A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found a reduction in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms following inhaled cannabis use. The researchers analyzed data from 87 individuals who self-identified with OCD and tracked their compulsions, intrusions, and/or anxiety immediately before and after 1,810 cannabis use sessions over 31 months.
The Washington State University researchers found patients reported a 60 percent reduction in compulsions, a 49 percent decrease in intrusions, and a 52 percent drop in anxiety from before to after cannabis use. The researchers note that there was no placebo group.
“Higher concentrations of CBD and higher doses predicted larger reductions in compulsions. The number of cannabis use sessions across time predicted changes in intrusions, such that later cannabis use sessions were associated with smaller reductions in intrusions. Baseline symptom severity and dose remained fairly constant over time.” – “Acute Effects of Cannabis on Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder,” Journal of Affective Disorders, Oct. 6, 2020
In a statement, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said that there have been few studies assessing the “potential efficacy of cannabis for the mitigation of symptoms of OCD.”
“As such, these findings, though somewhat limited by the study’s design, indicate that cannabis – and, in particular, varieties high in CBD – holds promise as a therapeutic option for OCD patients and should be furthered examined in more rigorously designed controlled setting,” he said.
A study published in May in the journal Depression and Anxiety – the first-ever placebo-controlled study analyzing cannabis use in adults with OCD – included 12 participants and concluded that while self-reported OCD symptoms and anxiety were reduced by cannabis use, it ultimately “has little acute impact on OCD symptoms and yields smaller reductions in anxiety compared to placebo.”