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Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

For people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), cannabidiol (CBD) may help with a few different symptoms.

A quick look at the best CBD products for OCD

CBD is a compound from the cannabis plant that manufacturers add to many products, including lotions, teas, and gummies. A person can also take CBD in oil or capsule form. People may use CBD to manage a range of health conditions, including OCD.

CBD comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. On its own, CBD does not create the “high” feeling associated with cannabis.

Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive part of the plant, and some manufacturers remove all THC from their CBD products.

For a CBD product to be sold legally in the United States, it must contain no more than 0.3% THC, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Learn more about the difference between CBD and THC here.

Studies are ongoing and there are still relatively few. However, there is some evidence that CBD may benefit people with mental health conditions, including OCD. There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest this.

A review from 2019 concluded that though the research is still in its infancy, current data indicate that cannabinoids reduce symptoms such as anxiety, fear, and certain repetitive behaviors in people with OCD.

The authors call for more research into the potential for CBD to be an alternative OCD treatment.

An earlier review, from 2015, found that CBD may be a remedy for symptoms of anxiety in people who take higher doses, ranging from 300–600 milligrams (mg).

The authors called for long-term research to investigate whether this apparent benefit may be lasting or temporary.

However, in this review, much of the data centered on people with social anxiety disorder. Determining the effects on anxiety symptoms in people with OCD will require more research.

The evidence to support CBD as an effective remedy for OCD is currently weak. Questions remain about the efficacy and safety of this approach, and further research is necessary.

The entourage effect

When paired with CBD, some other compounds in cannabis may help relieve some OCD symptoms. This is called the “entourage effect.”

It suggests that the combined effect of the compounds in cannabis is greater than the effect of CBD on its own. There may be some interactions between these compounds that increase their benefits.

A 2020 review reports that a number of compounds in cannabis called terpenes can reduce anxiety. The researchers found that the interactions between cannabinoids and terpenes might provide an entourage effect. They call for further research.

Anecdotally, anyone who feels that certain terpenes or other compounds in cannabis enhance the effects of CBD in their body might choose a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD product.

Read our buyer’s guide to learn more about CBD terms and how to choose the best product.

Here, we look at some of the pros and cons of using CBD to ease symptoms of OCD.

Pros

  • CBD may help reduce anxiety.
  • CBD products are federally legal if they contain no more than 0.3% THC.
  • Most companies display certificates of authenticity from third-party labs to guarantee the purity of ingredients and accuracy of quantities.
  • A person does not need a prescription for CBD.

Cons

  • The FDA has only approved one medication that contains CBD, and this treats seizures.
  • It warns that CBD can cause serious side effects.
  • CBD products may still be illegal in some states.

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high quality, clearly labeled, ingredients. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the CBD dosage.
  • Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a dosage.
  • Third-party labs: MNT chooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis: MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) following receipt of its third-party lab results.

Everyone responds differently to different CBD products. A person might try a few products before finding one that helps them.

Below are some options that may be useful.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best for relaxation: Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies

  • List price: from $29.99
  • Type of CBD: full spectrum
  • Form: gummies
  • Potency: 10 mg of CBD per serving
  • Dosage: 2 gummies daily
  • Flavor: lemon-lime flavor
  • Other key ingredients: L-theanine and lemon balm
  • Organic: yes
  • COA: available online
  • Third-party tested: yes

These gummies aim to support relaxation and ease anxiety and stress, which may benefit people with OCD.

A serving provides 10 mg of full-spectrum hemp extract, including other terpenes and cannabinoids of the plant. Cannabinoids and terpenes create an ‘entourage’ effect which may help relaxation.

The blend also contains other compounds, such as 50 mg of L-theanine and 75 mg of lemon balm to promote calmness.

Pros and cons

These gummies are flavored, which may appeal to those who dislike unflavored CBD products. Additionally, the gummies may be more convenient to take than oils or tinctures.

However, this product contains up to 0.3% THC, which makes it unsuitable for those who would prefer not to have this compound.

Best for sleep: Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture

  • List price: from $99.99
  • Type of CBD: broad spectrum
  • Form: tincture
  • Potency: 34 mg of CBD per serving
  • Dosage: 1 dropper (or 1 ml) an hour before bed
  • Flavor: unflavored
  • Other key ingredients: lavender and chamomile essential oil
  • Organic: yes
  • COA: available online
  • Third-party tested: yes

This is an option for people who are looking to ease into restful sleep but who do not enjoy the effects of melatonin.

Each serving contains 22 mg of broad-spectrum hemp, delivering 17 mg of CBD. The blend also contains a number of terpenes, including lavender and chamomile compounds, which may promote a calm, relaxed state.

Pros and cons

This product contains broad-spectrum CBD, which means it has no THC. This may make it a suitable option for people who want CBD without ingesting THC.

However, people who have an allergy or sensitivity to essential oils should not use this product.

Use code MNT20 for 20% off.

