Using CBD for OCD: Why (and How) It’s Effective
In recent years, scientific research has been able to confirm that the anxiety disorder Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) is more common than originally thought. According to recent reports by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1.2% of all US adults have been diagnosed with OCD – with over 80% of the affected suffering moderate to serious impairment. As cannabis and hemp are legalized in a growing number of states, many people are turning to CBD oil as a new treatment to ease OCD symptoms.
Our Top Choices: CBD for OCD
There are literally thousands of CBD brands out there. Knowing which brands provide the best quality and value for money is becoming increasingly difficult.
Since starting Healthy Minded, we’ve published over 20 in-depth articles related to anxiety disorders (including OCD) and spent hundreds of hours researching over 20 different brands of CBD.
We’ve had some bad experiences with some CBD brands (we’ll save those for another article). Our recommendations will make sure you can treat your OCD symptoms with the correct dosage for you, without needing to worry if the potency quoted on a label is accurate or not.
The products recommended on this page are, in our opinion, the highest quality CBD oils from the most reputable brands currently available.
- BEST OVERALL:Koi CBD – Broad Spectrum CBD Tincture
- BEST TASTING:Joy Organics Full Spectrum Organic CBD Tincture
- BEST VALUE:CBDfx – CBD + CBN Oil Calming Tincture
- BEST GUMMIES:Diamond CBD – Yum Yum Full-Spectrum CBD Relax Cubes
Before we get into the details of why we’ve chosen each of these products, let’s go over what we currently know about using CBD oil for OCD and how it might relieve symptoms.
What We Know About CBD for OCD Research
Independent studies, as well as anecdotal history, have provided clear evidence of cannabidiol’s ability to supplement the endocannabinoid system, and provide many medicinal and therapeutic qualities. Several of these qualities benefit OCD directly, such as
- Anxiolytic CBD oil has already been used to treat depression in animal testing, even treating insomnia and stress in children with PTSD. The use of CBD is also shown to help relieve symptoms of other anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, general anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
- Anti-Epileptic strains of medical cannabis high in CBD have successfully been used in treating conditions that cause convulsions, seizures and muscle spasms. Because of its neuroleptic effects, CBD is able to reduce the severity of obsessive and/or compulsive behaviors in children, adults and even pets.
- Antipsychotic CBD is also shown to effectively reduce the symptoms of more chronic conditions such as schizophrenia, manic depression and bipolar disorder. Studies show that CBD medication is not a suitable replacement, but a viable addition to existing antipsychotic treatment.
In combination, CBD’s anxiolytic, anti-epileptic and antipsychotic qualities make it a good choice for treating a broad spectrum of anxiety symptoms and disorders. More importantly, supplementing with CBD may reduce risks associated with the neurological and genetic/hereditary aspects (discussed above) of OCD.
CBD for OCD Thoughts: Does It Really Help?
The viability of cannabidiol in treating symptoms of OCD is more than speculation in the medical community. A 2015 neurotherapeutics study by Esther Blessing and Maria Steenkamp provides plenty of evidence that CBD for OCD is effective. Other supporting studies include Boshuisen et al (2002), Bystritsky et al (2001), Osuch et al (2001) and Schneider et al (1999).
Because they affect the limbic region of the brain, the symptoms from disorders like OCD, epilepsy, dementia and ADHD can all be improved with cannabidiol supplementation. CBD also increases production signaling while inhibiting the breakdown of anandamide. Anandamide is a natural antidepressant named after the Sanskrit for Divine Joy and is commonly known as the “happiness hormone” because of its ability to regulate mood as well as sensations of fear, stress and happiness.
The Entourage Effect
When used alongside other compounds within the cannabis or hemp plant, CBD may actually be more effective than when used alone.
Several studies have shown that various terpenes have anti-anxiety effects of their own. The interaction between CBD and these terpenes may provide a synergistic effect. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect.
