Nail-biting is one of the main body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRB) alongside hair pulling and skin picking. According to an estimate, almost 5% of Americans suffer from BFRBs, most of which are actively seeking help. Unfortunately, lack of awareness surrounding these behaviors makes it difficult for those seeking help to actually get it. 

Victims of such repetitive behaviors often lead to self-harm if the problem is left untreated. Although there is still a lot of research required to determine the range of benefits of cannabis, experts believe that CBD (a common compound found in cannabis plants) may help get rid of BFRBs.

In this article, we will dive deeper into BFRBs and highlight the potential research-backed benefits of cannabis in treating these behaviors – particularly nail-biting.

What Causes BFRBs?

Researchers often associate most body-focused repetitive disorders with obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). However, not all BFRBs are under the OCD label. According to the 5th Edition of the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, skin picking, and hair-pulling are categorized under OCD, while nail-biting is exempt from this list.

Research suggests that genetics may be associated with the contraction of BFRBs that fall under OCD.

Cannabis: A Potential Remedy?

A common assumption that many hold is that a bodily deficiency of endocannabinoids may cause issues like stress, anxiety, and chronic pain, etc. The same theory suggests that BFRBs could also be a cause of low levels of endocannabinoids in the body.

One medical officer, Dr. Mechtler stated that injecting plant-based cannabinoids (from the cannabis plant) into the body may enable the body to counter certain illness-based issues like BFRBs, among others.
One study conducted took women suffering from hair-pulling behaviors who were dosed with 2.5 to 15mg of synthetic THC. Over 64% of the respondents saw a significant reduction in their compulsive behavior, which has led experts to believe that it could also work for relatively milder BFRBs like nail-biting.

Nail-biting is also associated with stress and anxiety, illnesses with symptoms which been proven to decrease with the consumption of cannabis. In other words, consuming CBD or THC may also result in a decrease in nail-biting.  

Several studies are still being conducted to determine how cannabis consumption may help in reducing the symptoms of BFRBs and other compulsive disorders. Dr. Mechtler is one of the researchers who has seen a common pattern in all of his studies – he has found out that consumption of CBD has been helpful in the reduction of anxiety in people. As mentioned above, this could be critical in resolving BFRBs associated with stress and anxiety.

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