Best high strength: Aspen Green Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil

  • List price: $99
  • Type of CBD: full spectrum
  • Form: oil
  • Potency: 60 mg of CBD per serving
  • Dosage: 2 full droppers per day
  • Flavor: unflavored, citrus, and mint
  • Other key ingredients: coconut oil
  • Organic: yes
  • COA: available online
  • Third-party tested: yes

A stronger option, each 3,000-mg bottle of this hemp oil delivers about 60 mg of full-spectrum CBD per serving, plus all the terpenes in the cannabis plant.

Pros and cons

This product has a higher amount of CBD per serving, which may suit those who prefer more potency.

However, it contains coconut oil and is therefore unsuitable for people with coconut allergies.

Best for first-time CBD users: JustCBD CBD Gummies

  • List price: from $37.50
  • Type of CBD: no information available
  • Form: gummies
  • Potency: 7.5–21 mg of CBD per serving
  • Dosage: no information available
  • Flavor: multiple available
  • Other key ingredients: no information available
  • Organic: no information available
  • COA: available online
  • Third-party tested: yes

Each gummy contains 7.5–21 mg of CBD, depending on the flavor/gummy chosen. The company recommends ordering 250 mg or 500 mg for first-time users.

This is a lower-dose option, which may make it a good starting point for people who are new to CBD. The dose may not make it ideal for targeting specific symptoms, however. Buyers are advised to seek the advice of their doctor prior to ordering.

Pros and cons

This product is suitable for people who would like to try a range of doses and flavors.

However, there is no information on the website regarding dose or ingredients, which may mean this is not suitable for people with sensitivities and allergies to common CBD ingredients.

The following table compares the CBD products in this article.

Charlotte’s WebLiftModeCalm by WellnessAspen Green Hawaiian ChoiceJustCBD
Pricefrom $29.99$36.68$99.99$149$18.95from $37.50
Typegummiesoiltinctureoiljelliesgummies
Dosage2 gummies dailyhalf a dropper up to twice a day1 dropper before bed2 full droppers per day1 or 2 dailyno information available
CBD per serving10 mg25 mg34 mg60 mg25 mg7.5–21 mg
Certificate of analysisonlineonlineonlineonlineonlineonline
Other key ingredients • l-theanine
• lemon balm
melatoninessential oils• coconut oil
• essential oils
fruit pulpno information available

When choosing CBD options, a person may wish to consider:

  • Price: CBD is available in a range of budgets.
  • Dosage: People should start with the lowest possible dose and gradually increase the amount until they reach their desired effects.
  • Type: Companies offer broad- and full-spectrum CBD. Full-spectrum CBD contains up to 0.3% THC.
  • Medical conditions: People should always contact a healthcare professional for advice before taking CBD, especially if they have a medical condition. CBD can interact with some medications.
  • Certification and lab results: People should only purchase CBD from companies that display a COA and lab results for each product batch.

CBD is generally a low risk option and does not cause severe side effects. However, some people may not respond well to it.

Some potential risks include:

  • diarrhea
  • decreased appetite
  • an altered state of alertness
  • sedation
  • drowsiness
  • drug interactions
  • potential liver injury

Anyone considering using CBD for any reason should speak with a healthcare professional first to discuss these risks and check for any potential interactions.

There are other natural remedies for OCD symptoms. For example, this 2020 review found that the following sources of terpenes have well-researched anti-anxiety effects:

  • lavender
  • bitter orange
  • sweet orange
  • bergamot
  • yarrow

This is not an exclusive list — many plants contain terpenes. These are just some of the more researched sources.

As the International OCD Foundation notes, some over-the-counter supplements may help with symptoms of OCD or associated conditions, either alone or with standard treatment.

These include:

  • N-acetylcysteine (N-AC)
  • sarcosine
  • tryptophan and 5-HTP
  • myo-inositol (MI)
  • St. John’s wort
  • kava

That said, research into many of these supplements is still ongoing, and there is generally little concrete evidence of benefits. Some research notes that St. John’s wort, eicosapentaenoic acid, and meridian tapping did not seem to relieve OCD symptoms.

A person should always contact a healthcare professional if they notice any OCD symptoms are becoming more prominent. For example, people who are experiencing more intrusive thoughts or compulsive behaviors should contact a health professional.

Additionally, people should contact their doctor or healthcare team if they wish to use CBD. CBD can interact with other medications.

Below, find answers to some common questions about CBD and OCD.

What is the best CBD product for OCD?

Everyone responds differently to the various types of CBD. Testing different types and strengths may help a person find the best product for their needs.

Does CBD oil help with anxiety and OCD?

Anecdotal evidence shows that CBD oil helps with mental health conditions, including anxiety and OCD.

What is the best medication for OCD intrusive thoughts?

A 2019 assessment concluded that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are OCD’s most effective treatment. Anyone interested in this type of prescription medication should speak with a healthcare professional.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that people with OCD who try CBD sometimes find it helpful.

Some recent scientific research supports this. However, more research is necessary before scientists can confirm the benefits.

Anyone looking for a natural alternative or complement to their OCD treatment should work closely with a healthcare professional.