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CBD (cannabidiol) May Help Treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

By Dan Putnam April 23, 2017 0 comments

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, is a common, chronic anxiety disorder in that it is characterized as a person having uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to constantly repeat. The actual cause of OCD is unknown, early signs usually manifest during puberty, and unless treated, it evolves into a condition debilitating to normal life. Approximately 3.3 million Americans are afflicted with OCD, of which 0.3 to 1% are pediatric patients and 2% belonging to the adult population. Compulsion and obsession are closely related, and an OCD individual usually experiences obsession over a particular thought such as the fear of germs, and the compulsion would be to excessively clean or wash the hands. The compulsion is identified as unnecessary in the OCD sufferer, but anxiety generally makes the individual feel helpless to change either the thoughts or action that follows. Cannabis is known to treat various forms of anxiety, and cannabidiol (CBD) in particular, has been shown in studies to have the potential to aid in the treatment of OCD.

Conventional OCD Treatment

OCD is not one and the same in patients, and affects each sufferer differently. It is not uncommon for patients with OCD to have other mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, for example, which is why, it is important to take into consideration other disorders when deciding on OCD treatment. Treatment of OCD generally involves some form of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, as well as psychotherapy. Medications are designed to regulate the symptoms of OCD and serve as inhibitors of serotonin reuptake and selective serotonin reuptake. Clomipramine and Prozac are two examples of the kinds of medication that is typically prescribed to both adults and children with OCD. Still, no long-term solution is on the horizon. In the meantime, an interest in CBD as a possible treatment option for OCD is getting some buzz. The non-psychoactive compound CBD is known for its benefits in treating patients with social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorders.

Cannabidiol (CBD) Could Manage OCD Symptoms

Recent studies have highlighted very positive outcome on the subject of the role that CBD could play in treating OCD. This is certainly good news, in light of the fact that conventional medications have their limitations, and many folks are looking for a natural form of treatment. A study first published in October of 2013 in the journal, Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, by a team of Brazilian researchers investigated the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on rats administered meta-chloro-phenyl-piperazine (mCPP). The research team was led by Dr. Francisco Guimarães and represented the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Sao Paolo, used a marble-burying test (MBT) to uncover the effect of CBD on OCD. Initially, the rats were administered meta-chloro-phenyl-piperazine (mCPP), is a metabolite of the antidepressants trazodone and nefazodone, and its administration leads to hormonal, physiological and behavioral effects; it is known to induce panic attacks and has been determined to worsen OCD symptoms.

Later, the rats were given CBD in order to evaluate the obsessive-compulsive activity. The researchers concluded that the results reinforce the anticompulsive effect of CBD, and the study further shows that low doses (0.1 mg/kg) of CBD increase marble-burying tendencies in rats, while large doses (1 mg/kg) seemed to decrease them. When rodents are put in a cage with marbles, it is used to assess compulsive and/or anxiety behavior, and if the rats bury the marbles, it can be an indication of compulsion or anxiety. However, based on observation, anxiety behavior remained unchanged during testing.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition that is characterized by a pattern of unreasonable repetitive thoughts, compulsions, and obsessions that can disrupt a patient’s life. Treating the disorder is difficult, but pharmaceutical drugs are typically used to control symptoms, but research into the cannabis compound CBD is gaining interest as a possible alternative treatment. According to research, CBD has anticompulsive properties that could make it a potential treatment for OCD. While more research is needed before CBD can be established as a legitimate treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, animal testing goes a long way to establish a connection between CBD and OCD. Human randomized-control trials (RCTs) are warranted to evaluate the long-term effects and potential for CBD as an effective treatment for OCD, as well as to validate the findings of animal studies that demonstrate CBD’s anticompulsive efficacy as an alternative OCD treatment.


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