Cannabinoids for OCD

 

A human trial study entitled "Acute Effects of Cannabinoids on Symptoms of Obsessive-compulsive Disorder: A Human Laboratory Study" that was published in the journal Depression and Anxiety explored the potential benefits delivered by cannabis-derived cannabinoids for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).


According to the Mayo Clinic, OCD "features a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead [patients] to [perform] repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress."


The U.S. National Institutes of Health estimates that 1.2 percent of adults have this potentially debilitating condition that heavily involves anxiety. More than three times more women than men are diagnosed with this condition. Few people are diagnosed with OCD after the age of 30.


It is estimated that 90 percent of those who suffer OCD have a co-occurring disorder such as anxiety or a mood disorder. Interestingly, early-onset OCD that afflicts children 10 or younger occurs typically in boys, while it is mostly females who are diagnosed with the condition after the age of 10.


"Preclinical data implicate the endocannabinoid system in the pathology underlying OCD, while survey data have linked [the condition's] symptoms to increased cannabis use," reported the study. "Cannabis products are increasingly marketed as treatments for anxiety and other OCD-related symptoms. Yet, few studies have tested the acute effects of cannabis on psychiatric symptoms in humans," it added.


The clinical trial study involved a relatively small sample size of 14 adults with OCD and "prior experience using cannabis." It was conducted as a randomized and placebo-controlled study to "compare the effects on OCD symptoms of cannabis containing varying concentrations of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) on OCD symptoms to placebo."


Study participants smoked the following samples of loose-leaf cannabis during three laboratory sessions: 1) Placebo (0 percent THC and 0 percent CBD), 2) THC (7.0 percent THC and 0.18 percent CBD), and 3) CBD (0.4 percent THC and 10.4 percent CBD). After administration, the researchers observed participants for "acute changes in OCD symptoms, anxiety [level], cardiovascular measures, and drug-related effects (e.g., euphoria) as a function of the varietal."


The study's authors reported a variety of biochemical changes in the participants from their consumption of the different samples. They found that THC increased heart rate and blood pressure, while CBD and the placebo did not. The study noted that self-reported OCD symptoms, including anxiety, decreased over time in all three conditions (including the placebo). 


The study, which claimed to be the first placebo-controlled human trial study of the effects of CBD and THC on OCD, concluded that "smoked cannabis, whether containing primarily THC or CBD, has little acute impact on OCD symptoms." Unfortunately, the sample size of the participant group was relatively small, so it is difficult to derive solid conclusions from this particular set of observations.


Read More, Learn More: Higher Learning LV

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