Using CBD for OCD: Why (and How) It’s Effective
In recent years, scientific research has been able to confirm that the anxiety disorder Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) is more common than originally thought. According to recent reports by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1.2% of all US adults have been diagnosed with OCD – with over 80% of the affected suffering moderate to serious impairment. As cannabis and hemp are legalized in a growing number of states, many people are turning to CBD oil as a new treatment to ease OCD symptoms.
Our Top Choices: CBD for OCD
There are literally thousands of CBD brands out there. Knowing which brands provide the best quality and value for money is becoming increasingly difficult.
Since starting Healthy Minded, we’ve published over 20 in-depth articles related to anxiety disorders (including OCD) and spent hundreds of hours researching over 20 different brands of CBD.
We’ve had some bad experiences with some CBD brands (we’ll save those for another article). Our recommendations will make sure you can treat your OCD symptoms with the correct dosage for you, without needing to worry if the potency quoted on a label is accurate or not.
The products recommended on this page are, in our opinion, the highest quality CBD oils from the most reputable brands currently available.
- BEST OVERALL:Koi CBD – Broad Spectrum CBD Tincture
- BEST TASTING:Joy Organics Full Spectrum Organic CBD Tincture
- BEST VALUE:CBDfx – CBD + CBN Oil Calming Tincture
- BEST GUMMIES:Diamond CBD – Yum Yum Full-Spectrum CBD Relax Cubes
Before we get into the details of why we’ve chosen each of these products, let’s go over what we currently know about using CBD oil for OCD and how it might relieve symptoms.
What We Know About CBD for OCD Research
Independent studies, as well as anecdotal history, have provided clear evidence of cannabidiol’s ability to supplement the endocannabinoid system, and provide many medicinal and therapeutic qualities. Several of these qualities benefit OCD directly, such as
- Anxiolytic CBD oil has already been used to treat depression in animal testing, even treating insomnia and stress in children with PTSD. The use of CBD is also shown to help relieve symptoms of other anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, general anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
- Anti-Epileptic strains of medical cannabis high in CBD have successfully been used in treating conditions that cause convulsions, seizures and muscle spasms. Because of its neuroleptic effects, CBD is able to reduce the severity of obsessive and/or compulsive behaviors in children, adults and even pets.
- Antipsychotic CBD is also shown to effectively reduce the symptoms of more chronic conditions such as schizophrenia, manic depression and bipolar disorder. Studies show that CBD medication is not a suitable replacement, but a viable addition to existing antipsychotic treatment.
In combination, CBD’s anxiolytic, anti-epileptic and antipsychotic qualities make it a good choice for treating a broad spectrum of anxiety symptoms and disorders. More importantly, supplementing with CBD may reduce risks associated with the neurological and genetic/hereditary aspects (discussed above) of OCD.
CBD for OCD Thoughts: Does It Really Help?
The viability of cannabidiol in treating symptoms of OCD is more than speculation in the medical community. A 2015 neurotherapeutics study by Esther Blessing and Maria Steenkamp provides plenty of evidence that CBD for OCD is effective. Other supporting studies include Boshuisen et al (2002), Bystritsky et al (2001), Osuch et al (2001) and Schneider et al (1999).
Because they affect the limbic region of the brain, the symptoms from disorders like OCD, epilepsy, dementia and ADHD can all be improved with cannabidiol supplementation. CBD also increases production signaling while inhibiting the breakdown of anandamide. Anandamide is a natural antidepressant named after the Sanskrit for Divine Joy and is commonly known as the “happiness hormone” because of its ability to regulate mood as well as sensations of fear, stress and happiness.
The Entourage Effect
When used alongside other compounds within the cannabis or hemp plant, CBD may actually be more effective than when used alone.
Several studies have shown that various terpenes have anti-anxiety effects of their own. The interaction between CBD and these terpenes may provide a synergistic effect. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect.
For this reason, many people prefer to choose broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum CBD oils and claim that these provide more relief than CBD isolate alone.
Which CBD Oil Should You Buy for OCD?
As CBD is a relatively new industry, picking a CBD oil for the symptoms of OCD can feel a bit like it’s the wild west out there.
We’ve put together this list of three CBD oils from companies that we trust and that we’re confident you’ll be satisfied with.
