A new study suggests that cannabinoids may play a vital role in relieving symptoms of anxiety, fear, and repetitive behaviours.
Titled ‘The Endocannabinoid System: A New Treatment Target for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?’, the study found evidence to suggest that cannabinoids could help regulate neurotransmitters. These are chemical messengers which carry signals between cells in the body.
“We examined the complex workings of the ECS and found evidence from animal and human studies supporting a link between OCD symptoms and the ECS,” said Dr. Reilly Kayser of Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), one of the lead researchers of the study.
The study was conducted by the NYSPI in conjunction with the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and they commented that: “[S]ome patients with OCD who smoke cannabis anecdotally report that it relieves their symptoms and mitigates anxiety, and several case reports describe patients whose OCD symptoms improved after they were treated with cannabinoids.”
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a complex psychological condition which is extremely difficult to treat. The current method of treatment is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) but only about 10% of those treated make a full recovery and just over half show any improvement. A new form of treatment needs to be developed and cannabinoid-based medications could be the answer.
Up to now, research has shown that medical cannabis oil is effective in treating other neurological conditions, such as epileptic seizures and certain autism symptoms.
“OCD is a complex condition that shares features with other illnesses,” Kayser said.
“We need to do well-designed, placebo-controlled studies in humans to help us understand more about how cannabis and related substances impact symptoms of OCD and other psychiatric conditions.”