Categorized | Medical Uses

Cannabis Treats OCD

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, also known as SSRI’s, made their debut in the psychiatric field in the late 1980’s.  Campaigns for these drugs began flooding the public and medical sectors and led to huge profits and “successful” prescription drugs.  The pharmaceutical companies, with this enormous foothold in profits, released such recognizable drug names as Celexa, Paxil, Prozac, Luvox and Zoloft.  With the release of these new wonder drugs in the psychiatric realm, the increase of prescriptions by family physicians prescribing them.  Patients as young as four years old are receiving prescriptions which may be leading to a more aggressive and suicidal population. {{{o}}}

SSRI’s unfortunately are giving extreme negative side effects so it seems only logical to find a better alternative to help those who are prescribed these terrible drugs.  There are a large number of the populations who are aware of natural herbs and may use them on an occasional basis, but not enough knowledge and education has been provided on the herbs that can benefit the medical issues of insomnia, anxiety, depression or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).  There is information about psychotropic herbs available in the Handbook of Psychotropic Herbs by Ethan Russo MD who is a well known neurologist with vast knowledge of herbs on a clinical level.

There are several books by Dr. Russo which contain a great deal of data he has gathered about herbal remedies which are a reliable source for helpful information.  Dr. Russo’s books provide information geared towards the scientific aspect of herbal answers of which provide history, usage, preparation of various extracts and the research that is currently available on these herbs and how they are affective in psychiatric conditions and solely on herbs and the CNS or central nervous system and the effects.

In Dr. Russo’s books, he provides an extensive review of various herbs and his advice on the use and effectiveness of the herbs which can be found in the reader’s local health food stores, on the internet or from health practitioners.  From the Foreword of the Handbook of Psychotropic Herbs it reads: “Dr. Russo’s treatment of St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum), is one of the most complete reviews of the clinical literature currently available …”

In the above mentioned book, Dr. Russo offers suggestions of various herbs as alternatives to medically prescribed drugs on various conditions.  For instance, depression can be treated naturally with essential fatty acids, licorice or glycyrrhiza glabra and Hydroxytryptophan (Griffonia Simplicifolia),  Insomnia can be treated by numerous herbs such as Passion Flower or Passiflora Incarnata, German Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita), California Poppy (Eschscholzia Californica), and even with lemon balm, oats or hops.

Cognitive impairment and dementia can be treated with Ginkgo Biloba, Huperzine (Huperzia Serrata) or Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica).  Another condition, anxiety, can be assisted with the use of Kava Kava which is also called Piper Methysticum. 

For OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder the handbook states “OCD is marked by an insurmountable preoccupation with fixed ideas, no matter how preposterous, that withstand the patient’s best efforts to submerge them through the application of logic. Cannabis, as no other substance yet discovered, allows a person to forget, and to laugh, even at one’s own obsessions and compulsions. For OCD, it sounds like just what the doctor ordered.”

The later part of the handbook consists of information about clinical studies that were done and the herbs that are discussed in the handbook.  There are nine studies mentioned and the corresponding herbs are: Case of Dementia Treated with Ginkgo Biloba; Episodic Use of Kava; two of Head Injury Treated with Ginkgo; Treatment of Varied Symptoms with 5-HTP; Dementia Treated with Ginkgo; Treatment with a Variety of Herbal Agents; Managing Mania & Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Cases of Treatment with Ginkgo and Kava and Treatment with a Variety of Herbal Agents.

Some of the credentials that Dr. Ethan Russo, MD holds are that he is a child and adult neurologist, board certified in neurology specializing in child neurology, and is part of the faculty at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Montana.  Dr. Russo lectures to all levels of students who are studying in the fields of pharmacy, sports medicine, physical therapy, psychology and interpersonal communications. 

Safe alternatives to SSRI’s are now available and the medical community is becoming increasingly more aware of these options.  With more studies being done to show that there are natural products available as a safe alternative to prescribed drugs, perhaps the use of natural herbs will soon be more dominant prescriptions than medically prescribed pharmaceutical prescriptions.

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