Broad Spectrum CBD Tincture – Koi Naturals
Our Number 1 Choice
A CBD-expert colleague sent multiple products to labs and found Koi to be the most reliable in its labeling.
Koi’s Hemp Extract Tinctures have been “formulated to provide a complete and restorative experience and to bring balance in your life.”
They contain less than 0.001% of THC (so you needn’t worry if THC has an unpleasant effect on you), and as it’s a broad spectrum product it contains naturally occurring terpenes and other phytocannabinoids. This is an ideal CBD oil for Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
There are four strengths available (250mg, 500mg, 1000mg, and 2000mg).
If you’re splashing out on 2000mg CBD you want to be sure you’re getting every milligram of CBD you’ve paid for – fortunately every one of Koi’s products has an independent Certificate of Analysis from CannaSafe.
Full Spectrum Organic CBD Tincture – Joy Organics
If you’re like us, then you dread the taste of unflavored CBD oil under the tongue. Fortunately, Joy Organics knows how you feel and has produced the best tasting flavors we’ve tried.
And don’t just take our word for it. Their tinctures frequently come out top on nearly all of the top 10 lists we’ve seen online.
Fresh Lime, Tranquil Mint, Orange Bliss, and Summer Lemon flavors are all available in various strengths and sizes.
If you’re suffering from OCD and anxiety-related symptoms, these calming flavors immediately get you in the right frame of mind to reclaim some peace and calm.
Joy Organics has been around since 2018 and was one of the first CBD brands that we had contact with. They also provide copies of all their Certificates of Analysis (COAs) and third-party reports, so you’re always getting a high-quality product.
CBD + CBN Oil Calming Tincture – CBDfx
Best Value for Money
Not only great value for money, but CBDfx has also produced a propriety blend of CBN and terpenes intended to calm you down and keep you that way.
Each bottle contains CBN (aka “the relaxation cannabinoid”) which binds to your CB1 receptors and may produce a sedative-like effect.
Even with these added extras, CBDfx’s CBD oil tinctures are super affordable AND they tick all the boxes when it comes to Certificates of Analysis and Lab Reports. CBDfx also has frequent promos, so you can save even more money by checking their site regularly.
If you find that you need super-strength CBD oil (CBDfx has up to 6000MG), then you’ll struggle to find a better value product (on a cost per MG of CBD basis).
Another thing that stands out is their 60-day money-back guarantee (most other brands are only offering 30-days at the time of writing)
Yum Yum Full-Spectrum CBD Relax Cubes – Diamond CBD
These full-spectrum ‘relax’ gummies, are perfectly portable and easy to consume in any stressful situation.
There’s a total of 1250 mgs of CBD in each tub, which means a well-balanced dose of 25 mg of CBD per cube.
They’re available in various fruit flavors, and we recommend you order the assorted tub on your first try. If you prefer one of the four flavors over the others, you can order a single flavored tub on your next purchase!
How to Choose the Right CBD Oil for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
The CBD market has grown so fast that selecting high-quality, high-value products is challenging. When evaluating what’s best for you, consider the following:
Look for Hemp Sourced In the USA or Europe
Try to buy CBD sourced from hemp products grown in the USA or Europe. These tend to have higher quality, fewer contaminants, and are free of GMOs.
The Hemp grown in these areas has lower levels of THC. When you are taking CBD, you typically do not want THC: for someone feeling anxious, THC can make nervousness worse.
Isolate, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum?
There are three different types of CBD to choose from, and you’ll need to understand the differences between them to decide which CBD is best for people with OCD.
- CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD (and the most expensive too)! It contains no terpenes or any of the other compounds found in hemp. Use if you don’t want to worry about the effects of any other compounds in hemp.
- Full Spectrum CBD does contain other compounds including flavonoids and terpenes – and of course THC. To be legal it must contain less than 0.3%THC. Use Full Spectrum if you want the full effect of CBD, and aren’t worried about the effects of THC.
- Broad Spectrum CBD is Full-Spectrum but without the THC. Use to get the full benefit of hemp without the THC.
The big difference between the three is terpenes (the aromatic compounds found throughout nature, that give cannabis its distinctive taste and smell).
Terpenes, such as limonene, myrcene, or pinene may provide their own effects and relief from anxiety disorders.
