Chances are, you’ve heard OCD used flippantly as a pejorative. Claiming to have OCD tendencies, or accusing someone else of OCD behavior, makes light of a mental health condition that affects as many as one in forty adults. Living with the disorder can be distressing and debilitating, and finding methods for managing the condition so that it doesn’t hinder the flow of everyday life can be challenging.
Existing first-line treatments provide limited efficacy—could cannabis help in the management of OCD? Let’s delve deeper.
First things first—what is OCD?
At its root, OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, is an anxiety disorder that hinders the brain’s ability to transition between habitual behavior and goal-directed behavior.
Like most mental health conditions, it affects people with different degrees of severity and in a spectrum of ways: some individuals may experience OCD as a fixation with contamination, while others may feel an urge to align objects symmetrically. There are also other body-centered obsessive-compulsive-related disorders such as hair pulling or skin picking.
Each person’s experience of OCD is specific to them, but people with OCD share the common experience of obsessions or persistent, uncontrollable thoughts or impulses that are intrusive and disturbing. These obsessive ruminations can cause an individual with OCD to feel anxiety and perform repetitive actions, known as compulsions or rituals—such as checking and rechecking locks—to disperse the anxiety.