CBD for Anxiety and OCD: Can CBD Help Ease Your Life? - My Blissful Pet

CBD for Anxiety and OCD: Can CBD Help Ease Your Life?

TL;DR

  • Anxiety and OCD Overview: Anxiety disorders involve excessive worry or fear, while OCD is marked by persistent, unwanted thoughts and repetitive behaviors. These conditions often co-occur and present overlapping symptoms.

  • CBD's Role in Treatment: Cannabidiol (CBD) shows promise in treating anxiety more than OCD. It interacts with brain receptors involved in mood regulation and stress response, potentially offering therapeutic benefits.

  • Effects of CBD on Anxiety: CBD may reduce anxiety by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system and affecting serotonin levels. It has shown effectiveness in reducing anxiety in social situations and in those with generalized anxiety disorder.

  • CBD and OCD: Preliminary findings do not fully support the clinical use of CBD for managing OCD symptoms. However, there is pre-clinical research showing CBD's potentials for addressing OCD. Yet more research is needed.

  • Research and Clinical Trials: While there is some empirical evidence supporting CBD's effectiveness in treating anxiety, data is less conclusive for OCD. 

  • Usage and Legal Considerations: Legally, hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% THC is permissible in the U.S., but state laws vary.

 
 

Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are types of commonly experienced mental health disorders that can impact a person's everyday activities. Anxiety disorders involve excessive worry or fear, while OCD is characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

Anxiety could be triggered by things such as social interactions or fear attached to certain situations or experiences. OCD, on the other hand, forces persistent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) leading to repetitive behaviors (compulsions), performed in an effort to lessen the anxiety caused by these obsessions.

They often co-occur and can be challenging to differentiate, as the symptoms often overlap. Effective treatments are available for both, which may involve psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. Interestingly, there are studies that investigated the potential role of CBD for these conditions. 

 

CBD and Its Role in Brain Functions

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in both marijuana and hemp. Research suggests that it may possess antipsychotic and anxiolytic properties, making it a potential treatment for anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). 

CBD interacts with various brain receptors, including those that belong to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the serotonin type 1A (5HT1A), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma), vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV1), GPR55, and GPR18. These receptors play a crucial role in maintaining psychological and physiological functions, including mood regulation and stress response. Through them, CBD may exert its potential therapeutic benefits towards anxiety, OCD, and potentially more disorders.

 

How CBD Might Benefit People with Anxiety Disorders

Research suggests that CBD may have anxiolytic effects, meaning it can help reduce anxiety. One way it might do this is by interacting with your body's endocannabinoid system, which plays a key role in regulating mood, stress, and fear responses. This interaction may help to balance your emotional state and decrease anxiety levels.

Moreover, CBD is thought to affect serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and feelings of well-being. By potentially enhancing the availability of serotonin, CBD might help to alleviate stress and reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders.

For those suffering from social anxiety disorder or generalized anxiety disorder, CBD might offer relief from symptoms by easing the fear and stress often associated with these conditions. A large review study has indicated that CBD can significantly reduce anxiety in patients with social anxiety.

If you're dealing with fear-based symptoms like panic attacks, CBD might also be beneficial. Research has demonstrated that CBD might be able to reduce the fear response in individuals with anxiety disorders. This could potentially make facing fearful situations easier and allow you to better manage stressors.

[...] CBD potently reduces experimentally induced anxiety or fear. CBD reduced anxiety associated with a simulated public speaking test in healthy subjects, and in subjects with SAD, showing a comparable efficacy to ipsapirone (a 5-HT1AR agonist) or diazepam. (Neurotherapeutics 12, 825–836 (2015))

It is important to note that not everyone will experience the same benefits from using CBD, and the optimal dosage will vary depending on your individual needs. If you're considering CBD as a potential treatment, it's a good idea to consult with a medical professional to determine the best course of action for your situation.

 

A Closer Look at OCD and CBD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by repetitive behavior, intrusive thoughts, and compulsions. When you have OCD, your mind gets preoccupied about random things, affecting your behavior, causing distress and increased anxiety.

