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Cannabidiol (CBD): An Innovative Pharmacological Treatment For Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Paul J. Flaer, M. AlRubaie


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurring and repetitious thoughts coupled to anxiety characterized by obsessive thoughts and associated compulsive behavior(s). The OCD patient often fears that the anxiety will not abate and obsessional thoughts will control her/his mind or body in advocating or carrying out unwanted compulsive behaviors. Such thinking patterns or behaviors may often be frightening but usually they are quite harmless except when promoting accompanying anxiogenic activity. Confused thinking may be severe enough to cause functional impairments when obsessions or compulsions dominate mental status. In OCD, disrupted thoughts and actions may dominate the normal conduct of everyday tasks. Anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts is usually relieved by time-consuming and significant effort-requiring compulsive behaviors. Compulsive activities like diversionary counting, checking behavior (e.g., like repeatedly checking whether the stove is on or off), or excessive cleaning activity dominate the response to obsessive thoughts. Excessive hand washing (sometimes called the Pontius Pilot Syndrome) occurring as a compulsive behavior, not only relieves the causal obsession but serves as a “refresh button” (i.e., like that found on a computer)--clearing the mind of obsessions, compulsive urges, and extraneous thoughts. The major extracts of the Cannabis sativa plant are primarily delta9-THC (causing intoxication, psychosis, often anxiety) and secondarily the non-psychotomimetic compound Cannabidiol (CBD). Studies have found multiple therapeutic actions in the uses of CBD—with anxiolytic activities (i.e., opposing the anxiogenic actions of delta9-THC), anti-psychotic activities, and lessening of the compulsions that occur with OCD and other psychiatric conditions.


Keywords: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Cannabidiol (CBD), “Anxiety-Related” Disorders

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