OCD, Anxiety and Cannabis: What the Research Shows
As many as one in 40 American adults suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). 18% of the U.S. population suffers from anxiety. Researchers have been studying the role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in OCD and anxiety disorders and whether cannabis products like CBD can help tame them.
A 2019 review published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research has unpacked the evidence, suggesting that the endocannabinoid system could represent a new treatment target for obsessive-compulsive disorder. OCD affects the parts of the brain associated with anxiety, stress reactivity, fear conditioning, and habitual behaviors. The endocannabinoid system can modulate these behavioral patterns and emotional responses.
CB1 receptors, which are a fundamental component of the endocannabinoid system, are found in high densities in regions of the brain that are believed to be implicated in OCD, including the prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, hippocampus, and amygdala. This connection suggests that the careful activation of CB1 receptors may help ease specific symptoms associated with OCD.
As Leafly also reports, in lower doses, THC has been shown to ease anxiety. At high doses, it can exacerbate symptoms.
OCD and anxiety sufferers across the globe are at heightened mental health risk right now, as a horrifying pandemic takes over country after country and forces some populations into isolation. Could cannabis ease the burden for those with anxiety and OCD? Read more here.