There are several different types of OCD that a person can be diagnosed with, making it difficult to treat. Depending on the symptoms, different forms of treatment will be used. One of these potential treatments is medication. Unfortunately, most medications capable of treating symptoms of OCD come along with some pretty nasty side effects. For this reason, it’s no surprise that more and more people are choosing medical marijuana for OCD, instead.
What is OCD?
OCD is an acronym that stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In the United States, it affects approximately 1% of adults, or 2.2 million people. Typically the disorder presents itself in a person by the time they turn 19.
There are several different types of the disorder, however the 4 most common are:
- Intrusive Thoughts
General symptoms of the disorder may include:
- Unwanted recurring thoughts or sensations
- Uncontrollable obsession with something (for more than one hour per day)
- Continuously struggling with ideas that force you to do something compulsively or repetitively. This may include obsessively checking things, cleaning things, or repeatedly getting the urge to wash your hands.
These symptoms usually will interfere with social interactions, work, school, everyday tasks, and other important functions.
When the patient can’t give in to, or fights against the compulsions or obsessions, distress, anxiety, depression, or tension can result. For some people, the obsessions and compulsions are so severe and uncontrollable that they are unable to pay attention or focus on anything else.
Obsessions may include:
- Needing things to be a certain, specific way
- Extreme aversion to dirt and contamination
- Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
- Unwanted, uncontrollable thoughts (religious, sexual, etc…)
Some examples of compulsions are:
- Maintaining a specified routine
- Cleaning / Organization
- Requiring constant reassurance
With that being said, a patient won’t necessarily be both obsessive and compulsive, although that is often the case.
How is it typically treated?
Common treatments for the symptoms of OCD include cognitive behavioral therapy (cognitive therapy & exposure/response prevention,) anti-anxiety medication, antidepressants, or a combination of all these things.
Medications can manage depression and anxiety long enough to give therapy a chance to work. While this is usually relatively effective, there is some bad news. That is, negative side effects from these medications can be moderate to severe, sometimes making the situation worse.
Potential side effects from anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants might include:
- Blurred vision
- Impaired thinking
- Memory loss
- Weight gain
Medical Marijuana for OCD
Marijuana has been utilized as a pain & anxiety-reliever for hundreds of years. Although the effectiveness of marijuana varies from person to person, one recent study concluded that a large majority of participants experienced relief from anxiety with medical marijuana. The other participants reported increased anxiety, which is due to the unique body chemistry of every individual.
Traditional therapy (medications) boost serotonin, which is your body’s “feel good” chemical. Marijuana does not produce serotonin, but it does stimulate the release of another hormone called anandamide. Anandamide interacts with THC, causing a soothing effect, thus relieving anxiety just as effectively. Reducing anxiety helps the obsessions and compulsions dissipate.
On a side note, if a patient must continue to take anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants, CBD may be able to help alleviate some of the negative side effects.
Medical marijuana can help treat these side effects of treatment/symptoms of OCD, as well:
- Abdominal cramps
- Impulsive behavior
- Repeated behavior and thoughts
- Social anxiety
- Weight loss
If you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you may want to consider medical marijuana for OCD. It is safer than traditional medication, and possibly more effective. It is always advised to speak to a licensed physician before switching treatments.
The US government is finally funding cannabis research! For decades, federally-funded medical marijuana research has been significantly lacking– to say the least. The fact that medical marijuana is still federally illegal, makes studying it extremely challenging. Up until now, research has primarily been focused on drug addiction studies. Clinical studies are a fundamental stepping stone to getting a substance verified as a pharmaceutical, which is why this news is so encouraging.
In December of 2018, the federal government, specifically the NCCIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health) shared it’s intent to study the potential pain relieving effects of “minor cannabinoids” and terpenes.
The NCCIH is one of twenty-seven institutes that make up the NIH (National Institute of Health). This agency utilizes rigorous, in-depth scientific investigation to examine the effects and safety of different health interventions.
What “Minor Cannabinoids” and Terpenes are being Studied?
We’ve all heard (and probably know quite a bit) about the cannabinoids THC and CBD. There are many others, however, that we know close to nothing about. Some of the “minor cannabinoids” of interest are: CBG (cannabigerol,) CBN (cannabinol,) and CBC (cannabichromene.)
There are several terpenes that are going to be studied as well. These include limonene, myrcene, linalool, terpinene, and more.
As you may also know, all of the different cannabinoids work together to provide different pain relieving results.
Why Pain Relief?
Marijuana has proven itself effective in treating a whole slew of ailments, so why is the NCCIH focusing on pain relief? Chronic pain affects approximately one-third of people in the United States. Treating this pain costs Americans well over $600 billion each year. Furthermore, companies suffer an estimated $300 billion dollars annually in lost productivity.
We know that THC and CBD have effective, pain-treating qualities. We also know that other cannabinoids, and even terpenes, synergistically work together to produce healing effects (especially when it comes to pain relief.)
The cost of current pain treatment and the effectiveness that marijuana seems to have, are two driving factors for why the NCCIH wants to study cannabinoids and terpenes more. Research is a necessary stepping stone to certifying marijuana as a viable treatment option.