For this reason, many people prefer to choose broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum CBD oils and claim that these provide more relief than CBD isolate alone.
Which CBD Oil Should You Buy for OCD?
As CBD is a relatively new industry, picking a CBD oil for the symptoms of OCD can feel a bit like it’s the wild west out there.
We’ve put together this list of three CBD oils from companies that we trust and that we’re confident you’ll be satisfied with.
Broad Spectrum CBD Tincture – Koi Naturals
Our Number 1 Choice
A CBD-expert colleague sent multiple products to labs and found Koi to be the most reliable in its labeling.
Koi’s Hemp Extract Tinctures have been “formulated to provide a complete and restorative experience and to bring balance in your life.”
They contain less than 0.001% of THC (so you needn’t worry if THC has an unpleasant effect on you), and as it’s a broad spectrum product it contains naturally occurring terpenes and other phytocannabinoids. This is an ideal CBD oil for Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
There are four strengths available (250mg, 500mg, 1000mg, and 2000mg).
If you’re splashing out on 2000mg CBD you want to be sure you’re getting every milligram of CBD you’ve paid for – fortunately every one of Koi’s products has an independent Certificate of Analysis from CannaSafe.
Full Spectrum Organic CBD Tincture – Joy Organics
If you’re like us, then you dread the taste of unflavored CBD oil under the tongue. Fortunately, Joy Organics knows how you feel and has produced the best tasting flavors we’ve tried.
And don’t just take our word for it. Their tinctures frequently come out top on nearly all of the top 10 lists we’ve seen online.
Fresh Lime, Tranquil Mint, Orange Bliss, and Summer Lemon flavors are all available in various strengths and sizes.
If you’re suffering from OCD and anxiety-related symptoms, these calming flavors immediately get you in the right frame of mind to reclaim some peace and calm.
Joy Organics has been around since 2018 and was one of the first CBD brands that we had contact with. They also provide copies of all their Certificates of Analysis (COAs) and third-party reports, so you’re always getting a high-quality product.
CBD + CBN Oil Calming Tincture – CBDfx
Best Value for Money
Not only great value for money, but CBDfx has also produced a propriety blend of CBN and terpenes intended to calm you down and keep you that way.
Each bottle contains CBN (aka “the relaxation cannabinoid”) which binds to your CB1 receptors and may produce a sedative-like effect.
Even with these added extras, CBDfx’s CBD oil tinctures are super affordable AND they tick all the boxes when it comes to Certificates of Analysis and Lab Reports. CBDfx also has frequent promos, so you can save even more money by checking their site regularly.
If you find that you need super-strength CBD oil (CBDfx has up to 6000MG), then you’ll struggle to find a better value product (on a cost per MG of CBD basis).
Another thing that stands out is their 60-day money-back guarantee (most other brands are only offering 30-days at the time of writing)
Yum Yum Full-Spectrum CBD Relax Cubes – Diamond CBD
These full-spectrum ‘relax’ gummies, are perfectly portable and easy to consume in any stressful situation.
There’s a total of 1250 mgs of CBD in each tub, which means a well-balanced dose of 25 mg of CBD per cube.
They’re available in various fruit flavors, and we recommend you order the assorted tub on your first try. If you prefer one of the four flavors over the others, you can order a single flavored tub on your next purchase!
How to Choose the Right CBD Oil for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
The CBD market has grown so fast that selecting high-quality, high-value products is challenging. When evaluating what’s best for you, consider the following:
Look for Hemp Sourced In the USA or Europe
Try to buy CBD sourced from hemp products grown in the USA or Europe. These tend to have higher quality, fewer contaminants, and are free of GMOs.
The Hemp grown in these areas has lower levels of THC. When you are taking CBD, you typically do not want THC: for someone feeling anxious, THC can make nervousness worse.
Isolate, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum?
There are three different types of CBD to choose from, and you’ll need to understand the differences between them to decide which CBD is best for people with OCD.
- CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD (and the most expensive too)! It contains no terpenes or any of the other compounds found in hemp. Use if you don’t want to worry about the effects of any other compounds in hemp.
- Full Spectrum CBD does contain other compounds including flavonoids and terpenes – and of course THC. To be legal it must contain less than 0.3%THC. Use Full Spectrum if you want the full effect of CBD, and aren’t worried about the effects of THC.
- Broad Spectrum CBD is Full-Spectrum but without the THC. Use to get the full benefit of hemp without the THC.
The big difference between the three is terpenes (the aromatic compounds found throughout nature, that give cannabis its distinctive taste and smell).
Terpenes, such as limonene, myrcene, or pinene may provide their own effects and relief from anxiety disorders.
Some studies suggest that CBD is more effective when used alongside terpenes, in a phenomenon known as the ‘ entourage effect ’.
Strength & Potency
You can easily waste money on a CBD oil that isn’t potent enough to deal with your OCD symptoms if you don’t check the label carefully.
You’ll notice CBD oil is usually measured in milligrams (mg). The higher this number, the stronger (and more expensive) the CBD oil will be.
Most brands have CBD products with several levels of potency to choose from.
It’s recommended to start at lower potencies and to use a lower amount of CBD. You can work your way up to higher dosages later if you’re not achieving the desired effect.
Most people with OCD don’t care about the taste, while others can’t even bear to think about the taste of an unflavored CBD oil.
If you fall into the second camp, look for a brand with well-reviewed flavors.
Fruit flavors tend to be the most common, but we’ve even seen ‘lemongrass and ginger’ and ‘skittles’ flavors on some sites.
3rd Party Testing & Transparency
Any reputable CBD company will have third-party testing certificates for you to examine on their website.
Take some time to download and read these, and then check the lab that was used for the testing also has a good record (if they don’t have a Google Maps listing this is a BIG red flag!)
You can also examine the ingredients of the CBD oil, which should be listed out on both the label and test results in full.
If you’re new to CBD, how do you know if a brand has a good reputation? You can certainly look at reviews, but we all know how easily they can be faked. So how do we know who to trust?
For external reviews, a great place to look is YouTube. It’s much harder to fake a video than it is to write a phony review.
You can also take a look at their Facebook page, and search on other social media networks to look for unbiased opinions.
Customer Service & Returns
If you have OCD, the last thing you need is further anxiety if something goes wrong.
Check out their returns policy, and if you’re still concerned then shoot them an email with a few questions.
Any customer-focused CBD brand will answer you within a few hours, and this should put your mind at rest.
A Brief Look at OCD’s Root Causes and Effects
In a nutshell, OCD is a cycle of repetitive behavior, obsession, and compulsion. Obsessions are unwanted or intrusive thoughts or memories and images that trigger feelings of distress. The resulting compulsions are various repetitive behaviors an OCD individual engages in to control the obsessions and/or cope with feelings of distress.
Because OCD often occurs with other disorders, it has been challenging for the scientific community to study and diagnose. As of now, there are two main theories regarding its origins:
Neurological medical journals show that OCD patients respond to Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (or SSRIs) with some consistency, leading researchers to suggest that OCD is largely a neurological disorder. However, it’s widely accepted that there are likely other contributing factors.
Genetic OCD has an increased rate of occurrence among first-degree relatives, supporting the idea that there are genetic and hereditary aspects to the disorder. According to the NIMH, individuals with a diagnosed sibling or parent are at significantly higher risk of developing OCD.
The degree of impairment caused by obsessive-compulsive disorder varies by personality type. Obsessions can be irregular or constant, with the potential to seriously harm one’s productivity and reputation in the workplace, university or neighborhood. In either case, it isn’t hard to imagine how excessive compulsive behavior can disrupt daily routines and social interactions.
