Cannabis cuts OCD symptoms in half in the short term, new study reports
According to a Washington State University study, people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) report that the severity of their symptoms halved over four hours after using cannabis. Little is known about the acute effects of cannabis on OCD symptoms in humans. That is why this study sought to examine whether OCD symptoms are significantly reduced after inhaling cannabis. In particular, to examine the predictors of these changes in symptoms: sex, dose, cannabis components, and time factors. Accordingly, explore the long-term possibilities of repeated cannabis use to self-medicate for OCD symptoms, including dose changes over time.
The researchers analyzed the data captured by the Strainprint® app on people identified with OCD. A condition characterized by persistent and intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors, such as compulsively checking that a door is closed. Specifically, data from 87 people were analyzed who tracked the severity of their intrusions, compulsions, and / or anxiety immediately before and after. A total of 1,810 sessions of cannabis use over a period of 31 months.
After smoking cannabis, users with OCD reported that it reduced their compulsions by 60%, intrusions or unwanted thoughts by 49%, and anxiety by 52%.
Cannabidiol concentrations are associated with reductions
The study, published in the Journal of affective disorders, found that higher doses and cannabis with higher concentrations of cannabidiol were associated with a greater reduction in compulsions.
“The overall results indicate that cannabis may have short-term, but not really long-term, beneficial effects on obsessive-compulsive disorder,” said Carrie Cuttler, corresponding author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at WSU. “For me, the results of CBD are really promising because it is not intoxicating. This is an area of research that would really benefit from clinical trials examining changes in compulsions, intrusions and anxiety with CBD. “
This long period allowed the researchers to assess whether users developed tolerance to cannabis. As people continued to use, the reductions in interference became slightly less. However, the relationship between cannabis and the reduction of compulsions and anxiety remained fairly constant.
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Traditional treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder include exposure and response prevention therapy. This therapy involves directly questioning people’s irrational thoughts about their behavior. This is followed by the prescription of antidepressants called serotonin reuptake inhibitors to reduce symptoms. Although these treatments have positive effects for many patients, they do not cure the disorder. Also, they don’t work well for everyone with OCD.
Little study on the subject
We are trying to gain insight into the relationship between cannabis use and OCD. This is an area that is very little studied. said Dakota Mauzay, first author of the article.
Aside from their own research, the researchers found only one other human study on the subject. A small clinical trial with 12 participants found that there were reductions in OCD symptoms after cannabis use. However, the number of patients was not greater than the reductions associated with placebo.
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The WSU researchers noted that one of the limitations of their study was the inability to use a placebo control. More precisely, a “hope effect” could influence the results. That is, when people expect to feel better about what they usually do. The data also came from a self-selected sample of cannabis users, and there was variability in the results. Ultimately, this means that not everyone has experienced the same reduction in symptoms after using it.
However, Cuttler said this analysis of information provided by users through the Strainprint app is particularly valuable. It provided a large amount of data on the participants who used marketed cannabis in their family environment. Compared to cannabis grown by the federal government in a laboratory, this can affect your responses.
The Strainprint app is intended to help users determine which types of cannabis work best for them. The company provided WSU researchers with free access to anonymized user data for research purposes.
According to Cuttler, this study highlights that additional research may reveal therapeutic potential for people with OCD.
This is the fourth study Cuttler and his colleagues have done. With the aim of examining the effects of cannabis on various states of mental health using data provided by the application created by the Canadian company Strainprint. Other studies focus on the impact of cannabis on PTSD symptoms, headache reduction, and emotional well-being.
Inhaled cannabis appears to have short-term beneficial effects on OCD symptoms. However, tolerance to the effects of intrusions can develop over time.
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