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.
Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental conditions in today’s society, especially among young adults. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has found that 1 in 4 people between the ages of 18 and 24 suffer from anxiety, depression, or both. More college students than ever before are weaning themselves off prescription medications and transitioning to calming anxiety with medical marijuana, instead.
Stigma Getting in the Way
A large majority of doctors are still against using cannabis to treat their patients illnesses. Many of these doctors claim that medical marijuana will add to the problem, even though there have been numerous success stories. Although Medical Marijuana is now legal in more than half of the US states, there is still a stigma attached to it that may be inhibiting access to effective treatment.
College students that have spoken about their illness have claimed that they were embarrassed about being on antidepressant and antianxiety medications. Many of them admitted that they would try to hide this fact from their peers, friends and even their families, causing themselves to become quite isolated.
Negative Side Effects of Prescription Medications
It’s important to note that prescription medications can produce a wide range of negative side effects, including but not limited to:
- Risk of suicidal thoughts
- Mood swings
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Increase or decrease in blood pressure
- Heart palpitations and other irregular cardiac symptoms
- Negatively impact lung conditions
- Muscular rigidity and problems with motor skills
- Sexual dysfunction
- Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, confusion, increased anxiety and agitation
- Life threatening allergic reactions
- Death (by overdose)
Effective and Safe Alternative
Obviously, these are some pretty severe side effects for medications that are supposed to simply improve your mood. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, has proven itself to be an effective treatment for anxiety and depression, without most of these side effects. Common side effects of marijuana use is dry mouth, dizziness, decreased motor skills, drowsiness, and increased appetite. It is true that in a small number of patients, marijuana (specifically THC) can cause paranoia and hallucinations, leading to increased anxiety. This problem can be solved simply by adjusting the strain used to a higher CBD, lower THC concentration.
Patients that reside in legal states have seen more success simply because they have the ability to choose their strain. Knowing what works for you and what doesn’t is a large part of the effectiveness of this medicine. It’s imperative that patients treat marijuana as a medication. Use it when you need it. Becoming a burnout will not help your situation.
Removing the Stigma
Many young patients agree that not only is marijuana more effective than their former prescription medications, but it is also much less embarrassing. Removing the stigma of marijuana opens the door for connection and provides a sense of community. Marijuana can help patients suffering from anxiety and depression to become more sociable when they normally would have isolated themselves. This, of course, is a huge factor in decreasing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Having friends that you can talk to can literally save your life.
More college students are effectively calming anxiety with medical marijuana. Removing the stigma associated with this drug will open the door for even more people to find relief.
If you feel like you would be a good candidate for medical marijuana, and you reside in the state of Florida, call us at (786) 224-4005 or schedule your free consultation ONLINE. It’s time to put your health first!