The Best Cannabis Strains for ADD/ADHD
Let’s face it – sometimes we can all use a little help focusing. Whether or not you’ve been to a doctor and were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), entire industries have sprung up to help us extend our attention spans. The marijuana industry is no exception to this. As research continues to delve deeper into medical cannabis, a growing number of people are turning toweed for ADD and other attention issues.
What are ADD and ADHD?
ADD and ADHD are both medical diagnoses given to people who have a hard time focusing or paying attention to specific tasks. The former refers to people who struggle with a frequently wandering mind, while the latter covers people whose attention issues manifest physically in the form of hyperactivity. Both diagnoses are generally associated with children and young people, but as technology, jobs, media, and more pull our attention in a million directions at once, adults of all age ranges are also struggling to stay focused.
Does Weed Help You Focus?
One of the best things about cannabis is how versatile the plant is. And while people typically turn to pharmaceuticals like Adderall to treat attention deficit, cannabis has shown to help increase focus as well. Although clinical research into the topic has been significantly hindered by federal prohibition, years of anecdotal evidence have spawned a new nickname for certain strains of hyperfocus bud – green Adderall.
So if you’ve had a hard time staying on topic and you’re wondering how to focus with ADHD or spend more time wondering “how can I focus with ADD?” than actually doing your work, it might be time to try weed. When it comes to buying cannabis, there are four general classifications: indica, sativa, hybrid, and CBD. When it comes to the question of Sativa or Indica for ADHD or ADD, each category of bud comes with unique benefits.
Just like traditional attention-deficit drugs use amphetamines to help people focus, sativas have been known to keep the mind active and at attention. On the other end of the spectrum, indicas tend to have a relaxing body effect that can help some people slow down and focus on the task at hand. And in the middle, hybrid strains contain characteristics from both sides of the spectrum, often resulting in the most effective medical marijuana experience.
5 of the Best Strains to Focus
A strictly Sativa crossbreed of Tangie and Sour Diesel, Sour Tangie is a mentally-stimulating strain that is great for focus. Sour Diesel is known for its popularity in busy East Coast cities like New York precisely because it is a perfect strain to smoke all day without going into a stoned stupor. Combining those effects with the bright, citrus-heavy terpenes in Tangie, Sour Tangie is one of the best strains for studying.
A legacy Sativa strain named after one of California’s most legendary pot pioneers, Jack is one of the best strains for ADD. Jack Herer is a combination of Haze, Skunk, and Northern Lights, and is well-regarded as one of the industry’s bedrock Sativa strains. The earthy bud has a smell and taste of spicy pine and is perfect for people looking for a strain that feels like an all-natural blend of Adderall and weed.
If a smoothie is great brain food, weed that smells like a smoothie must be great brain bud, right? Strawberry Banana is a relatively new hybrid strain, but it packs a serious punch that will keep experienced smokers engaged for hours. So whether you’re sitting down to write an essay or settling in for a three-hour movie, Strawnana is a delightful strain for any time of the day.
While Sativas tend to go to your head, Indicas like Do-Si-Dos tend to relax and calm the body. So if you’re struggling with ADHD and have trouble staying still, the best weed to focus on is likely a strong Indica. And if you’re looking for couchlock without the sleepy side effects, Do-Si-Dos is a perfect option.
OG Kush might be the most popular Indica strain of all time, and the potent pot is perfect for holding your attention. OG strains probably aren’t the best for novices, but if you want a strain that will glue you to your seat and keep your focus on even the most monotonous tasks, it’s time to fire up the Kush.
CBD For Focus
CBD won’t get you high, but if full-strength indicas, sativas, and hybrids are too strong to help your focus, cannabidiol is a great option. Whether it’s smoking CBD flower or finding the best CBD oil for focus, cannabidiol has an amazing ability to calm the body and mind without the sometimes overwhelming feelings of THC intoxication. If you want to improve your focus without getting stoned, look for strains like Ringo’s Gift, Harlequin, and Charlotte’s Web. And if smoking and vaping aren’t your thing, most CBD strains are also made into tinctures, offering some of the best CBD oil for ADHD and other attention issues without the potential to agitate your lungs.
Have you used cannabis to combat problems with focus? What type of strains have been the most helpful? Give us a shout in the comments and let us know what works best for you!
Let’s face it – sometimes we can all use a little help focusing. Whether or not you’ve been to a doctor and were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), entire industries have sprung up to help us extend our attention spans. The marijuana industry is no exception to this. As research continu
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Home / Conditions / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Updated on April 13, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), also referred to as ADD, is a chronic disorder affecting six to nine percent of children and about five percent of adults worldwide. From impulses and hyperactivity to inattentiveness, this condition commonly affects children, but it can continue throughout their adult years.
