Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an often misunderstood condition.
It is too often used to describe someone who is tidy and organised, but the reality of the condition is very different.
Anyone who has ever described themselves as “a bit OCD” about the state of their desk or how they arrange their cutlery drawer is very likely to be using the wrong descriptor.
OCD is a mental health condition characterised by intrusive thoughts and obsessive behaviour that an individual cannot control. It often accompanies anxiety and can lead to depression, as individuals feel they have no control over their life.
But why use CBD oil for OCD?
While it is not a recognised treatment for OCD, some individuals turn to CBD oil to help improve their wellbeing.
However, more research is needed to understand how CBD helps with OCD and if this could be a viable treatment option in the future.
What's in this Guide?
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a product extracted from the cannabis plant. CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is a phytocannabinoid, similar to THC, but with one very clear distinction. While THC is the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high”, CBD does not produce the same effect.
CBD is extracted from cannabis stalks, stems and leaves.
Finished CBD oil often contains other cannabinoids and plant compounds called terpenes and flavonoids.
And finally, it is mixed with a carrier oil such as MCT oil or hemp seed oil.
What is OCD?
OCD is a mental health condition that affects men and women of all ages. Symptoms typically start around puberty or early adulthood.
OCD can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. It causes intrusive thoughts that can be very distressing and cause anxiety. It is often accompanied by obsessive and repetitive behaviour.
Many individuals feel they have to complete the behaviour or mental act to stop the feelings brought on by the intrusive thought.
A common intrusive thought would be imagining the death of loved ones. And this would be accompanied by the obsessive behaviour of checking in on them and becoming distressed if you cannot reach them.
It’s easy to see how OCD would disrupt not only the sufferer’s life but also the lives of those around them.
What are the Symptoms of OCD?
Common symptoms of OCD include:
- Intrusive thoughts which you cannot control
- Compulsive or repetitive behaviour
Common types of obsessive behaviour include:
- Hand washing
- Ordering and arranging
- Asking for reassurance
- Repeating words aloud or in your head
- Checking things such as your stove or locks repeatedly
- Avoiding certain places
What Treatment is Available For OCD?
A common barrier to treatment for those living with OCD is the shame and fear of judgement. Intrusive thoughts can be isolating and leave individuals feeling like no one can help them.
Treatment is available for OCD, and it is commonly treated with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This type of therapy helps to understand the cause of your fears, so you no longer need to control them with compulsions.
Medication may also be recommended. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help address chemical imbalances, which are often the cause of OCD.
Can CBD be used to treat OCD?
CBD is not a recognised treatment for OCD, but many people are curious to know if it could help.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which is present throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems and in some organs and systems.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis (balance). We don’t yet fully understand how CBD supports this system, but many believe that CBD helps to inhibit an enzyme that breaks down anandamide.
Anandamide is a cannabinoid produced in the brain.
Anyone looking for a more natural approach to treating OCD may look at things like supplements they can take while seeking therapy.
SSRIs can produce some unpleasant side effects, so anyone looking to avoid these might be curious to explore alternative treatment.
Can CBD Make OCD Worse?
When taking anything for mental health conditions, particularly a herbal supplement, it’s important to pay close attention to how it makes you feel. CBD is not a magic wand that will cure anything overnight.
Instead, it is recommended as one of the components of a healthy lifestyle.
At the moment, we have no reason to believe that taking CBD will make OCD symptoms worse. But without a large-scale study to confirm this, anyone turning to this treatment option must do so with knowledge of the risk.
CBD is considered to be generally safe for most people.
It is well-tolerated, even in large doses. And it is not thought to be addictive, habit-forming or able to produce withdrawal symptoms.
Unlike THC, CBD does not cause unpleasant side effects like psychosis, anxiety, memory problems or hallucinations. Some people report feeling more relaxed after taking CBD oil, while others report feeling nothing at all.
CBD may interact with other medications. And since CBD is a fairly new addition to our shopping baskets, not all medicines will be marked with a warning yet.
This is why anyone taking medication should check with a pharmacist or doctor to confirm it is safe.
What is the Best CBD for OCD?
If you are exploring CBD for OCD, you might be wondering about the best way to try this plant supplement. Most people take CBD oil as oral drops under the tongue.
This is a simple, fast and effective way to absorb the CBD into your bloodstream.
Another common way to take CBD is in capsule tablet form. This can be excellent if you want to take the same dose every day. For example, you could add it to your daily vitamin routine to help build healthy habits.
You could also try CBD gummy sweets, which are a popular way to enjoy your daily dose of cannabinoids.
These are portable and offer a small, sweet treat at any time of the day.
CBD is also available in tea bags, which is excellent for creating a relaxed bedtime routine. While CBD isn’t a proven treatment for OCD, it can certainly form part of an active and healthy lifestyle to help individuals while they tackle their mental health problems.