does cbd oil really work for anxiety and ocd

Can CBD Really Help With Anxiety?

That’s a common question asked these days, and for a good reason. Anxiety is one of the most debilitating mental health disorders with no known cause or cure. And it affects millions of people every day, causing stress and worry that can affect our work performance or even relationships at home.

We’re not psychologists and don’t claim to know more than what they do about the science behind CBD oil – but we did find some interesting tidbits in our research, and we wanted to share them with you.

We hope that our findings will help alleviate your anxiety and spare you the possibility of taking a drug like Xanax or Valium for something that is, in fact, natural and can do much more than those drugs ever could.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the anticipation of future events that are highly associated with avoidance behavior and muscular tension.

Feeling anxious can be a common reaction to stressors in the environment which can be very beneficial in some situations and can be very detrimental if not regulated. It helps us pay more attention to things and allows us to prepare and be alert for approaching dangers. However, unregulated anxiousness can become anxiety disorders that are distinctly different from usual feelings of nervousness and agitation, which generally involve fear.

When fear enters the context, It may lead to anxiety disorders that will lead to a person’s avoidance, which triggers specific symptoms and can affect personal relationships and work or school performance.

There are various types of anxiety disorders that are distinctly different in terms of the situation of the objects that cause the attack. Its variations include general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, particular phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

According to the National Comorbidity Study Replication, around 19% of adults in the United States experience a specific anxiety disorder. The prevalence of anxiety disorder in females is about 23%, significantly higher than males in 14%. In estimate, 31% of the total population of US adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.

On a similar note, the prevalence of anxiety disorders in adolescents reaches about 32% of their total population, and 8.3% of them experience severe impairment. The majority of anxiety disorders in female adolescents is considerably higher than in males, which is 38% and 26.1%, respectively. These statistics are according to the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement.

What is CBD, and How Can It Help With Anxiety?

CBD (Cannabidiol) is a compound that can be extracted from the Indian hemp plant (Cannabis sativa), an herbaceous plant native in western and central Asia. The plant contains 80 chemical compounds that are considered biologically active, one of which is cannabidiol. This compound is used for the treatment or management of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Briefly, CBDs are one of the two approved products by the Food and Drug Administration. The other ones are synthetic cannabis-related drugs containing dronabinol and nabilone to manage weight loss induced by AIDS and a remedy for nausea caused by chemotherapy, respectively.

Administration of CBDs is usually through oral ingestion, but in some cases, it can be taken via inhalation or oral mucosal administration. Dosing should start with lower doses and gradually titrate until you reach the clinical levels.

Being a psychoactive compound, CBD holds great potential in addressing anxiety disorder and treating the symptoms that accompany it. Through the years, it has drawn interest for neuropsychiatric experts for its potential for being an effective treatment for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders.

Specialists have assessed significant evidence from preclinical, clinical, epidemiological, and human experimental studies and determined CBD’s potency in treating anxiety disorders and their consequent symptoms. It has been found out that CBDs are proven to be an effective treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder after a controlled and acute administration.

Ultimately, CDBs are clinically proven to have a variety of therapeutic values like analgesic, antipsychotic, anticonvulsant, neuroprotective, antioxidant, antiemetic, antiarthritic, antineoplastic, as well as anti-inflammatory properties.

What Are The Risks And Side Effects?

Although there is preclinical evidence that supports the CBD’s therapeutic claims when it comes to treating anxiety disorders, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that CBDs may put a person’s health at major risks.

According to the FDA, some products are available in the market that claim to have CBDs and are sold, claiming to have medical use even though they did not approve it.

Drugs that are not regulated by the FDA are not evaluated accordingly whether they are effective, proper dosages were established, and their interaction with other drugs was identified. The case of CBD products that are not regulated by the FDA can pose great risks, especially to consumers.

Usage of CBD products that are not regulated can cause particular side effects, including diarrhea, dry mouth, reduced appetite, fatigue, and drowsiness. Additionally, CDBs are known to interact with specific medications like blood thinners. Some other risks include the unreliability of unregulated CBD products that can put your health at risk. This can cause dose-related damage to a person’s liver.

These facts emphasize the need for further research to be conducted regarding this significant advancement in mental healthcare.

The Bottom Line

CBDs can be one of the least ventured potential cures for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders due to the negative connotation that accompanies this compound. However, as the new wave of neuropsychiatric experts takes over traditional medical healthcare, significant breakthroughs will eventually replace the older ones.

Ultimately, as consumers, it is your responsibility to carefully examine the product you see through the internet and on television.