While no cure exists for ADHD, it can be treated. For many people, however, current treatment options have been either ineffective or produced adverse side effects. But there could be a new answer for ADHD patients that are seeking better treatment — medical marijuana.
How Is Medical Marijuana an Effective Treatment?
A 2015 published German study examined cannabis effects on 30 patients who weren’t responding to Ritalin or Adderall. Most of the subjects following treatment experience reduced impulsivity, improved sleep and better performance.
The effects of ADHD are different in women than in men. Women seem to receive fewer diagnoses and suffer more with anxiety, depression, obesity and eating disorders than do men. Men, however, are more likely to experience anger, car accidents and behavioral issues.
The most common ADHD treatments are methylphenidate and amphetamine stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall. These medications help improve cognitive functioning and increase concentration and focus.
But, what these medications don’t do is help you relax. They’ve also been known to cause nausea, suppress your appetite and give you abdominal cramping and diarrhea. They even can reduce your sleep. It’s here that marijuana comes into play.
Many studies have proved marijuana use is beneficial for individuals who have ADD and ADHD. While there have been many preconceptions that marijuana exacerbates ADHD, many cannabiologists believe cannabis has been significantly responsible for improving the lives of people living with ADHD.
Researchers believe one of the leading factors contributing to ADHD is a shortage of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter important in regulating attention, memory and other cognitive processes. Ritalin, Adderall and other medications are designed to stimulate the production of dopamine, thereby helping to increase a patient’s ability to concentrate. These drugs, however, result in a wide range of severe side effects and can also result in potentially severe withdrawal symptoms.
One area in which medical cannabis for ADHD has shown promise is the way cannabinoids interact with the brain’s ability to manage dopamine. Research is still in its early stages but shows marijuana may increase dopamine production. It seems to work in a similar way to Ritalin as it binds to dopamine and helps slow the metabolic breakdown of the substance.
Cannabis may be able to correct an ADHD sufferer’s deficiency of dopamine, but it has to be administered in the correct dose. When used correctly, it can aid in concentration and make arduous, routine tasks more manageable for patients. It can also help level out mood swings.
What Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Can Medical Marijuana Treat?
A well-known effect of marijuana is relaxation. But you may wonder how medical cannabis works for managing your ADHD symptoms.
As you know, when you have ADHD, you often find it hard to stay focused, and you’re hyperactive. Because of this, many physicians believe medical cannabis can help decrease impulsivity in ADHD patients.
Medical weed can also treat effects of stimulant drugs such as sleep problems, nervousness and loss of appetite.
ADHD Symptoms Treated by Medical Marijuana
Methylphenidate and amphetamine can be harmful to your body, particularly when you increase your dose or first begin treatment. They might make you agitated, excessively nervous and amped up. Medical pot helps relieve some of these medications’ uncomfortable side effects. Weed can:
- Stimulate appetite
- Improve sleep
- Relax and calm you
- Reduce nausea
Since cannabis for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder reduces stress, calms you down and helps you pay attention, it’s a favorite treatment choice for many people living with ADHD. It can exhaust you mentally when you’re feeling agitated and wired all day, so it makes sense that people are turning to the herb to find some peace.
Additionally, it can be hard to “turn off” after using stimulant medications all day. A soothing dose of marijuana can calm your anxious body and provide you with peace of mind.
How to Get Medical Marijuana for ADHD
If you’re a patient with ADHD who is interested in exploring a medical marijuana treatment plan, your first step will be verifying the current cannabis laws practiced in your state. Currently, medical marijuana is not legal in every U.S. state. In the states where cannabis is permitted for medicinal purposes, ADHD may not be a qualifying condition.
Is medical marijuana permitted for ADHD patients in your region? If so, connect with a marijuana-trained physician who will provide you with the necessary diagnosis. While under the care of a certified cannabis doctor, you’ll find it easy to enroll as a patient with the state.
Typically, patients are required to sign up for a medical marijuana I.D. card. Because marijuana isn’t distributed in a manner akin to normal prescriptions, you must visit a state-authorized dispensary to obtain your cannabis supply instead. Your medical I.D. card will serve as proof of your patient status and will play a vital role in your ability to access your medical marijuana supply.
Ways to Use Medical Marijuana for ADHD
Modern day medical professionals have proven marijuana to be an effective treatment option for patients living with ADHD. But unlike traditional medications, cannabis offers multiple intake methods — making it a preferred option due to its versatility. How you decide to consume your cannabis will play an influential role in your ability to find relief.
Since many ADHD patients are children, smoking medical cannabis can be problematic. Therefore, below lists some kid-friendly alternative methods of getting your medical weed treatment that is just as effective with adults.
