Patients With OCD Using Cannabis Were Not Found to Develop a Tolerance to the Drug

March 1st 2021
Contemporary Clinic Staff

Contemporary Clinic® interviewed Carrie Cuttler, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Washington State University, on recent findings that showed that patients with OCD who used cannabis to manage acute symptoms did not develop a tolerance to the drug over time.

Contemporary Clinic® interviewed Carrie Cuttler, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Washington State University, on a recent study she co-authored that was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders on the use of cannabis in treating symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Alana Hippensteele: In the study, did you find that participants developed a tolerance to cannabis over time, as you mentioned, and did any developed tolerance affect the benefits observed in treating OCD symptoms?

Carrie Cutler: Yeah, we explore tolerance in 2 ways. So, first, we examined whether people increased their dose of the drug over time, and we did not find evidence that people with OCD use higher quantities of the drug over time. In fact, there was even evidence that the dose they used to treat intrusions was decreasing over time, which is kind of unexpected.

The other way we explored tolerance was to examine whether people's self-reported reductions in these symptoms got smaller over time, as they continued to use cannabis to manage them. We found that the magnitude of the reduction in intrusions was smaller over time, which is evidence that they may be developing some tolerance to the effects on intrusions specifically. In contrast, symptom reductions for compulsions and anxiety remain constant over time, suggesting no tolerance was developing for those symptoms.

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