OCD is an Anxiety disorder characterised by the obsessive urge for repetitive behaviour.

There is substantial overlap between OCD, Anxiety, PTSD, ADHD and other autism spectrum disorders and possibly also between the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in the treatment of these disorders.

To date, CBD shows the most promising results in the treatment of OCD. As with many psychiatric disorders there is a clear correlation between the use of cannabis and the occurence of OCD.

Although this might suggest that cannabinoids can induce psychiatric disorders, there is increasing evidence that cannabinoids actually suppress obsessive behaviour.

This opens the possibility that patients are, consciously or unconsciously, self-medicating. More research is required.

Literature Discussion: 

Several studies have pointed out a correlation between the occurrence of OCD and cannabis use (De Alwis et al., 2014; Bidwell et al., 2014; Loflin et al., 2014).

However, whether cannabis use precipitates OCD or cannabis is used to self-medicate against the symptoms of OCD remains to be elucidated.

In one study in mice, CB1 antagonist CBD, but not CBDV, THCV or CBG, effectively suppressed obsessive compulsive behavior (marble burying)(Deiana et al., 2012).

In line with this the endogenous CB1 agonist Anandamide stimulates marble seeking behavior (Umathe et al., 2012).


De Alwis, D., Agrawal, A., Reiersen, A.M., Constantino, J.N., Henders, A., Martin, N.G., and Lynskey, M.T. (2014). ADHD symptoms, autistic traits, and substance use and misuse in adult Australian twins. J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs 75, 211–221.

Bidwell, L.C., Henry, E.A., Willcutt, E.G., Kinnear, M.K., and Ito, T.A. (2014). Childhood and current ADHD symptom dimensions are associated with more severe cannabis outcomes in college students. Drug Alcohol Depend. 135, 88–94.

Deiana, S., Watanabe, A., Yamasaki, Y., Amada, N., Arthur, M., Fleming, S., Woodcock, H., Dorward, P., Pigliacampo, B., Close, S., et al. (2012). Plasma and brain pharmacokinetic profile of cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidivarine (CBDV), Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabigerol (CBG) in rats and mice following oral and intraperitoneal administration and CBD action on obsessive-compulsive behaviour. Psychopharmacology (Berl.) 219, 859–873.

Loflin, M., Earleywine, M., De Leo, J., and Hobkirk, A. (2014). Subtypes of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and cannabis use. Subst. Use Misuse 49, 427–434.

Umathe, S.N., Manna, S.S.S., and Jain, N.S. (2012). endocannabinoid analogues exacerbate marble-burying behavior in mice via TRPV1 receptor. Neuropharmacology 62, 2024–2033.

Wiki Entry: