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How Medical Marijuana Can Help Patients with OCD

August 17, 2017

(Photo Credit - aboblist.com)

What Exactly is OCD?


Obsessive-compulsive disorder, a.k.a. OCD, is an anxiety disorder in which the sufferer has recurring ideas or urges, that make them feel compelled to do something repetitively. Essentially, an 'obsession' leads to a 'compulsion'. 



Severe OCD affects roughly 0.5% of the U.S. adult population, with less severe cases even more prevalent. Often, these repetitive actions can deeply interfere with daily activities and social interactions, making it an extremely difficult disorder to cope with. The National Institute of Mental Health defines obsessions and compulsions as the following:

  • Obsessions: "repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety."

  • Compulsions: "repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought."



To receive an OCD diagnosis, you must meet certain diagnostic criteria laid out in the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a.k.a. DSM-5. The DSM-5 is "the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the U.S." 


Related: How Medical Marijuana Can Help Patients with Anorexia


According to the DSM-5 manual, to qualify for a diagnosis "the obsessions and compulsions must significantly impact your daily life." Additionally your obsessions must be "intrusive, repetitive and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that cause distress," and your compulsions must be "excessive and repetitive ritualistic behavior that you feel you must perform, or something bad will happen." To top that all off, "ritualistic compulsions take up a least one hour or more per day." Oftentimes the initial signs and symptoms of OCD begin during childhood and early adulthood.


What is the Cause of OCD?


Some believe that OCD may stem from physical trauma or infections within the brain, while many others believe it comes from emotional trauma that leaves the victim unable to cope. Traditionally, treatment for OCD includes large amounts of cognitive behavioral therapy combined with a prescription of a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, a.k.a. SSRI, as well as anti-anxiety medication to go along with them. As many patients have learned, these anti-anxiety medications are highly habit-forming and can become addictive. This is where cannabis comes in...


Related: Study - Reduced Benzodiazepine Reliance in Cannabis Patients


Can Marijuana Help People with OCD?


Cannabis may be a fantastic treatment for some of the symptoms associated with OCD, as well as many of the side effects of medications that are prescribed for it.  Marijuana has been proven time and time again to be incredibly useful for anxiety, and is well known for its sedative effects. For those that are taking prescription medications for their OCD, one of the side effects of said medications often include nausea - another symptom for which cannabis has been proven to be a very effective treatment.  



Some of the best strains out there for severe anxiety are also great for those with OCD given their cannabinoid profiles. Our top 3 marijuana strain picks for obsessive-compulsive disorder are:

  1. Girl Scout Cookies

  2. Northern Lights

  3. White Fire OG 


If obsessive-compulsive disorder is something that directly effects you, or a loved one, and you are considering cannabis as a treatment, you should consult your physician. Just like any medication, a medical professional will be the best person to help you figure out details such as dosing, frequency of medicating, and most importantly acquiring of medicine legally with a prescription. Remember that currently, medical marijuana is not legal in every state. 


Related: SLIDESHOW - All the States with Legal Weed


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