Cannabinoids Show Promise in Treating OCD

Glass bottle CBD OIL, tincture with laboratory for the production of CBD oil.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be a disabling impairment. Presently available medications to treat it are often ineffective or a cause of considerable side effects.

A significant body of research points to the role of the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the anxiety, fear, and intrusive repetitive thoughts and behaviors that are common in OCD. Some patients have shown improvements in OCD symptoms after receiving cannabinoids, and a new review of studies suggests that the ECS may be a target for new treatments of OCD.

Serotinin reuptake inhibitors are the only medications approved by the FDA for OCD treatment. They usually provide only limited relief; some patients find them ineffective.

CBD’s Potential in Treatment of OCD

The authors of the 2019 review see potential in cannabidiol (CBD) for relief of OCD symptoms.

“CBD has garnered increasing interest as a potential treatment for a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions, including anxiety,” the authors wrote. “CBD has been shown to reduce experimentally induced anxiety and enhance the extinction of fear memories in healthy adults.” They also stated that CBD has been shown to reverse some of the negative effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), “including paranoia and memory impairment.”

Much more research is needed, and much is ongoing. The authors concluded that “further exploration of this topic will determine whether cannabinoids pass the most important test: Helping more patients with OCD to achieve wellness.”

*Cannabidiol (CBD) supplements are obtainable in much of the US. A nonpsychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is being studied for its effects on many health conditions. Each state has laws regarding CBD with varying degrees of restriction. Learn about CBD’s status in your state at

Click to See Our Sources

“Can cannabinoids help treat obsessive-compulsive disorder?”, 5/30/19 

“The endocannabinoid system: A new treatment target for obsessive compulsive disorder?” by R.R. Keyser et al., Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 5/29/19