CBD has shown promise in the treatment of various anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder, and, as mentioned, OCD. In another case report, a patient with severe OCD experienced significant improvement after using cannabis as part of their treatment.

It is essential to note that while these findings offer hope, more research is necessary to determine the efficacy of CBD for OCD and anxiety. Always consult with a healthcare professional before considering any new treatments for your mental health.

If you're interested in using CBD for OCD, here are a few essential points to consider:

  • Start Low and Slow: Begin with a low dose of CBD and gradually increase it until you notice an improvement in your OCD symptoms. This approach helps you find the optimal dose for your specific needs.
  • Choose a Reputable Product: Quality is essential. Ensure that you're purchasing from a reputable source and that the product has been tested by a third party to verify its ingredients and efficacy.
  • Discuss with a Healthcare Professional: Always consult with your doctor or a mental health professional before using CBD for OCD or anxiety. They can guide you on proper usage and monitor your progress.

In conclusion, CBD has shown promise in alleviating some symptoms of OCD and anxiety. More research is needed to establish its efficacy, but it could potentially be a valuable addition to traditional treatment methods. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before considering CBD as a treatment option.

 

What Does Research Say About CBD and Mental Disorders?

The use of CBD for alleviating anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms was investigated in numerous clinical trials and scientific studies. If we compare how many studies were done with CBD compared to those done using mainstream drugs, there is still little empirical evidence, especially when it comes to treating OCD, while for anxiety and depression there seem to be more data available.

Recent neuroimaging studies have investigated the acute impact of CBD on human brain function. In healthy volunteers, acute CBD administration enhances fronto-striatal resting state connectivity, compared to both placebo and the psychoactive cannabinoid ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in cannabis. CBD has also been witnessed to regulate brain activity amidst an array of cognitive tasks like emotional processing, verbal memory, response inhibition, and auditory/visual processing, hinting at its potential function in dealing with psychiatric disorders implying CBD help with OCD.

Moreover, in individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis and patients with established psychosis, acute CBD administration has shown intermediate brain activity compared to placebo and healthy controls during cognitive task performance. Additionally, CBD has been observed to modulate resting limbic activity in subjects with anxiety and metabolite levels in patients with autism spectrum disorders.

Use of Selective Alternative Therapies for The Treatment of OCD

All scientific studies evaluate the effectiveness of a treatment on pre-clinical models first, before giving these medicines to people in clinical trials. In the context of OCD, a study from January 2023 from the journal of Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior investigated the role of CBD in a murine model of OCD. Interestingly enough, the researchers found that CBD was effective in male mice but not in female mice. After taking CBD, male mice saw a reduction in OCD-driven behaviors that was not observed in the other sex (Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 222, 2023, 173498). This study may suggest that CBD may interact differently with neuronal circuitry in males or females. Yet, more studies are needed to validate this.

One systematic review focused on evaluating the efficacy and tolerability of selective alternative therapies for treating OCD. The review revealed around 40% of people with OCD did not experience the desired outcome from existing treatments, and several side effects were reported (Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2023; 19: 721–732).

An interesting study about smoked cannabinoids on 14 adults with OCD investigated the acute effects of cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, on symptoms of OCD. The findings suggest that there was little acute impact on OCD symptoms after smoked cannabis (Depression and Anxiety. 2020; 37: 801–811).

The major issue with these selected studies is that they were run using the concomitant presence of THC. THC has anxiogenic effects and known side effects. This could have easily hindered the potential therapeutic effects of CBD to improve OCD symptoms.

However, there is still a case study of a 22 yo male with severe OCD where cannabis did relieve OCD symptoms. This patient received a drug called Bedrocan containing 22% THC and <1% CBD .Front Psychiatry. 2020; 11: 681). While this is an isolated case and will not lead to CBD becoming the standard treatment for OCD, it is an indication of the potential effectiveness of CBD in psychological disorders.