Some studies suggest that CBD is more effective when used alongside terpenes, in a phenomenon known as the ‘ entourage effect ’.
Strength & Potency
You can easily waste money on a CBD oil that isn’t potent enough to deal with your OCD symptoms if you don’t check the label carefully.
You’ll notice CBD oil is usually measured in milligrams (mg). The higher this number, the stronger (and more expensive) the CBD oil will be.
Most brands have CBD products with several levels of potency to choose from.
It’s recommended to start at lower potencies and to use a lower amount of CBD. You can work your way up to higher dosages later if you’re not achieving the desired effect.
Most people with OCD don’t care about the taste, while others can’t even bear to think about the taste of an unflavored CBD oil.
If you fall into the second camp, look for a brand with well-reviewed flavors.
Fruit flavors tend to be the most common, but we’ve even seen ‘lemongrass and ginger’ and ‘skittles’ flavors on some sites.
3rd Party Testing & Transparency
Any reputable CBD company will have third-party testing certificates for you to examine on their website.
Take some time to download and read these, and then check the lab that was used for the testing also has a good record (if they don’t have a Google Maps listing this is a BIG red flag!)
You can also examine the ingredients of the CBD oil, which should be listed out on both the label and test results in full.
If you’re new to CBD, how do you know if a brand has a good reputation? You can certainly look at reviews, but we all know how easily they can be faked. So how do we know who to trust?
For external reviews, a great place to look is YouTube. It’s much harder to fake a video than it is to write a phony review.
You can also take a look at their Facebook page, and search on other social media networks to look for unbiased opinions.
Customer Service & Returns
If you have OCD, the last thing you need is further anxiety if something goes wrong.
Check out their returns policy, and if you’re still concerned then shoot them an email with a few questions.
Any customer-focused CBD brand will answer you within a few hours, and this should put your mind at rest.
A Brief Look at OCD’s Root Causes and Effects
In a nutshell, OCD is a cycle of repetitive behavior, obsession, and compulsion. Obsessions are unwanted or intrusive thoughts or memories and images that trigger feelings of distress. The resulting compulsions are various repetitive behaviors an OCD individual engages in to control the obsessions and/or cope with feelings of distress.
Because OCD often occurs with other disorders, it has been challenging for the scientific community to study and diagnose. As of now, there are two main theories regarding its origins:
Neurological medical journals show that OCD patients respond to Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (or SSRIs) with some consistency, leading researchers to suggest that OCD is largely a neurological disorder. However, it’s widely accepted that there are likely other contributing factors.
Genetic OCD has an increased rate of occurrence among first-degree relatives, supporting the idea that there are genetic and hereditary aspects to the disorder. According to the NIMH, individuals with a diagnosed sibling or parent are at significantly higher risk of developing OCD.
The degree of impairment caused by obsessive-compulsive disorder varies by personality type. Obsessions can be irregular or constant, with the potential to seriously harm one’s productivity and reputation in the workplace, university or neighborhood. In either case, it isn’t hard to imagine how excessive compulsive behavior can disrupt daily routines and social interactions.
Natural Medicine is The Best Medicine
More specialized research will be needed to highlight CBD’s viability in tackling OCD specifically. However, there’s an abundance of mainstream and independent material (as well as anecdotal evidence from OCD patients themselves) showing CBD to be effective in treating a wide range of symptoms brought about by anxiety. Fortunately, obsessive-compulsive disorder is no exception, as it falls well within the spectrum of genetic and neurological anxiety disorders.
*The content in this article is for general information only and should not be seen as a substitute for professional advice. For more specific insight into your medical condition, speak with your healthcare provider about the treatment options that are available to you.
**These products have been independently chosen and reviewed. We may earn a small commission if you click to one of their websites and make a purchase. Please note that Healthy Minded continues to run (without a profit) from the small number of hand-picked affiliate programs we join.
CBD Oil for Anxiety: Can CBD Treat Anxiety?
Do you suffer from anxiety? You’re not alone as Anxiety UK says that 6 million people in the UK suffer from anxiety or depression (approximately 3 million with depression as their primary problem and 3 million with an anxiety disorder.) Anxiety is a broad spectrum and can affect each one of us differently. From generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), Panic disorders, social anxiety disorder (SAD), specific phobias agoraphobia, Substance medication-induced anxiety, Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). These are some of the most common types of anxiety people come across.
