have been independently chosen and reviewed. We may earn a small commission if you click to one of their websites and make a purchase. Please note that Healthy Minded continues to run (without a profit) from the small number of hand-picked affiliate programs we join.