By Brent Gerson | Nov. 1, 2019
I asked myself this question in 2015. It wasn’t the first time. Many years earlier I had promised myself “Never Again”. You can probably imagine why.
Long before cannabis was legal, I explored it the same way everyone else did. I got it from a guy. Everyone had a guy, and the guy had whatever he had. Asking questions like “what strain is this” got a dismissive answer. “OG.” Asking about effects got an eyeroll. The way it worked was simple: You got what you got and you didn’t ask too many questions.
I was struggling with my OCD and cannabis was helping me reframe it. If you think of our brains as a type of computer, OCD can be thought of as malware. Obsessive, distracting thoughts that feel catastrophic despite being irrational. My experiences with cannabis helped me see my thoughts from a different perspective, in much the same way a coder can inspect programming. Often times I’d receive strains that helped me analyze, reframe, and sleep better.
On the other hand, I would sometimes receive strains that made my OCD worse. Expansive paranoia; feeling like I was in a movie, like nothing and no one was real. My obsessive thoughts would race uncontrollably. One time I had an experience so severe that I swore to myself that I would never use cannabis again.
Many years went by. When Colorado legalized cannabis for adult use I began to read about relief from pain, anxiety and sleeplessness using clean, lab-tested, full spectrum cannabis products. I was intrigued, and I visited Colorado for a month in 2015 to explore for myself. When I moved back to California in 2016, I got a medical card and begun trying a wide range of different blends. I kept track of which ones helped me and which didn’t.
One big lesson I learned is that CBD is a godsend for OCD. Not the molecule alone, but as part of a full-spectrum cannabis product. CBD, when combined with a THC-dominant product, allows me to experience the benefits of cannabis without increased anxiety, racing thoughts, paranoia, or any of the effects that had driven me away in the past. CBD and THC work together to help me experience relief from OCD.
Will it help you? The other big lesson I’ve learned is that each person responds differently to cannabis, and particularly to different blends and ratios. Our bodies and minds are too unique to prescribe a one-size-fits-all prescription. I’ve learned how to use cannabis as a tool, selecting the effects I want without the ones I’d rather avoid.
A person with OCD should explore cannabis very carefully. In The Study, we assist our participants in assessing how small doses of active ingredients can affect them, and to carefully self-titrate the right dose and blend for their needs. The key is to be an active participant in the process, to pay attention to how you feel, and to keep track of your results.