People can be affected by more than one type of disorder however, the most common is GAD. It is estimated that generalised anxiety disorder affects up to 5% of the UK population. Women are slightly more affected than men, and the condition is more common in people from the ages of 35 to 59. However, younger people can still suffer from this mental illness.
GAD can effect us psychological (mental) and physically.
Symptoms can be different from person to person, they include:
- feeling restless or worried
- having trouble concentrating or sleeping or heart palpitations
Feeling anxious at certain times is natural, before a presentation, big event and other stressful situations – it is okay to feel jittery or have the flutters.
But when you feel anxious about everyday stuff, your worries and fears are getting the better of you, or causing distress. It maybe time to go to the GP and speak to them with regards to your anxiety.
A GP will discuss your symptoms ask you questions about your fears, emotions and how you are feeling to see if you have an anxiety disorder.
So what causes Generalised Anxiety Disorder?
The exact cause of GAD is not entirely understood however, industry professionals believe that it may be caused due to combinations of different reasons.
- Your brain maybe hyperactive in parts of the brain which focus on emotions and behaviour
- A chemical imbalance of levels of serotonin and noradrenaline, these chemicals help regulate your mood
- You genes that you inherit from your parents – you’re estimated to be 5 times more likely to suffer or develop GAD if a family member also suffers
- Stressful or traumatic experiences, such as child abuse, domestic violence or bullying can lead to GAD
- Having a history of drug or alcohol misuse
- Suffering a long term illness such as chronic pain.
However, there are some simple methods which can help people manage their anxiety.
Psychological therapies can help people manage their anxiety, one of the main therapies is cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). You can speak to your GP with regards to getting treatment.
Medicines such as antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can potentially help.
However, many people are turning to natural medicines / supplements such as CBD oil to improve their wellbeing and help to combat their anxiety. There are also some self help methods you can introduce in your life to control your anxiety / GAD.
- Exercising regularly
- Self help course / speaking to a professional
- Stop smoking
- Reduce the amount of caffeine intake throughout your day
- Cut down on the amount of alcohol you consume
- Yoga and mediation can help with piece of mind
So what is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid which can be extracted from hemp flower and leaves (cannabis sativa .l) and cannabis plants. However, due to legality in the UK, CBD is extracted from hemp. When extracted the resin contains 100+ chemical compounds within it, CBD is one of the cannabinoids which can be founds.
Cannabinoids such as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the psychoactive ingredient associated with getting ‘stoned’. This is later filtered from the resin or left at trace amounts no more than 0.2% in the UK. This is due to the legality of THC, being a class B controlled substance. The resin is then diluted into a carrier oil being; MCT (coconut oil), hemp seed oil or other oils. You maybe thinking should I take CBD oil for my anxiety?
So how can CBD help anxiety?
CBD oil can help reduce stress, this is one of the major causes of anxiety / GAD. Humans have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), consuming CBD helps or body control ECS receptors in our body. ECS plays a major role in controlling homeostasis this helps our body maintain a healthy equilibrium / balance. Consequently CBD oil and other cannabinoid based products can lead to people having better control on their mood, improved relaxation, better sleep and a reduction in their anxiety.
Alongside that, our body also becomes more sensitive to serotonin by enhancing our 5htp1 receptor. CBD allows our 5htp1 receptor respond more efficiently to serotonin. Serotonin helps filter negative thoughts which can cause humans to feel anxious. Overall, studies have shown positive results for CBD as treatment for multiple anxiety disorders, including generalised anxiety disorder.
CBD works very similar to SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which is a prescription based drug. Due to CBD having the ability to work alongside serotonin receptors to help balance your mood. Researchers have seen promising results from CBD as a short term remedy, but the long term benefits need further research.
CBD Oil Dosages for Anxiety
The FDA approves CBD as a food supplement for a broad spectrum of medical and psychological illnesses. However, they also have strong policies against the cannabidiol market advertising CBD as a ‘100% guaranteed’ cure all medical conditions.
CBD oil for anxiety is an approved treatment by the FDA however, experts still find it is difficult to accurately measure correct dosages. Reasons behind this is because there are many variables to take into consideration; height, age, weight, what you have eaten during the day all can affect on the dosage you need.