Natural Medicine is The Best Medicine
More specialized research will be needed to highlight CBD’s viability in tackling OCD specifically. However, there’s an abundance of mainstream and independent material (as well as anecdotal evidence from OCD patients themselves) showing CBD to be effective in treating a wide range of symptoms brought about by anxiety. Fortunately, obsessive-compulsive disorder is no exception, as it falls well within the spectrum of genetic and neurological anxiety disorders.
*The content in this article is for general information only and should not be seen as a substitute for professional advice. For more specific insight into your medical condition, speak with your healthcare provider about the treatment options that are available to you.
**These products have been independently chosen and reviewed. We may earn a small commission if you click to one of their websites and make a purchase. Please note that Healthy Minded continues to run (without a profit) from the small number of hand-picked affiliate programs we join.
The Best CBD Oil Brands for Anxiety & Depression
In the past several years, CBD has become a popular and natural way for people to help manage their anxiety. What is the best CBD for anxiety? And how does CBD help with anxiety? In this article, we highlight our favorite brands of CBD for anxiety and provide important background information on how to use CBD oils to help manage anxiety and depression.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it is one of the active ingredients found in cannabis. Though CBD is a critical component in medical marijuana, most commercially available CBD products are derived from the hemp plant. These products are said to offer a range of personal health benefits, and one of the most significant of those benefits is relief from anxiety.
A Harvard report notes that CBD is commonly used as a way to manage anxiety symptoms, and that those who struggle with various mental health concerns may use CBD to help them combat sleeplessness.
But what does the science really say about using CBD oil for anxiety and depression? And for those who wish to use CBD products to help with anxiety, what are the best CBD for anxiety brands out there?
Does CBD Help for Anxiety?
Studies show that, while CBD doesn’t necessarily alter a person’s baseline anxiety level, it may be useful for reducing experiential anxiety. Indeed, research points to CBD as a potentially effective way to address the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additional research indicates that CBD “has a promising role as alternative therapy in the management of anxiety disorders,” though more clinical testing is needed to verify safe dosage levels.
Based on the available evidence, CBD may potentially help manage the symptoms of anxiety, though it is not a cure. Be sure to consult with your primary care physician or mental health care provider before taking CBD for anxiety and depression if you have any questions or concerns.
Best CBD Oil for Anxiety in 2022
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall – CBDistillery Strongest Full Spectrum – Spruce
- Best Full Spectrum – NuLeaf Naturals
- Best Organic – Cornbread Hemp
How We Chose CBD Product for Calming
When creating our list of the best CBD oils for anxiety and depression, we compared brands and products ib six specific categories.
- Type of CBD — Does the brand use full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate?
- Strength — How many milligrams of CBD does the oil contain per recommended dose?
- Source — Where does the get the hemp used in their hemp extract? Is it grown in the U.S.?
- Flavor — Do they offer multiple flavors, and if so, do they use natural flavoring instead of artificial flavors?
- Transparency — Is the product tested by an independent third-party lab and do they make the results easy to access?
- Customer Experience — What are customers saying about the product and if it has helped them manage stress and anxiety?
Learn more about each of the CBD oils on our list below.
Our Complete Reviews & Opinions
Best Overall: CBDistillery
CBDistillery is known for high-quality, pure CBD products, and their full spectrum oil is a great choice to help you relax. All of their products are third-party lab tested and confirmed to be safe and effective. We like their Relief + Relax CBD oil because it is a full spectrum oil that provides plenty of additional active cannabinoids and plant compounds like CBG, CBC, and terpenes to give you the full benefits of the entourage effect.
- CBD: Full Spectrum
- Strength: 33 mg CBD per serving (1000 mg per bottle)
- Hemp source: Colorado
Why buy: We love this strong full spectrum CBD oil for anxiety because it is sourced from non-GMO, U.S. Hemp Authority Certified hemp grown in Colorado. Taking CBD Relief + Relax in the morning may be a great way to support a sense of calm throughout the day.