Cannabidiol as a Personalized Treatment for Anxiety: Clinical Cases in Mexico

Cannabidiol's potential as a personalized treatment for anxiety has also been reported after a study in four patients that were diagnosed with anxiety disorders. These patients reported problems with both anxiety and sleeping  (Drugs Context. 2022; 11: 2022-3-2.). This study was conducted due to the prevalence of anxiety-related disorders worldwide and increases in these mental health issues in Mexico, secondary to confinement derived from the COVID-19 pandemic.

All the four patients enrolled significantly improved their quality of life, experiencing less anxiety and better sleep. 

[Patient one] the patient reported improvement in his quality of sleep, remission of the anxiety symptoms, and improvement in his daily life activities; therefore, the dose was maintained for the following 3 months. Most recently, the patient showed clinical improvement, with the HAM-A scale reporting mild anxiety and PSQI showing good sleep quality. The patient also reported improvement in his quality of sleep and life and no adverse effects whatsoever (Drugs Context. 2022; 11: 2022-3-2.).

[Patient two] The patient reported no symptoms; she was easily able to fall asleep and concentrate and showed no signs of emotional instability or dermatitis on the hands. The HAM-A scale reported absence or remission of the disorder, and PSQI showed good quality of sleep. She described herself to be in better health, with positive changes in her quality of sleep and life, and reported no adverse effects thus far (Drugs Context. 2022; 11: 2022-3-2.).

[Patien three] after one month of treatment, he was no longer taking vortioxetine but was still taking CBD and reporting good quality of sleep, without waking up, with no significant manifestations of anxiety, with a balanced emotional state, and with no adverse effects. (Drugs Context. 2022; 11: 2022-3-2.)

[Patient four] The patient self-reported: feeling well and ‘balanced’, sleeping adequately (8 hours with no awakening), no new migraine episodes, with a significant decrease in her anxiety levels and not reporting any adverse effects from the CBD treatment (Drugs Context. 2022; 11: 2022-3-2.).

Can CBD Help Ease Anxiety For Public Speaking?

A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology (J Psychopharmacol. (1993) 7:82–8) enrolled four groups of 10 volunteers to evaluate CBD potential effects on anxiety caused by simulated public speaking. CBD was tested against other anxiolytic and anti-depressant drugs. The results strongly indicated that CBD had a potent anxiolytic effect that contrasted the anxiogenic effect (aka, causing anxiety) of THC.

CBD results suggest that this compound also has anxiolytic properties (Fig. 1), confirming results obtained in experiments with animals  and in humans. Similar to ipsapirone, the anxiolytic effect was not present before the anxiogenic situation.

The decrease in induced anxiety is in contrast with the anxiogenic profile of high doses of delta9-THC administered to volunteers and may help to understand the conflicting results obtained with Cannabis sativa in relation to anxiety. (Zuardi and Karniol, 1983; Guimaries et al., 1990; Onaivi et al., 1990, Zuardi et al., 1982Malit et al., 1975; Tassinari et al., 1976) and (J Psychopharmacol. (1993) 7:82–8)

 

Dosage and How to Use CBD 

When it comes to using CBD for anxiety and OCD, it's essential to find the appropriate dosage tailored to your individual needs. CBD products come in various forms, such as oils, tinctures, gummies, capsules, and drops. The method of consumption affects the dosage and its effectiveness.

Comparing Clinical Dosages to Over-the-Counter CBD Suggestions

Studies on CBD and anxiety have used a wide range of doses, from 6 mg to 600 mg or more per dose. The average bottle of CBD oil contains between 1,000 to 2,000 mg of CBD, meaning that if you had to take clinical-level doses, you will finish that bottle in a couple of days. 
Now, it's no-brainer that for an at-home setting that's far too much. This means that the doses that you will use at home will most likely be much lower than those that were used in scientific papers. 

The same is true for pets, where the range in scientific studies can vary from less than 2 mg per 10 lb of body weight, to hundreds of mg per dose. Since these studies are run under medical supervision, it is recommended to follow the directions on the labels of the products you buy. 

For people, it is safe to start with a dose between 20 and 40 mg of CBD. Then, based on the response, you can slowly increase it. While it is quite difficult to overdose on CBD, if you believe that you, or your pet, had too much CBD, make sure to contact a health care professional asap.