This research into alternative pain relief could also help reduce the opioid epidemic. Researchers have determined that cannabinoids and terpenes enhance the pain-relieving effects of opioids, which means opioid users can take lower doses.
The federal government has made developing an alternative pain management strategy a priority. The NIH is especially interested in the pain-relieving, non-intoxicating properties of marijuana. Marijuana has been viewed in a negative light for far too long. The fact that the federal government is finally funding cannabis research is extremely encouraging.
If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, your doctor has probably written you a prescription for an antidepressant. The problem is, many of these drugs can produce some seriously negative side effects. While you never want to stop using a prescribed medication without the green light from a medical professional, you may want to consider treating your depression with medical marijuana, instead.
Don’t get us wrong, antidepressants can be helpful and extremely beneficial to some. For others, however, the side effects can make symptoms (and depression) worse. In this article, we’re going to go over the benefits and side effects of commonly prescribed antidepressants and medical marijuana.
Commonly Prescribed Antidepressants
Some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants include Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. When you suffer from depression, you have an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters, and are responsible for mood and emotions. Antidepressants will get these chemicals back into a healthy balance.
Potential Side Effects
The common side effects often associated with antidepressants can include:
Increase in Appetite
Loss of Libido
Severe side effects of prescription antidepressants include:
Serotonin Syndrome (dangerously high levels of Serotonin in the brain.) This can result in side effects including but not limited to high fever, seizures, irregular heart beat, unconsciousness, and death.
Hyponatremia (dangerously low levels of sodium in the blood.) This can result in fatigue, psychosis, seizures, disorientation, agitation, coma, and death.
Mania including racing thoughts, extreme moods, impulsive behavior, sleeping disorders, grandiose thinking, and irritability.
Treating Your Depression with Medical Marijuana, Instead
How does marijuana treat depression? It’s actually extremely similar to how antidepressant medication works. Medical marijuana restores the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, which improves mood and levels out emotions.
Potential Side Effects of Marijuana
Common side effects of Marijuana (with THC**) include:
Nausea & vomiting
Loss of libido
Dry or red eyes
Impaired mental functioning
**CBD, the non-psychoactive medical component of marijuana, has no known side effects.
While most people will not experience the following side effects of medical marijuana as they are extremely rare, it is important to note them as a possibility. AGAIN, all of these rare side effects are associated with THC, not CBD:
High/Low Blood pressure
Lung Issues (if smoked AND you suffer from a respiratory disorder)
While it may seem as though both of these options carry quite a few potential side effects, marijuana definitely has a leg up on the competition. First, developing serious side effects from antidepressants is way more likely than developing those associated with medical marijuana. Second, because marijuana is all-natural, you cannot overdose on it. Marijuana has never killed anyone. Antidepressants, on the other hand, can be overdosed as well as cause death.
Using the right strain and dose of marijuana will help your depression symptoms, using “too much” marijuana will result in experiencing one or more of the common side effects. When it comes down to it, medical marijuana is a much safer (and potentially more beneficial) option.
For you new users, the first time you smoke marijuana can be, well, a little bit rough. Between the inability to gauge how long to pull the smoke, the burning throat, and the coughing, you might find yourself looking for other options. Luckily for you, there are ways to reap the benefits of marijuana without ever having to inhale! You may want to consider the following smokeless ways to enjoy cannabis, instead!
6 Smokeless Ways to Enjoy Cannabis
Vaporizing cannabis is actually said to be more flavorful than smoking. If you choose to vape, you’ll want to shop around for the highest quality table top vaporizers or pens. Vapor from high-quality products is much easier on the lungs when compared to lower quality vaporizers and joints. The effects will come on within minutes, but taper off within a couple hours.
Medical marijuana patients suffering from respiratory issues should not smoke or vape. With that being said, edibles may be the most effective, safest option! These days, there is quite a large selection to choose from! Keep in mind (especially if it’s your first time) to start with a low dose and give it time! Edibles take longer to kick in, but the effects last much longer when compared to inhalation methods.
This is cannabis concentrate that is taken orally, through tablets or putting a few drops in food or beverage. Ingestible oil can be purely CBD, purely THC, or a mixture of both. This method will kick-in and last for generally the same amount of time as edibles.
Tinctures are liquids that are infused with cannabis extract, that are applied directly under the tongue. If you’re looking for quick relief from your symptoms, this is the way to go. Unlike edibles and ingestible oils, tinctures skip the digestive system and immediately enter the bloodstream. This method can come in a variety of flavors and potentcies.
These are cannabis infused soaps, lotions, and salves that are good for localized relief of pain and inflammation. A benefit of topicals is that you can use them without experiencing any psychoactive effects, even if the product contains THC.
This is not a method you should be using if you’re new to the scene. This is due to the fact that dabbing yields extremely potent effects. Dabbing produces a clean, vapor that is then inhaled by the user. The effects will come on relatively quickly.
As you can see, there is an option for everyone! These smokeless ways to enjoy cannabis may be healthier, as well as more effective (depending on your symptoms.)If you believe that you’d be a good candidate for medical marijuana, call us at (844) 442-0362 or schedule your free consultation online, today. There’s no reason to suffer any longer when help is just a phone call away!