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OCD & CBD Oil: Tackling Anxiety & Finding the Best Products

Over the past several years, researchers have found obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to be much more prevalent than previously thought. In a report released by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), it was stated that 1.2% of adults in the US have an OCD diagnosis. Luckily, CBD oil may be able to help.

OCD is no longer considered an anxiety disorder. It is classified in DSM-5 under obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. OCD is characterized by a vicious cycle of obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions. Obsessive thoughts can include anything from a memory or an intrusive thought to anxiety triggering images. To combat the anxiety and distress caused by these obsessive thoughts, sufferers of OCD will often perform compulsive behaviors to compensate for and reduce the anxiety.

CBD, because it has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety, is able to reduce some of the anxiety that is experienced by people with OCD.

Benefits of CBD Oil for OCD

As with most mental disorders, the origins of OCD are not completely understood. Treatment options are varied, complex, and a little bit random. What works for one patient may be fruitless for another.

A typical treatment plan for someone diagnosed with OCD may include psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy in combination with anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications.

For many patients, antidepressants offer some relief, but they can also come with some unwanted and unpleasant side effects. Side effects of antidepressants such as Paxil, Zoloft, and Prozac include:

  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Insomnia
  • Vision impairment
  • Anxiety
  • Irritation

Aside from the side effects that those prescribed with antidepressants have to deal with, if they wish to come off their medications, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms may occur.

Anti-anxiety medications come with side effects of their own, including:

  • Nausea
  • Nightmares
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Libido issues

Some anti-anxiety prescriptions are also highly addictive and have very serious withdrawal symptoms for those wishing to come off of them.

CBD oil, on the other hand, does not pose these same problems. CBD oil has little to no side effects, and no risk for overdose or dependency. The World Health Organization has stated, “no public health problems… have been associated with the use of pure CBD [oil].” This is great news for those looking for a safer option to manage their anxiety caused by OCD.

However, before you start taking CBD oil to manage the symptoms of OCD, check with your doctor first. CBD may interact with some medications, including antidepressants, and it’s important you know the potential risks before proceeding with treatment.

Effectiveness of CBD Oil for OCD

Research on the use of CBD oil for OCD is limited at this point. But, CBD oil’s viability as a treatment for anxiety disorders is well documented. Much research has been done on CBD oil for anxiety and depression, and the potential benefits that have been discovered can be easily transferred to OCD.

In one case study, CBD was determined to be as effective as sedative medications, like diazepam, in treating anxiety. In fact, during this study, 79.2% of patients treated with CBD experienced a decrease in their anxiety symptoms!

CBD oil has also been found effective in helping those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may also make it useful in addressing other conditions that are linked to anxiety-inducing thoughts, like OCD.

CBD inhibits the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), an enzyme that breaks down anandamide, the “bliss molecule,” and decreases anxiety and behaviors prompted by adverse memories. This increase in anandamide, along with the dulled response to adverse memory, could perhaps help individuals who are prone to getting stuck in obsessive-compulsive loops. Note that this is largely theoretical, but promising nonetheless.

CBD oil and its potential for managing anxiety and OCD was further substantiated in a 2015 review study examining cannabidiol’s (CBD) potential for treating anxiety disorders. The study concluded that “existing preclinical [animal studies] evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely.”

That said, while there is evidence that CBD can help with OCD-related symptoms, there is hardly (if at all) any clinical evidence in OCD patients.

How to Use CBD Oil for OCD

Before you start using CBD oil for OCD, talk to your doctor. You want to be sure that CBD oil is the safest option for you, and given its potential drug interactions– especially with certain antidepressants and anxiolytics commonly used to treat OCD– it is always best to seek medical advice first.

Once you determine that CBD oil is a safe option for you, there are many different delivery formats that can be used. Most people will base their decisions on their needs and lifestyle preferences.

CBD oil tinctures, drops, capsules, and edibles are good choices for regularly supplementing with CBD. You can easily incorporate them into your daily routines and expect the effects to last for at least a few hours.

CBD capsules and edibles are familiar to most users, and provide a fairly consistent dosage. The only downside is that the effects can be slow to manifest. The CBD must pass through the digestive system before being absorbed, which means that it can take up to an hour for its effect to take place, depending on metabolism and the amount of food already present in the stomach. But, the effects are long-lasting, typically lingering for 4 to 6 hours.

CBD oil tinctures or drops have multiple benefits. Like edibles and capsules, they can be used as part of a daily supplement routine. But, they can also be good for addressing symptoms more quickly than a CBD edible or capsule. With CBD oil drops and tinctures, the CBD is absorbed through the skin under the tongue, showing effects within 30 minutes. These effects can last between 2 and 4 hours. Tinctures come in small bottles that can easily fit into pockets, bags, or purses, making them a discrete choice for potential relief when out and about. They also make it easy to adjust your dose up or down, depending on your needs in any given moment.

CBD vape oils and CBD flower provide the fastest relief options for sudden symptoms. With these formats, the CBD is absorbed directly through the lungs, allowing effects to be felt almost instantly. Unfortunately, the effects are short-lived, often gone in 60 minutes, and it is not always convenient or appropriate to vape or smoke.

All of these CBD delivery formats offer specific benefits. Given the minimal risks associated with CBD oil, you may find that a combination of products is what works best for you. You may choose one format for your daily routine, and carry another around for whatever symptoms may crop up during the day. Do not be afraid to experiment and find the perfect, unique, solution for you.

CBD Oil Dosage for OCD

When it comes to using CBD to treat psychological conditions like anxiety, depression, or OCD, what works for one person may be ineffective for another. Most products will come with instructions for use, with a recommended dosage. Unless your doctor suggests otherwise, start slowly with the lowest recommended dose on your product. Once you know how you will respond to CBD oil, you can adjust the dose from there.

At CBD Oil Review, we have analyzed hundreds of products and have come up with a serving suggestion to get you started:

The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD, taken twice daily

If you find this amount is not producing the results you desire, slowly increase the dose by 25mg every 3 to 4 weeks until you find the proper relief.

For a more detailed breakdown on CBD oil dosing, with tips to get it just right for you, consider taking a look at our dosing guide or speaking with a naturopathic doctor.

While research on CBD oil for OCD is slim at this point, its viability as an alternative treatment for other disorders like anxiety, PTSD, and depression, suggest that it may also be effective in managing OCD symptoms.

With few side effects, CBD oil may be just what you are looking for as an alternative OCD treatment option.

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