Strongest Full Spectrum: Spruce
Spruce CBD oil checks all of the right boxes: it’s all-natural, made from USA-grown hemp, and is backed by rigorous third-party lab testing. You can get this lab-grade CBD oil tincture in a range of potencies, ranging from 750 mg to 2,400 mg per bottle. We like that Spruce CBD oil is all-natural, organic, vegan, gluten-free, and contains no artificial flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners. Note that Spruce products may be too strong for entry-level customers.
- CBD: Full Spectrum
- Strength: 25 mg to 80 mg of CBD per serving
- Hemp source: Kentucky and North Carolina
Why buy: We love that Spruce offers some of the strongest full spectrum CBD products, including their extra strength formula with 80 mg of CBD per serving. We recommend it for experienced CBD users looking for powerful relief from feelings of anxiety and stress.
Best Full Spectrum: NuLeaf Naturals
NuLeaf Naturals CBD oil is about as natural as a CBD tincture can get. It’s made from organic hemp, it’s additive- and pesticide-free, and it’s carefully lab-tested by independent third-party labs. This Colorado-grown, full spectrum CBD offers the full benefits of hemp extract in a natural, organic product. It may be taken daily to help you manage stress and feelings of anxiety by promoting a sense of calm and wellness.
- CBD: Full Spectrum
- Strength: 30 mg of CBD per serving (1800 mg per bottle)
- Hemp source: Colorado
Why buy: We love this strong full spectrum CBD oil because of its simplicity. It contains organic full spectrum hemp extract and organic virgin hemp seed oil. NuLeaf Naturals also provides a consistent concentration of CBD across all bottle sizes to make dosing easier.
Best Organic: Cornbread Hemp
To make their Distilled CBD Oil, Cornbread Hemp extracts CBD only from hemp flowers. This distillation allows the oil to maintain a full spectrum of cannabinoids, with a CBD-to-THC ratio of 27:1. Lower in THC than their Whole Flower oil, this product is better for finding comfort during the day while staying focused and alert. Cornbread Hemp CBD is USDA organic and offers a cleaner tasting oil than some whole plant extracts.
- CBD: Full Spectrum
- Strength: 50mg per 1mL serving
- Hemp source: Kentucky
Why buy: We love this Cornbread Hemp Distilled CBD Oil because it uses whole flower CBD extract for a cleaner product and milder taste. It may be a great way to help ease anxiety during the day without drowsiness or loss of focus. Plus, it’s USDA-certified organic with third-party, ISO certified lab tests on every batch.
Using CBD to Help With Anxiety & Depression: What the Research Says
As cited above, initial research has found that CBD has the potential to help manage the symptoms of anxiety in a variety of cases.
There is also clinical evidence to suggest that CBD can be a tool for managing panic attacks. Panic disorder (PD) impacts about five percent of the total global population, making the anxiolytic effects of CBD products potentially impactful on a widespread level.
There is even clinical evidence that CBD may help minimize the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a nervous condition that can be debilitating. Currently, OCD is treated primarily through cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants, but the recovery rate is exceedingly low. The prospect of CBD as an alternative intervention is potentially game-changing.
But how exactly does CBD impact those with anxiety conditions? The short answer is that products from the cannabis plant tend to have a strong, reactive effect with the endocannabinoid system, a molecular system that regulates many core functions of the body, including emotions. Cannabinoids can bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system and modify the way they function, yielding a range of possible health benefits.
In fact, one study notes that “modulating the activity of the endocannabinoid system turned out to hold therapeutic promise in a wide range of disparate diseases and pathological conditions, ranging from mood and anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, to cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, glaucoma, obesity/metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis, to name just a few.”
While CBD may potentially help to manage stress and anxiety, it is not intended as a cure for anxiety or depression.
How to Choose CBD Oil for You
When you’re looking for the best CBD for depression and anxiety, it’s important to choose a product that is safe, effective, and natural. Here are some important things to keep in mind when shopping for CBD.