1. Tinctures and Sub-Lingual Sprays
Micro-dosing is a valid alternative method. Extracted cannabinoids are combined with a glycerin solution, alcohol or Medium-Chain Triglyceride oil, which is typically palm or coconut oil. With sublingual sprays, you simply spray or squirt your dose under your tongue and allow it to absorb through your mouth’s tissue.
Edibles are a simple yet discreet way for many patients to enjoy their necessary cannabis medications. The effect of ingested medical marijuana is often longer lasting, too. Some edible cannabis treats may include:
- Chocolate Bars
- Ice cream
- Nut mixes
- Gummy bears
In most cases, the treats are yummy, and you can’t tell they contain weed.
With suppositories, you insert a cannabis extract inside a small cone-shaped mass into your rectum. It then absorbs through your colon. Two sizes of suppositories are available — 1g for children and 2g for adults. For children, you can cut doses in half to make them even smaller.
Because ADHD can impact a patient’s daily sense of wellbeing, it’s crucial to find a delivery method that offers quick yet effective relief. For many, the intake methods outlined above allow users to safely control their symptoms with little to no adverse effects.
Best Strains of Marijuana for ADHD
Since there needs to be more research to show exactly how and if medical marijuana can help people with ADHD, information and evidence is limited to mainly personal anecdotes. You may want to do a little experimenting yourself with different strains to see what’s most useful for your ADHD symptoms. Below is a small list of strains people have found helpful in treating their symptoms.
In general, sativa strains are known to uplift the user due to its higher THC content, while indica strains will make the user feel more tired and relaxed because of its high CBD content. The same goes for sativa-dominant and indica-dominant hybrids, respectively.
1. Strains for Mental Energy and Engagement
These sativa strains help decrease inattentiveness:
- Sour Diesel
- Green Crack
2. Strains for Calming Focus
These calm the mind, reducing anxiety and impulsivity:
- True OG
- Blueberry Headband
3. Strains for ADD/ADHD Medication Side Effects
These indica strains are sleep-inducing, appetite-boosting strains:
- Jupiter OG
Again, try some different strains out for yourself so you can find your ideal ADHD treatment.
Side Effects of Marijuana for ADHD
Marijuana is highly esteemed in the medical community for its ability to successfully treat problematic symptoms without inducing any unwanted effects in the process. However, you may notice some side effects when using cannabis. Several symptoms you can anticipate experiencing include:
- Increased appetite
- Feelings of relaxation
As is the case with any new treatment plan, it’s best to discuss your prospective medical marijuana treatment with a doctor before you begin to use this substance.
Many patients are beginning to learn about the positive effect of cannabis — especially for individuals living with ADHD. Below, we’ll delve into the important details about this condition that are necessary to know before deciding on a treatment plan.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD is a disorder that causes trouble focusing on tasks and paying attention without a wandering mind. Patients might also have difficulty sitting still. The condition often starts early in childhood. If left untreated, ADHD can cause trouble at work, at school, at home and with relationships.
ADHD is typically diagnosed by the age of seven, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Boys are diagnosed with the disorder twice as much as girls. Adults can receive a diagnosis of the disorder as well.
Types of ADHD
ADHD shows three typical patterns including:
- Inattention: When you struggle with inattention, you have difficulty sustaining focus, lack persistence and are disorganized, but these issues aren’t due to lack of comprehension or defiance. Inattentive ADHD is what is typically referred to as ADD.
- Hyperactivity: This type of ADHD is characterized by moving about regularly, even in circumstances where it’s not appropriate. You fidget, talk or tap excessively. You may be restless and wear others out with continuous activity, especially in adult cases.
- Impulsivity: You make hasty, thoughtless actions that could potentially harm yourself or others. You’re always seeking instant gratification. Impulsive people may also interrupt others excessively, be socially intrusive or be unable to consider the consequences of important decisions.
Your symptoms determine the type of ADHD you’re struggling with, and both may change over time. It’s a lifelong challenge for many, but therapy and medication can help improve your symptoms and quality of life.
What Causes ADHD?
ADHD impacts a patient’s ability to think without disruption — an inconvenience which can greatly alter their ability to perform daily activities with ease. Because this condition can have such a negative impact on patients, it’s vital to know the risk factors and causes associated with ADHD to reduce the likelihood of its occurrence.
One of the leading causes of ADHD is genetics. Many researchers label ADHD a genetic disorder due to the large percentage of patients who inherit this condition.
However, there are some external factors which play a role in the formation of ADHD, too. Several causes to take into consideration include:
- Smoking or drinking during pregnancy
- Sugar intake levels
- Lead exposure
- Brain trauma
While environmental factors may not always be the root cause of ADHD in a patient, they can aggravate the condition and make symptoms worse.
