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Can CBD help ease the symptoms of OCD?

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

About CBD

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%Trusted Source THC, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What the research says about CBD for OCD

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 2019Trusted Source 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)Trusted Source.

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 concerned 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 reviewTrusted Source 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...


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