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Cannabidiol (CBD) may influence a few different factors for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). For this reason, it may help with a number of symptoms.
CBD is a compound from the cannabis plant that people are increasingly using to ease a number of different conditions.
Studies are ongoing and still relatively few, but there is some evidence to suggest that CBD may be beneficial to those with OCD.
There are a few different products that deliver CBD to the body, either on its own as an isolate or alongside other compounds from the cannabis plant and additional ingredients.
Keep reading to learn more about CBD for OCD, including what the research says so far and some CBD products that may be useful.
Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.
CBD may have some use for people with OCD. This is because it may help relieve some core symptoms of the condition.
A review in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research found that although the research is still in its infancy, the available data show that cannabinoids influence OCD by reducing symptoms such as anxiety, fear, and certain repetitive behaviors.
The researchers call for more studies into the potential for CBD as an alternative OCD treatment.
A review in the journal Neurotherapeutics notes that human evidence supports the use of CBD as a remedy for anxiety symptoms if people use higher doses, ranging from 300 to 600 milligrams (mg).
However, the study also called for more long-term research in order to determine whether or not these positive effects remain in place for longer periods, as opposed to providing just temporary relief.
This particular study also focused on people with social anxiety disorder, so more studies into the effects of CBD on anxiety disorders such as OCD are necessary.
The evidence to support CBD as an effective remedy for OCD is currently weak. Questions around efficacy and safety are still a concern, so researchers will need to prove CBD’s effectiveness for people with anxiety disorders such as OCD.
The entourage effect
When paired with CBD, some of the other compounds in cannabis may also relieve some of the symptoms of OCD. This is a concept called the entourage effect.
It essentially means that the effect of the compounds in cannabis working together is greater than that of CBD on its own in its isolate form. There may be some synergistic interactions between these compounds that increase their effects.
A review in the journal Current Neuropharmacology notes that a number of terpenes can have an anti-anxiety effect in the body. The researchers note that the interactions between these different cannabinoids and terpenes may theoretically provide this entourage effect, whereby the added terpenes enhance the effects of the CBD, and vice versa.
They call for further research, which could help highlight the possibility of the entourage effect in anxiety and similar conditions.
Anecdotally, this is why many people choose broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD products. They may feel that certain terpenes or other compounds enhance the effects of the substance in the body.
The best CBD product for someone with OCD will vary in each case, and some individuals may have to try a few different products to find one that helps them.
Here are some products that people may find useful.
Please note that the writer has not tried these products. All information is research-based, and all products have passed our vetting process to ensure quality.
Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies
These gummies aim to support relaxation and ease anxiety and stress, which may benefit those with OCD.
A serving provides 10 mg of full-spectrum hemp extract, including other terpenes and cannabinoids of the plant.
The blend also contains other compounds, such as 50 mg of L-theanine and 75 mg of lemon balm, to promote a calm state.
LiftMode Hemp Extract Oil, Sleep
This product is a distillate CBD tincture, containing 1,500 mg of CBD in each bottle.
Each serving contains about 25 mg of full-spectrum CBD distillate.
Additionally, a serving contains 1 mg of melatonin, which may help promote sleep. Because of this, it may provide the most benefit if a person takes it as they wind down for the night. It may also help people who have symptoms that make it difficult to sleep.
Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture
This product is another option for people looking to ease into a 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 — which may promote a calm, relaxed state in some users.
Penguin Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil
This product is made from hemp grown in Oregon. It is available in various flavors, such as strawberry.
Penguin use synthetic medium-chain triglyceride oil as the carrier oil for their CBD oils.
Each serving delivers 33.3 mg of broad-spectrum hemp extract with 0% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Broad spectrum CBD, however, also contains a number of naturally occurring terpenes, which can help with the entourage effect of these compounds.
Aspen Green Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil
For a stronger, purer cannabis option, Aspen Green offer an organic, full strength oil in their 3,000 mg bottle.
This delivers about 60 mg of full-spectrum CBD per serving, along with all the other terpenes present in the cannabis plant.
Hawaiian Choice Fruit Jellies
These jellies are an alternative to gummy options. They deliver 25 mg of broad-spectrum hemp with no THC.
Each jelly also contains over 50% local fruit from Hawaii, including passionfruit, pineapple, and turmeric.
JustCBD CBD Gummies
These gummies deliver about 10 mg of CBD each.
These are a lower dose option, so they may be more suitable for all-round use rather than for targeted symptoms. This product could also be a good starting point for people who are new to CBD.
CBD is generally low risk and does not cause severe side effects.
That said, some people may not respond well to CBD. Some potential side effects and risks include:
- decreased appetite
- an altered state of alertness
- drug interactions
- potential liver injury
Anyone considering using CBD for any condition should speak to a doctor or other healthcare provider first, to discuss these risks and check for any potential drug interactions.
There are some other natural remedies for OCD symptoms for people who do not respond well to CBD. These compounds may vary in each person and usually target specific individual symptoms.
For example, a review in the journal Current Neuropharmacology notes that other sources of terpenes have a well-researched anti-anxiety effect. These sources include:
- bitter orange
- sweet orange
This is not an exclusive list, as a large number of plants contain terpenes. These are simply some of the more researched sources.
Some other over-the-counter (OTC) supplements may have some use for OCD. The International OCD Foundation note that some OTC supplements may help with the symptoms of OCD or associated conditions, either alone or in addition to standard treatment.
- N-acetylcysteine (N-AC)
- tryptophan and 5-HTP
- myo-inositol (MI)
- St. John’s wort
That said, research into many of these products is still ongoing, and concrete evidence is low in most cases.
A systematic review of complementary remedies for OCD found that using the nutrient glycine and traditional herbal remedies milk thistle and borage also revealed positive results.
One rigorous study showed that N-AC was effective in trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) specifically, while the self-help technique movement decoupling also demonstrated efficacy. It also found mixed evidence for MI.
However, controlled studies suggest that St. John’s wort, eicosapentaenoic acid, and meridian tapping do not help relieve OCD.
Many people who use CBD for OCD symptoms find that it is helpful.
Some recent scientific research also backs up this claim, though research must provide solid results before scientists can make any broader claims.
People looking for a natural alternative to their OCD treatment should work closely with a doctor or other healthcare provider to find a working solution.