Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), and behaviours that drive them to do something over and over (compulsions).

Often the person carries out the behaviours to get rid of the obsessive thoughts. But this only provides short-term relief. Not doing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety and distress.

People with OCD have repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. These are called obsessions.

Examples are:

  • Excessive fear of germs
  • Forbidden thoughts related to sex, religion, or harm to others or self
  • Need for order

They also perform repeated behaviours in response to their thoughts or obsessions. Examples include:

  • Checking and rechecking actions (such as turning out the lights and locking the door)
  • Excessive counting
  • Ordering things in a certain way
  • Repeatedly washing the hands to ward off infection
  • Repeating words silently
  • Praying silently over and over


Not everyone who has habits or rituals they like to perform has OCD. But, the person with OCD:

  • Is not able to control their thoughts or behaviours, even when they understand that they are excessive.
  • Spends at least an hour a day on these thoughts or behaviours.
  • Does not get pleasure from performing a behaviour or ritual, other than perhaps brief relief of anxiety.
  • Have major problems in daily life due to these thoughts and rituals.


People with OCD may also have a tic disorder, such as:

  • Eye blinking
  • Facial grimacing
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Head jerking
  • Repeated clearing of the throat, sniffing, or grunting sound

Medical Marijuana Efficiency

In 2008, a group of German researchers wrote a letter to the editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry documenting their clinical experiences using marijuana as a derivatives treatment for OCD. They outlined two cases which patients with treatment-resistant OCD visible significant relief from a THC-based pill, ‘Dronabinol’.

The first case was a 38 year old woman who despite 8 months of traditional pharmaceutical and cognitive behavioural therapy treatments suffered from recurring major depression and OCD. Based on the patient’s account and personal experiences of using marijuana for symptom relief, the researchers encouraged her to try a 10mg dose of Dronabinol taken three times a day in addition to her current pharmaceutical regimen. Within 10 a day period the patient reported a significant decrease in OCD-related symptoms.

The second case was a 36 year old man with schizophrenia and OCD who Despite receiving a variety of antipsychotic medications and a course of eighteen electroconvulsive therapy treatments, the patient’s OCD symptoms remained resilient and was experiencing an increase in psychotic and obsessive symptoms. However, Dronabinol was added to the patient’s pharmaceutical regimen and a significant reduction in OCD symptoms was observed within two weeks of adding.