Can You Use CBD Oil to Treat Anxiety in Pets?

 

At My Blissful Pet, we offer crafted products for pets, to address physical and behavioral issues, including anxiety. So, yes, CBD can also be used for pets, such as dogs and cats, to help with anxiety and other issues.

Just like with humans, it's important to start with a low dose and gradually increase it to find the optimal amount. We prepared a guide on CBD dosage for dogs and prepped a dosage chart to help to find the proper dose based on your pet's size and weight. 

 

Potential Side Effects and Safety Concerns 

When considering using CBD for anxiety and OCD, it's essential to be aware of potential side effects and safety concerns. While CBD is generally considered safe, you may experience some adverse effects.

Common side effects of CBD include:

  • Nausea: Some individuals may feel nauseous after consuming CBD products.
  • Diarrhea: Ingesting CBD may result in diarrhea for some people.
  • Fatigue: Tiredness and drowsiness are also possible side effects of using CBD.

Keep an eye on how CBD affects you to make sure it matches your needs and comfort level. While there are general guidelines for testing the effects of CBD in anxiety,  with few adverse effects (Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 82, 2021, 102429)  it's still essential to be cautious when taking anything new.

In addition to side effects, there are potential drug interactions to consider. CBD can inhibit the Cytocrome P450 group of enzymes in your liver, that are involved in processing most of the medicines that you take (Cannabis and Cannabinoids Research, Volume: 2 Issue 1: June 1, 2017). This means that CBD can change the way your body processes other medications. Therefore, any time you decide to use CBD while taking other medications, make sure to contact your health care provider first! 

 

Legal Considerations and Regulations

cbd for anxiety ocd law regulations

In the United States, CBD laws vary between the federal and state levels.

At the federal level, the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3% THC) from the list of controlled substances. This means that hemp-derived CBD is now legal in all 50 states. However, this doesn't necessarily mean CBD products are freely available everywhere; individual state laws may impose specific restrictions or requirements.

Here is a brief overview of how CBD for anxiety and OCD is regulated in the United States:

  • Federal Law: Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal to use, produce, and sell.
  • State Laws: Each state has its regulations, which means that availability and legality may vary. It is crucial to be familiar with your state's specific laws regarding CBD.

To ensure you are compliant with local regulations, consider the following steps:

  1. Research: Find out about the specific regulations in your state. For example, some states may require a prescription for CBD products, while others allow over-the-counter sales.
  2. Product selection: Make sure to choose a product with compliant THC levels (below 0.3% for hemp-derived CBD). Some states may also have restrictions on product potency or type.
  3. Labeling and testing: Many states require CBD products to include proper labeling and undergo third-party testing for quality and safety. Ensure the product you choose meets these requirements.

 

Does CBD Help or Antagonize Other Treatments for Anxiety and OCD?

cbd for anxiety ocd drug interactions

Integrating CBD with therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and psychotherapy, might prove beneficial in addressing anxiety and OCD more holistically.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): You can utilize CBT to identify thought patterns that may trigger or worsen the symptoms of anxiety and OCD. Addressing these thoughts can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms and reduce symptom severity. Research suggests that CBD can potentially aid in the treatment of anxiety disorders, so incorporating it into a CBT routine might provide added benefits.
  • Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): These medications are commonly prescribed for anxiety and OCD, as they increase serotonin levels in the brain, which can positively impact mood. Combining CBD with an SSRI regimen could amplify these effects since some studies indicate that CBD might have anxiolytic properties.
  • Psychotherapy: Incorporating psychotherapy into your treatment plan can allow you to explore underlying emotional issues, stressors, and root causes of anxiety and OCD symptoms. Including CBD as a supplementary tool in conjunction with psychotherapy may yield better results, as it's been shown to potentially impact psychiatric disorders.

In summary, using CBD in combination with other treatments such as CBT, SSRIs, and psychotherapy may potentially provide a more comprehensive approach to managing anxiety and OCD. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions about your treatment plan to ensure the best possible outcomes for your mental health.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

faq mbp cbd anxiety ocd

What are the most effective CBD products for anxiety?

