OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent, intrusive and unsolicited thoughts and fears, commonly known as obsessions. People with OCD can also experience repetitive behavior known as compulsions.

  • What is OCD?
  • OCD & cannabinoids
  • Text references, literature discussion
    & clinical trials

What is OCD?

Definition
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent, intrusive, and unsolicited thoughts and fears, commonly known as obsessions. People with OCD can also experience repetitive behavior known as compulsions. These obsessions and compulsions may cause distress, anxiety, and interfere with many aspects of life.1

Symptoms
People with OCD can experience repeated and intrusive thoughts which may lead to compulsive behavior or rituals in order to ignore or avoid obsessions.1

Often, symptoms belong to one of the following main themes:

  • Fear of contamination
    Example: Fear of contamination occurs when other people have been in contact with the same object as a person with OCD (i.e. touching the same object)
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty, risk, or the future without performing rituals
    Example: Doubts – Are the door locked? Double-checking
  • Excessive need for systems, tidiness, and symmetry
    Example: Intense distress when order is lacking
  • Avoidance of situations that may trigger obsessions
    Example: Difficulties to shake hands
  • Dreadful thoughts involving losing control and harm yourself and others

Cause
The exact cause of OCD is not yet known. However, there are several risk factors that could be involved in the development of the disorder:1

  • Biology
    Changes in the body’s natural chemistry and brain functions
  • Heredity
    Genetics may play a role but specific genes involved in OCD development remain to be elucidated
  • Learning

Learning about obsessive fears and compulsive behavior from family members

Risk factors1
Factors that can increase the risk of OCD are:

  • Traumatic and/or stressful life events
    Distressing life events like divorce, death of loved ones, job loss, etc.
  • Family history
    If family members have OCD there is a higher chance for a person to develop OCD (i.e. via genetics)
  • Other mental health disorder
    Depression, tic- and/or anxiety disorder may increase the risk of developing OCD
  • Cannabinoids
  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Endocannabinoids

  • CBD
  • THC
  • CB1
  • TRPV1
  • Anandamide
  • Terpenes
  • Strains
  • Enzymes
  • Metabolites

Terpenes

Strains

Synthesizing & Degrading Enzymes

Metabolites

The connection between OCD
& cannabinoids

Ocd

Preclinical studies propose that cannabinoid receptors are significantly expressed in most parts of the main circuitry associated with OCD and enhancement of the cannabinoid’s receptor CB1 function may result in anti-compulsive behavior activity, suggesting potential treatment opportunities with cannabinoids in OCD.2

Preclinical research has shown that the cannabinoid CBD may play a role in the treatment of OCD. However, as there is a significant overlap between OCD, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorders, the cannabinoid THC may possess therapeutic potential. On the contrary, it was also suggested that there is a correlation between cannabinoids and the induction of psychiatric disorders. However, increasing evidence suggests that cannabinoids exhibit positive effects by inhibiting obsessive behavior.3

Note: If you have any further information relevant to the connection between OCD and cannabinoids, or find any of the information inaccurate, outdated or incomplete please contact us here.

Text references, literature discussion
& clinical trials

  • Text references
  • Literature discussion
  • Clinical trials
Review

Several studies observed that cannabis use is connected to OCD (De Alwis et al., 2014; Bidwell et al., 2014; Loflin et al., 2014).

In mice, obsessive-compulsive behavior was effectively inhibited by CBD (Deiana et al., 2012).

In mice, marble-burying behavior (MBB; behavioral model to evaluate OCD) was suppressed by low doses of anandamide (1-10 μg/mouse) or its analogs (AM404 or URB597; 1-5 μg/mouse), while MBB was increased by high doses of these compounds (40 or 20 μg/mouse) (Umathe et al., 2012).

References
Clinical trials

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