If you wish to try regulated CBDs in treating your anxiety, it is best that you first consult with your doctor so that you can minimize any health-threatening risks.

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Inhaled Cannabis Reduced OCD Symptoms In Recent Study

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is a challenging condition to live with. The chronic psychiatric disorder is characterized by persistent intrusive thoughts (often about things that might go wrong) along with urges and compulsions, such as the compulsion to repeatedly check locks or wash hands. And to add to these challenges, those with OCD tend to experience heightened levels of anxiety. While there are a variety of treatment options for OCD, including therapeutic and pharmaceutical options, many patients with the condition report that these treatments are unable to fully manage the condition.

Now, a new study published this month in the Journal of Affective Disorders is pointing towards cannabis as a potential treatment for OCD. The researchers from Washington State University found that acute cannabis use, and especially cannabis with higher levels of CBD, was able to quickly and temporarily reduce symptoms of OCD such as anxiety, compulsions, and intrusive thoughts. Still the symptom reductions for intrusive thoughts lessened over time, making it less clear whether cannabis could be a long term treatment for that particular symptom.

Previous research has already found that those with OCD have a higher likelihood to use cannabis, and researchers have hypothesized that this use is a coping mechanism to tell with the symptoms of OCD. But few studies have investigated whether cannabis is actually effective at reducing OCD symptoms. Those that have investigated the cannabis OCD connection have brought back mixed results.

Commercial cannabis growing in a greenhouse.

A recently published placebo-controlled study found that cannabis did offer symptom relief but not relief that was significantly larger than that found for the placebo group. Still, the potency of the cannabis used in this study was much lower than what is available in the legal cannabis market, and the sample size was small. So it may have been underpowered to find results.

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Case studies on cannabis, as well as synthetic forms of THC (one of the active chemicals in cannabis) have also found some evidence for symptom reduction. And several animal studies have found that CBD is able to reduce compulsive behaviors in rodents.

The researchers on this study sought to investigate this connection further in human subjects, so they utilized an app called Strainprint, which allows cannabis users in Canada to report their starting symptoms, the specific cannabis products and dose used, and the resulting impact those products had on their symptoms. The researchers tracked the responses of 87 individuals who self-identified as having OCD for over two years – looking specifically at inhaled cannabis use like vaping and smoking. Patients evaluated their starting symptoms prior to cannabis use, and the symptoms after cannabis use by responding to questions like “How intrusive are your thoughts?” or “How bad is your compulsive behaviour” on a 0-10 scale.

This study looked at patients who used vaporized or smoked cannabis only. Photographer: Cayce . [+] Clifford/Bloomberg

© 2018 Bloomberg Finance LP

Researchers then analyzed the data to see whether cannabis seemed to help or hurt when it came to managing OCD symptoms. The analysis revealed that cannabis use was tied to a reduction in OCD symptoms. In fact, most cannabis sessions recorded resulted in a reduction of symptoms. 95.4% of all sessions resulted in reduction of compulsions, 89.6% resulted in reduction of intrusive thoughts, and 93.8% of sessions resulted in reduction of anxiety.

On the other hand, only 1.9-3% of sessions resulted in a worsening of these symptoms (depending on the symptom).

Ultimately, these patients reported an average 60% reduction in compulsions, 49% reduction in intrusive thoughts and 52% reduction in anxiety.

Interestingly, researchers also had access to the CBD and THC levels in the products used. Calculating this into their analysis, they found that those who used high CBD products reported larger reductions in compulsion symptoms than those using higher THC options. This is consistent with previous animal studies suggesting CBD can aid in reducing compulsive behaviour. Those who used higher doses of cannabis also had larger reductions in compulsion symptoms.

Researchers also noted that cannabis seemed to help more with intrusive thoughts early on in cannabis use. But over time, the impact cannabis use had on intrusive thoughts lessened, suggesting that a tolerance to this benefit may develop over time. Still, cannabis remained effective for symptoms like anxiety and compulsive behavior.

While this study suggests that cannabis could be helpful for treating the symptoms of OCD, it does have some limitations. For one thing the sample was self-identified as having OCD, so it’s possible that some in the study may not actually have a diagnosis of OCD. There was also no placebo control group, so we can’t compare to see whether these impacts are attributable to a placebo effect, like they have been in smaller, earlier studies on lower potency cannabis. These limitations suggest that future rigorous clinical research needs to be conducted to truly answer these questions.

Still, this study points the way, with some evidence that cannabis, and perhaps especially high CBD cannabis, could be a beneficial treatment for those suffering from OCD.