What to Look For
Always look for the following pieces of information when comparing CBD oils for anxiety: type of CBD, hemp source, strength, and lab testing. Below are more details on what each of these mean and why they matter.
Type of CBD
There are actually three different types of CBD extract, including full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate. We typically recommend full spectrum products as the most effective, as they allow you to benefit from the full entourage effect of the hemp extract. However, if you undergo drug testing for work or are sensitive to THC, broad spectrum products offer many of the same benefits without the THC. This can also be important for those who find that THC negatively impacts their anxiety.
The quality of the CBD is directly related to the source of the hemp used in a product. Always look for brands that use hemp grown in the U.S.A. We also recommend brands that use either USDA organic hemp or hemp grown using organic farming practices. This ensures that the plants do not contain any pesticides and or artificial fertilizers.
It’s important to know the concentration of CBD in a product so that you can take the appropriate dosage level. For those new to CBD, it’s generally recommended to start with a lower dose, 10 mg or less, and slowly increase the amount as you are comfortable to find the right level of relief. Extra strength products, with 30 mg or more per serving, are recommended for those who know how CBD will affect them. You can read more about the strongest CBD oils here.
Only purchase CBD oils for anxiety that undergo independent third-party lab testing for quality and safety. This is critical to ensure that the product contains the correct levels of CBD and cannabinoids, and that it is free from toxins, heavy metals, or other harmful substances. The brands we recommend all make their lab test results available through QR codes on the product label or on their site.
How to Read Labels
When you check the label of any CBD product, look for information on the four key factors listed above. Labels should clearly state the type of CBD and if it was made with U.S. grown hemp. To evaluate the strength of the product, look for both the amount of CBD per bottle, usually in milligrams per 30 mL, as well as the amount of CBD per serving, usually in milligrams per 1 mL dropper.
Quality products should also include lab-testing certification and a way for you to verify the results for yourself. You can also look for industry certifications and seals from the USDA, Leaping Bunny, the GMO Project, and the U.S. Hemp Authority. Finally, take time to check the list of ingredients to make sure that you are not allergic to any of them. Most CBD oils use a carrier oil like hemp seed oil, olive oil, or MCT coconut oil.
How to Use
For most CBD oils, take a dose once or twice per day, depending on the amount. Some oils work better for daytime use and can be taken in the morning, while others are better suited for nighttime use to help you fall asleep. Again, if you are new to CBD, start with a low amount and slowly increase it to find the correct level to provide relief.
The amount of CBD needed may vary from person to person based on their level of anxiety and other health concerns. One thing that holds true across the board is that using CBD consistently is best for improving stress levels, as the compound builds up within the body, amplifying its effect. In other words, CBD may help you manage anxiety symptoms, but don’t expect it to take effect immediately.
Safety & Side Effects
According to the Mayo Clinic, CBD is generally well-tolerated. There are, however, some mild side effects that can occur. These often result from taking too much CBD, and can include:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
Additionally, CBD can potentially interact with certain prescription medications, like blood thinners and certain forms of statins. Always check with your doctor if you plan to start using CBD alongside any prescription medications. No CBD product has been approved by the FDA to treat anxiety or depression, so be sure to do your own research on any product you choose to purchase.
While CBD may be a great option to help supplement your anxiety management, it is not meant to cure or treat anxiety. If you are suffering from severe anxiety and depression, the best thing to do is speak with your primary care physician or a mental health professional. They may recommend things like cognitive behavioral therapy, journaling, exercise, yoga, or prescription medications to help.
If approved by your doctor, CBD for depression and anxiety may work with these other approaches to help you find relief and better manage stress.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, copywriter, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. As a writer and independent reviewer of CBD products, Josh covers the relationship between cannabis-based products and the human body. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
Medically Reviewed By:
PharmD Scientific Advisor, Medical Reviewer, and Clinical Pharmacist
Adjunct Faculty, UMKC School of Pharmacy