Finding the right treatment option for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be challenging. When people turn to self-medication, they risk worsening their symptoms. Experimentally “treating” the symptoms of OCD with illicit drugs is never a safe option.
Marijuana, for example, is not exactly known for overdose potential or harsh side effects because they are usually minimal. However, when the drug is obtained in ways other than a prescription, like from a dealer off the street, there is no way to be certain of what is being taken or what may have been added to the drug.
Does Marijuana Help OCD?
The severity of OCD varies from person to person. In search of holistic remedies, many people wonder, “Does marijuana help with OCD?” Depending on someone’s specific OCD symptoms, they may find marijuana helpful in reducing symptoms.
Frequently, OCD co-occurs with anxiety and the need to control parts of life. Some people living with OCD struggle with marijuana use because it provides a feeling of limited control. However, other people have found the drug can create much-needed moments of peace and a temporary calming of anxiety. Essentially, further research on marijuana to treat anxiety disorders (and OCD) must be published to prove marijuana’s safety and effectiveness as a remedy.
If someone has a history of drug abuse, using marijuana, even medical marijuana, can lead to dangerous consequences like addiction, the use of additional illicit drugs for self-medication and reduced reaction time.
Medical Marijuana for OCD
For some patients, medical marijuana for OCD may be helpful in the same way that it has been effective for anxiety treatment. Instead of THC, medical marijuana contains a chemical called cannabidiol (CBD). It doesn’t have the same effects as non-medical marijuana. Instead, it can decrease someone’s paranoia or anxiety.
However, medical marijuana for OCD may not provide the desired effect for each patient. The severity of anxiety varies from mild to severe. One patient may experience anxiety and OCD differently than another patient who has OCD. Each OCD patient has unique experiences that activate their anxiety and leads to compulsive behavior. Because everyone experiences the disorder differently, their symptoms may react differently to medical marijuana.
Medical Marijuana and OCD Symptoms
Patients with OCD experience a variety of symptoms. Fortunately, medical marijuana can help with most of these symptoms, including:
- Impulsive behavior
- Repetitive behavior and thoughts
- Stress and tension
- Social isolation
Medical marijuana may also help limit the unwanted side effects of certain OCD medications, such as:
- Weight loss
- Abdominal cramps
Key Points: Marijuana and OCD
Some relevant facts to remember about marijuana and OCD include:
- There are forms of marijuana that can help decrease the symptoms of OCD
- Marijuana that is bought off the street can be dangerous and possibly fatal, due to the unknown substances that may be added
- Medical marijuana is an option that people can ask their physicians about
- Medical marijuana is a different style of marijuana than what is sold on the streets and it has the ability to help individuals with anxiety and compulsions
The Recovery Village offers co-occurring disorder treatment by mental health professionals. If you or someone you know has a marijuana use disorder and a co-occurring mental health condition, call The Recovery Village to speak to a representative and begin the recovery process.
Faulk, R. “Marijuana can calm OCD: here’s how” NY Daily News, July 2017. Accessed December 2018. Tambaro, S. and Bortolato, M. “Cannabinoid-related agents in the treatment of anxiety disorders: current knowledge and future perspectives” National Center for Biotechnology Information, June 2013. Accessed December 2018. New Jersey Alternative Medicine. “Does Cannabis Help OCD?” February 2018, Accessed December. 2018
Faulk, R. “Marijuana can calm OCD: here’s how” NY Daily News, July 2017. Accessed December 2018.
Tambaro, S. and Bortolato, M. “Cannabinoid-related agents in the treatment of anxiety disorders: current knowledge and future perspectives” National Center for Biotechnology Information, June 2013. Accessed December 2018.
New Jersey Alternative Medicine. “Does Cannabis Help OCD?” February 2018, Accessed December. 2018
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.