A Beginner’s Guide to Treating OCD with Marijuana
Canadians, rejoice! With the passing of the Cannabis Act, marijuana has become legal (cue the sound of lighters lighting and champagne bottles popping). Citizens across the country are finally able to (legally) embrace the plant for its multitude of uses and benefits. Some choose to grow a few plants in their backyard (individuals are able to grow up to four plants for personal/recreational use). Others are simply taking advantage of being able to smoke freely in the comfort of their own homes. Some may even enjoy being able to walk freely into a dispensary or buy online without the hassle of meeting up with a dealer. With the Cannabis Act in effect, the possibilities are endless. Another way that Canadians are taking advantage of this much-anticipated legalization is by using cannabis for its medicinal benefits.
In this article, we’re going to focus on those who utilize marijuana to treat conditions related to OCD, and how exactly the chemical makeup of marijuana is able to treat these conditions in the first place.
What is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, commonly referred to as OCD, affects about 2.2 million adults worldwide. It doesn’t discriminate based on gender and most commonly develops after the age of 19. It’s a type of anxiety disorder that brings unwanted, recurring thoughts, obsessions, sensations, or ideas that make you do something compulsively and repeatedly. These behaviors can be like counting your steps as you walk, wanting to wash your hands all the time, and going to make sure that the back door was locked ten separate times before going to bed.
Don’t get these habits confused with routines and personal hygiene preferences, though. When these urges arise within someone who is dealing with OCD, they’re completely unwarranted and hard to control. These behaviours become obsessive when they start to interfere with your everyday life.
Types of OCD
OCD behaviours typically fall into one of these four categories:
Hoarding – This is the inability to get rid of possessions, even if the items are completely useless (feeling the need to own 14 umbrellas, not wanting to throw trash away, etc.)
Contamination – This is a big fear of germs. Those who deal with this always want to wash things or clean with the fear that something “dirty” may get them sick or kill them. It’s also common for individuals who experience this to follow a strict routine and keep themselves very orderly.
Checking – These individuals feel the need to check possessions or their homes to prevent fire, theft, or damage. These individuals typically need constant reassurance, have extreme tension, and feel like nothing is ever “right”. An example of this may be checking that your keys are in your pocket seven times even though you know that you haven’t taken them out.
Intrusive Thoughts – This is when unwanted thoughts or images constantly distress or disturb the person suffering from OCD. These can be bad thoughts about other people, sexualized thoughts, violent thoughts, or fears that aren’t even rational.
Although every person is different, most of those who suffer from OCD tend to be depressed, feel powerless, have low self-esteem, and isolate themselves.
How Can Marijuana Help Treat OCD
Managing OCD can take years to master. The most common type of OCD treatment is cognitive-behavioural therapy which works on training the brain with exposure response and prevention to help some of these obsessions lessen or disappear altogether. Some may opt for medication or general therapy sessions instead. Since managing OCD can be very difficult, many choose to just utilize multiple tools to keep symptoms at bay. This is where medical marijuana can provide some relief.
Marijuana has been used for centuries to treat medical issues including anxiety-related disorders. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the conventional medications used to treat those who have anxiety. SSRIs target areas of the brain and tell the brain to produce more serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating an overall sense of well-being and happiness. Marijuana works similarly in conjunction with a substance known as anandamide. Anandamine produces a calming effect throughout the body when it reacts with THC, helping to reduce anxiety. When anxiety is reduced, so are compulsive urges and thoughts. When used in conjunction with other treatments such as prescription medications, marijuana provides a benefit because it is known to help with nausea, a common side effect of meds.
How Much is the Right Dose?
Some people tend to have heightened anxiety or feel paranoid while they’re high, and it may prevent a user from consuming marijuana altogether. Although this is true, it has been found that this paranoia is only because the user is consuming too much THC. When only a small amount is consumed, a vast majority of people actually see their anxiety levels decrease. Some people may try microdosing (consuming very small amounts throughout the day) to see how it impacts their anxiety. The amount must be enough to feel a real change or sensation but not enough to actually get you high. Less really is more when it comes to microdosing weed.
To avoid all of the trial and error of how much to take without putting your anxiety too far out of whack, another option to consider is utilizing CBD through CBD-only products. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found in marijuana that helps to calm you down and give you happy thoughts without having the ability to get you “high.” The high that users experience when they smoke marijuana comes from the compound THC, so if you’re hesitant to try marijuana because you don’t want to get high, CBD is the perfect option.
The world is finally starting to take notice of CBD and a lot of CBD products have recently come to market that are great alternatives for helping your anxiety. Whether you’re vaping CBD oil, mixing some CBD isolate powder in with your smoothies or eating CBD-infused gummy bears, these are all great options to put your mind at ease and help relieve those OCD behaviours.
Best Methods of Treatment with Marijuana
Just as you would try a variety of strains to figure out which one will help your OCD the best, the same applies to trying different forms of consumption. There are many ways in which you can consume marijuana. The most common ways that people consume marijuana for OCD are:
- Tinctures (liquids)
- Transdermal Patches
If you’re not sure where to begin when treating your OCD with marijuana, we recommend speaking with a doctor or an experienced marijuana employee such as someone who works for a dispensary (a budtender). They’ll both be able to point you in the right direction about which strains will benefit you the most along with which form of consumption you should try and the proper dosage.
If you’re searching for a place to buy marijuana online, look no further. Terra is Canada’s leading online marijuana dispensary that ships directly to you, no matter where you are in the country. We provide fast and discreet shipping on all of our products. Ordering with us is as simple as signing up for an account, placing your order, and submitting payment via e-transfer.
Check out our wide selection of flower, concentrates, edibles, and vape pens. If you’re having trouble deciding or have questions about any of our marijuana products, hit us up and we’d be happy to lend a hand.