There are various CBD products available in the market, such as oils, tinctures, capsules, and even edible gummies. Each person may respond differently to these products, so it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting any CBD regime. 

Can CBD oil help with intrusive thoughts in OCD?

There is preliminary evidence suggesting that CBD might be beneficial for managing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms, such as intrusive thoughts. According to a study, the endocannabinoid system could be a potential treatment target for OCD.

How does full-spectrum CBD affect OCD symptoms?

Full-spectrum CBD consists of various cannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC. Limited research available makes it unclear whether full-spectrum CBD can directly affect OCD symptoms. According to a survey, some individuals with OCD reported improvement using cannabis, which contains multiple cannabinoids. However, further research is needed to understand the effect of full-spectrum CBD on OCD symptoms.

What is the role of CBD in managing OCD and anxiety?

CBD is believed to interact with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a significant role in regulating mood, stress, and overall mental health. Some studies have shown promising results for using CBD as a potential treatment for anxiety-related disorders, and limited evidence suggests it might help manage symptoms of OCD. However, more research is needed to establish the role of CBD as a treatment for OCD and anxiety.

Q: How can taking CBD for OCD help with my symptoms?

A: Research suggests that using CBD oil for OCD may help alleviate symptoms by impacting the serotonin receptors in the brain. This could ultimately result in feelings of relaxation and calm, potentially easing the symptoms of OCD. Just remember that individual results can vary, and you should always consult a healthcare professional before starting new treatments.

Q: Is CBD scientifically proven to work for anxiety and OCD ?

A: While research is still limited and in the early stages, some studies have found that CBD may reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress, which are common in individuals with OCD. However, more extensive investigations are needed to fully understand how CBD can benefit anxiety and OCD specifically.

Q: What's the right CBD dosage for anxiety?

A: The right CBD dosage varies from person to person based on factors such as the severity of their symptoms, their body weight, and their metabolism. Some might only need a few milligrams while others might require a larger dosage of CBD. It's advisable to start with a low dosage of around 20-30mg, and adjust as needed under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Q: Can I take CBD in the form of gummies to treat OCD?

A: Yes, you can take CBD gummies for managing OCD symptoms. They are a popular choice because of their ease of use and dosing. They typically contain a pre-measured amount of CBD per serving, which can simplify the dosing process.

Q: Are there side effects of using CBD?

A: CBD is generally considered safe to use, but potential side effects can include fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in appetite or weight. It's also important to note that CBD can interact with certain medications, so always consult a healthcare provider before using it.

Q: What forms of CBD are available for treating my OCD symptoms?

A: There are several forms of CBD on the market. Users can choose from CBD oil, gummies, creams, isolates, and even edibles. Whichever form you choose will depend on your personal preferences and needs. Remember to find the right CBD product for your needs.

Q: Can CBD really help with OCD?

A: While there is positive anecdotal evidence that CBD may help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and stress associated with OCD, scientific research is still ongoing. An individual's response to CBD can vary, and as such, it's always advisable to consult a healthcare provider to discuss whether CBD is right for you and your specific circumstances.

Q: What should I look for to find the right CBD for me?

A: When looking for the right CBD for your OCD treatment, consider the source of the hemp, the method of extraction, and the form of CBD that is most convenient for you. Crucially, ensure that the product is third-party lab tested to certify its potency and purity. It's always best to choose a product that was sourced and manufactured with high standards.

Q: How quickly can I expect to see results after taking CBD for OCD?

A: The timeline for experiencing results from taking CBD for OCD varies from person to person. It can depend on factors such as the type of CBD product used, the dosage taken, your body's metabolism, and the severity of your symptoms. Some individuals may feel the effects within a few hours, while others may take longer.

Q: What is the difference between full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate for treatment of OCD?

A: Full spectrum CBD contains all the components of the hemp plant, including trace amounts of THC, whereas CBD isolate is a pure form of CBD, without any other components. Some research suggests that full spectrum CBD may provide a wider range of benefits, but, an isolate could also be option if you prefer to focus on using CBD alone.

 

 

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