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Cannabidiol (CBD) Does It Help Manage OCD Anxiety?

By Dan Putnam December 24, 2016 0 comments

OCD, a common anxiety disorder, can disrupt a person’s life without treatment. While there are a number of pharmaceutical drugs on the market for treating OCD, these often come with undesirable side effects like flattened mood and weight problems. Cannabidiol (CBD) may be a good natural alternative for people who are seeking relief from their OCD. Researchers have found that this compound, which is derived from cannabis and hemp, helps to treat OCD symptoms in rats. Could it work for humans too? 

OCD Anxiety: An Overview

There are several major types of anxiety. One of them is obsessive-compulsive disorder, usually abbreviated OCD. Though OCD anxiety is often joked about, this condition is no joke for the one in 100 people who suffers from it. OCD can cripple a person’s ability to carry out their day-to-day responsibilities, with negative consequences in all areas of their life. 

OCD anxiety has two components. The first is obsessions. Obsessions are intrusive, repeating thoughts, usually about a very specific thing or set of things. They are usually fear-based and cause a great deal of anxiety and distress in the affected person. 

Compulsions are the second component of OCD. Compulsions are actions that the person feels they have to carry out in response to their obsessions. While compulsive behaviors may temporarily relieve OCD anxiety, the relief doesn’t last long. People with OCD may feel driven to perform their compulsions repeatedly, despite knowing their behavior isn’t rational. 

OCD anxiety can center on almost anything. A few of the most common fears include dirt, germs, and disorder. In response to these obsessions, a person might wash their hands until their knuckles bleed, clean their house repeatedly, or find themselves unable to stop straightening things. 

Someone with mild OCD may be able to function in life without many problems, but severe OCD is a different story. Severe OCD anxiety can render someone unable to hold down a job, go to school, or maintain their relationships. Pharmaceutical medications are available for OCD, but they often come with undesirable side effects. What if there was a better treatment out there? 

CBD and Its Benefits

If you’ve used medical cannabis or researched its benefits, you’ve probably heard of cannabidiol before. Cannabidiol, often just called CBD, is one of the active ingredients in cannabis. Chemically, its composition is similar to that of THC. Like THC, cannabidiol has a wide variety of potential medical applications. However, there is one major difference between CBD and THC: cannabidiol is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t get users high. This makes it ideal for people who don’t want their cannabis-based medicine to interfere with their day-to-day functioning. 

The benefits of CBD are almost too many to list. Cannabidiol has been demonstrated to effectively combat a wide variety of serious medical problems, from childhood epilepsy to breast cancer to chronic pain. But the benefits of cannabidiol aren’t just physical. CBD is also a powerful mental health booster. Researchers believe it has the potential to relieve depression and anxiety, perhaps just as effectively as pharmaceutical medications. 

Cannabidiol is legal to purchase and use in all fifty states. However, it’s important to distinguish between CBD derived from the cannabis plant and CBD that comes from industrial hemp. Cannabis-derived CBD oil is often more potent than hemp-derived cannabidiol, but it can only be legally obtained in states where medical cannabis is legal. Hemp-derived cannabidiol oil, on the other hand, is legal everywhere, making it a good alternative for people who live in areas where cannabis use is restricted.

How Does CBD Help Battle OCD Anxiety?

A 2013 study conducted by researchers at the University of São Paulo found that cannabidiol can effectively treat the symptoms of OCD anxiety in rats. The researchers gave the rats a drug that increases OCD-like behavior. This drug caused the rats to compulsively bury marbles. 

Then the research team administered cannabidiol to the rats and observed their behavior. They found that the rats who received the CBD experienced a decrease in their compulsive marble-burying behavior. Even the rats that received a small dose of CBD experienced this improvement, suggesting that it may not take much cannabidiol to effectively bring relief from OCD anxiety. 


The anxiety of OCD can be devastating for those who have to deal with it every day. Intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are difficult to live with. While pharmaceutical medications are available, they aren’t ideal for most people. Cannabidiol – which is all-natural, less expensive than pharmaceuticals, and free of side effects – may be a better solution.

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