Researchers at Washington State University found that the use of cannabis can significantly alleviate the effects of OCD. After smoking cannabis, those affected reported that their compulsions were reduced by up to 60 percent. Unwanted thoughts and the associated anxiety states also halved. The results were recently presented in the “Journal of Affective Disorders”.
Obsessive-compulsive disorders are among the most widespread neuroses. They manifest themselves through obsessive thoughts or actions, such as a compulsive washing or the strong need to count everything. In order to get a grip on these compulsions, sufferers usually have to undergo a lengthy therapy. However, a recent study has now shown that the use of cannabis halves the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder within four hours.
Anyone who has to constantly check whether a door is locked or the lights turned off, who washes their hands excessively often and almost scrubs the skin off their fingers in the process, or who recites certain sentences over and over again to avert bad luck and misfortune, or who chews their nails down to the nail bed, is probably suffering from OCD. It is estimated that about two percent of people in Germany are affected. In most cases, the disease is chronic and is rarely completely cured.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is usually used to reduce such compulsive behaviors. This involves confronting those affected specifically with the stimuli that usually trigger the obsessive behavior. In the process, the patients learn how to withstand the internal pressure. In addition, antidepressants from the group of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are sometimes administered as a drug support.
How does an obsessive-compulsive disorder manifest itself?
In the current study, cannabis is now proposed as a possible treatment method with an immediate effect. “Overall, the results suggest that cannabis may have some positive short-term effects on OCD,” explains psychologist Carrie Cuttler, the corresponding study author. The administration of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, was also associated with a reduction in compulsive disorder. “For me the CBD results are really promising”, Cuttler said, “because CBD eliminates the intoxicating effect.
However, the researchers emphasize that it is a short-term effect. The use of cannabis could not cure the OCD, but only temporarily reduce it. Behavioral therapy is still necessary to control the disease.
The study is based on data collected during more than 1,800 sessions in which 87 persons with OCD used cannabis over a period of 31 months. The reduction in compulsions and anxiety remained largely constant over the entire period.
CBD and cannabis for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorders
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The researchers point out that further clinical studies are necessary to better understand the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in obsessive-compulsive disorders. Furthermore, the results suggest that not all cannabis strains are equally effective. The researchers see the greatest potential in CBD. (vb)
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.