Roughly 5% of Americans reside with a body-focused repetitive habits (BFRB), corresponding to compulsive hair pulling, nail biting, or pores and skin choosing. In lots of instances, BFRBs are born from a have to self-soothe, and people who expertise them might discover themselves ceaselessly performing a BFRB with little or no consciousness of the very fact. 

Not like those that self-harm, folks with BFRBs sometimes don’t intend to inflict pain on themselves or trigger bodily harm to their our bodies, however all BFRBs trigger victims to repeatedly contact their hair, physique, or each, in finally damaging methods. Relying on the BFRB, they will result in bald spots, scarring, sores, infections, and different points. 

There’s nonetheless a lot to study BFRBs, however hashish and hemp-derived CBD could also be used to assist deal with these problems, or on the very least, present some much-needed reduction to those that reside with them. 


Cannabis and OCD: What does the science say?

Forms of body-focused repetitive behaviors 

Whereas hair pulling, (trichotillomania) nail biting (onychophagia), and pores and skin choosing (excoriation) could also be among the many most well-known BFRBs, the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors states on its web site that any repetitive self-grooming habits that entails biting, pulling, choosing, or scraping one’s personal hair, pores and skin, or nails and leads to harm to the physique might be included below the BFRB umbrella. 

Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, Medical Officer of Jushi Holdings, cites lip biting, cheek biting, nail choosing, scab consuming, knuckle cracking, tooth grinding, and pores and skin biting as only a few grooming-related behaviors that may be outlined as BFRBs.

Causes of body-focused repetitive behaviors

“Whereas the precise reason for BFRBs stays an enigma, it’s thought that these underlying problems are associated to obsessive-compulsive dysfunction and are brought about at the least partially by nervousness,” mentioned Dr. Mechtler. 

Particularly, hair pulling and pores and skin choosing are categorised below “Obsessive-Compulsive and Associated Problems” within the Diagnostic and Statistical Guide of Psychological Problems, Fifth Version (DSM-5). Nevertheless, though BFRBs share some signs with OCD, it needs to be famous that not all BFRBs are grouped below the OCD label. 


Cannabis and Depression

Throughout the board, nervousness and stress appear to play a big position the place BFRBs are involved, and despair may also be an underlying trigger. Dr. Junella Chin, Chief Medical Officer of, mentioned it’s essential to work with a healthcare supplier to search out out whether or not a BFRB is anxiety- or depression-induced. 

It’s additionally believed that temperament, surroundings, age of onset, stressors, and even genetic predisposition might play a component within the growth of BFRBs, in line with the TLC Basis. 

In truth, a 2014 article that reviewed a number of twin and household research discovered a connection between genetics and the event of OCD and associated problems, corresponding to hair pulling and pores and skin choosing. Relating to hair pulling specifically, one examine on twins reviewed estimated a 76% likelihood of heritability, however one other estimated solely 32%. 

Childhood trauma has been regarded as a possible reason for compulsive hair pulling, however according to the TLC Foundation, as a complete, folks with BFRBs don’t appear to expertise adolescence trauma at larger charges than the final inhabitants.


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How hashish may help with BRFBs

Dr. Mechtler cites endocannabinoid deficiency as a doable reason for BRFBs. “The Endocannabinoid Deficiency Concept states that there are a mess of situations, i.e., nervousness, migraine, persistent ache, IBD, and many others., that are brought about partially or in complete by low ranges of naturally produced cannabinoids,” he mentioned. This concept additionally states that these situations could also be improved and handled by supplementing the physique with plant-based cannabinoids corresponding to THC or CBD, he mentioned. 

“A small pilot examine with dronabinol discovered that this could be a doable therapy in decreasing trichotillomania [hair pulling]. Dronabinol is an artificial THC and it considerably lowered the impulsive habits of the topics in this study,” mentioned Dr. Chin. 

Within the examine, 14 girls affected by compulsive hair-pulling got 2.5-15mg of the artificial THC day by day, over the course of 12 weeks. The day by day dronabinol doses resulted in a big discount in compulsive hair pulling signs for 9 of the ladies. 

Regardless, it’s essential to keep in mind that THC might ease nervousness, and in flip ease BFRBs. However for some, relying on how their physique interacts with hashish, THC may increase anxiety


How to use cannabis for anxiety

Happily, a wealth of anecdotal evidence and numerous recent studies present that CBD-rich hashish strains and hemp-derived CBD merchandise can considerably scale back nervousness for most individuals, which implies they need to assist present reduction for a lot of with anxiety-induced BFRBs. “CBD could also be useful together with cognitive behavioral remedy to cut back tense, obsessive, compulsive, and anxious tendencies,” mentioned Dr. Chin. 

Dr. Mechtler and his crew are endeavor research and evaluating the usage of cannabinoid-based therapies for a complete host of situations and ailments. “One constant theme we see in our analysis is that use of medical hashish merchandise, whether or not that could be a high-quality, third-party examined, hemp-based CBD product … or by way of medical marijuana-sourced state packages, sometimes leads to a big enchancment of the examine inhabitants’s nervousness,” mentioned Dr. Mechtler. “As nervousness is probably going a causal think about BFRB, we will deal with BFRBs with medical hashish by relieving the associated underlying anxieties.” 

CBD merchandise might also assist by enhancing restorative sleeping patterns and assuaging persistent ache, mentioned Dr. Mechtler, since each are related to decreasing nervousness ranges. 

Whereas folks with BFRBs might discover hashish and hemp-derived CBD merchandise useful, it’s really useful to contain a educated clinician in therapy choices, as hashish and hemp-derived CBD will not be probably the most acceptable therapy possibility. “It’s essential to recollect hashish will not be a panacea. Different choices {that a} well-qualified clinician might recommend might embrace behavioral remedy, typical pharmaceutical interventions, and/or complement remedy,” mentioned Dr. Mechtler.

Elizabeth Enochs's Bio Image

Elizabeth Enochs

Liz Enochs is a author and journalist from a small city in Missouri that you’ve got in all probability by no means heard of. Along with Leafly, her work has been printed by Bustle, Narratively, USA At present, HelloGiggles, POPSUGAR, and lots of others. Most of the time, you may discover her within the woods.

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