You may be wondering is CBD oil dangerous? Fortunately it is relatively harmless, as humans would need to consume 20,000mg at once to reach a toxic level. In comparison, this is the same as having two pints at the pub. The worst thing you can feel from the non – psychoactive substance is nauseous, light headed, dry mouth and fatigued. The side effects indicate that your dosage is too high and you should lower your dosage.
We advise trying Dr. Ed’s 5% 500mg calm CBD oil for anxiety. Starting with 5 drops in the morning and 5 at night. If you feel anxious during the day we recommend taking 5 more drops when needed. Slowly increase the amount each day from 5 – 10 until you reach a comfortable level. If you wanted a stronger dosage Dr. Ed has a 1000mg bottle as their strongest dosage. Reasons why we recommend Dr. Ed’s CBD for anxiety is because of it’s unique calming terpene blend.
Thus before trying out what dosage is right for you, we advise consulting your doctor beforehand. If you are looking to take CBD therapeutically and taking other medication, pregnant, breastfeeding, have allergies or mental health issues. Please consult your doctor beforehand.x
So What are Terpenes and How Can They Treat Anxiety?
Terpenes are a large naturally occurring diverse group of organic compounds. They can be found in a variety of plants, herbs and even in cannabis and hemp. Multiple terpenes can be present in cannabis, or a certain type of terpene can be more dominant. They are fragrant oils which dictate the aroma of a plant. It is what gives cannabis strains their signature smell and flavour. Terpenes do not get you high like THC however, they bind to receptors in our brain and give an increase in certain effects i.e. feeling calm. When adding a terpene blend to CBD oil you can naturally improve the taste of a product. Alongside, engineering the CBD oil to act in a certain way.
With this in mind, Dr. Ed cleverly has added a subtle terpene blend which naturally helps to calm the user. This make their CBD oil perfect for helping to treat anxiety. With their non waxy oil, they have created a good balance between terpene and CBD. This is what gives there product their unique citrus taste. If there are too many terpenes present, it can cause the flavour to be less pleasurable and enhances the product too much.
Should THC be Present in CBD Oil to help treat Anxiety?
When purchasing a CBD oil you may of come across THC free or with trace amounts of THC. THC at trace amounts will not get you high. However, when THC is present in CBD oil can help with creating an entourage effect. The entourage effect is caused when other cannabinoids are present and due this it allows each cannabinoid to respond more efficiently with in our ECS. So a little bit of THC helps the CBD work more effectively in our body.
However, each person responds differently from substance to substance. Some people maybe completely fine with a little bit of THC in their CBD oil. But for others this could potentially be anxiety inducing. As mentioned Dr Ed’s CBD oil is great for treating anxiety. This is because their calm CBD oil contains a broad spectrum of cannabinoids with out the THC. With it containing; CBD, cannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabigerol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDC) it allows you still to benefit from the entourage effect.
There is a lot of trial and error with CBD oil for anxiety and purchasing the right product can be hard. Not every CBD product may work to help your anxiety, this maybe due to multiple reasons. The product does not actually contain any CBD in it or at low amounts. To prevent this make sure the company you purchase the product publishes their test results. Product which work for one person doesn’t mean it will work well for another. This is because everyones chemical make up is different, and each product may a have different response from person to person.
Conclusion: Can CBD Oil help treat your anxiety?
To conclude products derived from cannabis and hemp have shown positive results as a therapeutic forms of treatment, with a multitude of medicinal benefits. On the 1st November 2018 cannabis in the UK was legalised for medicinal purposes. However, only a handful of patience have been prescribed cannabis as a form of medicine. Fortunately, CBD oil is legal to consume recreationally and medicinally.
CBD may not be a wonder cure for all types of anxiety. However, it has great potential to help people treat their anxiety and improve their overall wellbeing. When trying out a product make a mental log of how you are feeling and if the product is working for. If don’t have success trying another brand or a slightly higher dosage. We call this the Goldilocks principle, you have to find the right balance and work out what is right for you.
However, we recommend running it past your practitioner before taking CBD to try and combat your anxiety.
Overall we recommend starting with Dr. Ed’s 5% 500mg calm to help with anxiety.