Sir Alexander Crichton gave the first example of a condition appearing similar to ADHD in 1798.
In 1902, ADHD was first defined by Sir George Still, a British pediatrician, as “an abnormal defect of moral control in children.“ His findings revealed that with some children affected, they couldn’t control their behavior in the same manner of ordinary children; however, they were still intelligent.
The FDA approved Benzedrine in 1936 and Ritalin in 1955 as a potential medication for treating ADHD. As diagnoses increased and physicians better understood the disorder, Ritalin became more popular, and it’s still a commonly prescribed treatment today.
Many people have mixed symptoms of ADHD, and they continue to change over time. Younger children have more tendency of showing hyperactivity, whereas older children and adults often show more signs of inattention.
Today, ADHD is recognized as one of the most diagnosed childhood disorders continuing into adulthood. According to the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA):
- Around five percent of adults in the U.S.struggle with ADHD — that’s more than 11 million.
- ADHD isn’t limited to children and may persist throughout an individual’s lifetime. Around two-thirds or more of kids with the disorder have challenges and symptoms that continue into adulthood and require treatment.
The advocacy group Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) says:
- Approximately 2 percent of children age 18 years old or under have ADHD, according to a meta-analysis of 175 worldwide research studies.
- Worldwide, the average prevalence in adults is 3.4 percent.
Symptoms and Side Effects of ADHD
Key behaviors in ADHD are hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. Some individuals will wrestle with only one of these indicative behaviors, while others grapple with more or even all of them. Children often struggle with the combined form of ADHD. Hyperactivity is the most common symptom of ADHD in preschool.
While all people from time to time will have some unfocused motor activity, impulsivity and inattention, in those with the disorder, these behaviors:
- Occur more often
- Are more severe
- Reduce or interfere with the ability to function at work, school or socially
Recognizing an increase in these behaviors is your first step toward receiving a diagnosis.
When living with the symptoms of inattention, you may often:
- Have troubles maintaining attention in tasks such as conversations, lengthy reading or lectures
- Miss or overlook details or make careless errors during activities like at your job
- Not listen or follow through on directions or instructions, start tasks but get easily sidetracked or lose focus rapidly
- Fail to finish tasks at home or in the workplace
- Not seem to be listening when others are speaking to you directly
- Have difficulties organizing activities and tasks such as keeping belongings and materials in order, failing to meet deadlines and having poor time management and sloppy work
- Dislike or avoid tasks requiring you to sustain a mental effort like completing forms, preparing reports or reviewing lengthy papers
- Lose things like pencils, tools, books, keys, wallets and cell phones necessary for activities and tasks
- Be forgetful in day-to-day activities like errands, chores, keeping appointments and returning calls
- Be distracted easily by unrelated stimuli or thoughts
Symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity, mostly in children, may include:
- Squirming and fidgeting in your seat
- Dashing, running or climbing when it’s expected you stay seated, such as in the office or classroom
- Having the inability to engage quietly in hobbies
- Talking nonstop
- Being in motion constantly or acting as if you’re driven by a motor or on the go
- Blurting out an answer before the person finished the question, speaking before your turn or finishing the sentences of others
- Intruding or interrupting others in activities, conversations or games
- Having difficulty waiting your turn
Children need to have six or more symptoms falling under this specific category type to receive an ADHD diagnosis.
Since ADHD symptoms can impact your relationships and your performance at work, you may also struggle with psychological issues through childhood and later.
- Low Self-Esteem: When living with ADHD, you may struggle with low self-esteem caused by the symptoms of the disorder. Low self-esteem may stem from difficulties you’re experiencing at work and may occur with any of these ADHD symptoms. These challenges can lead to poor performance and underachievement which adds to your low self-esteem.
- Anxiety: You may develop anxiety along with your ADHD. The condition can cause intense worry regarding performance or organizational issues. These issues can trigger anxiety and, when untreated, can affect your ability to think clearly and lead to physical symptoms like sweating, racing heart and tremors.
- Depression: Depression is another possibility where you could experience a change in your mood such as helplessness and persistent sadness. You may feel an overwhelming sense of guilt, making your depression worse. Depression may also affect your behavior causing things like problems with sleeping and concentrating.
Current Treatments Available and Their Side Effects
ADHD treatment relies on a combination of medications and behavior therapy. If treating the disorder in children, the prescribed dosage used will depend on how old the child is. Adults may benefit from these treatments as well.
Your doctor may prescribe the following medications for your or your child’s ADHD:
- Methylphenidates, such as Concerta, Ritalin or Metadate CD
- Amphetamines, such as Dexedrine or Adderall
If you’re experiencing bothersome side effects from these stimulant medications or they aren’t working, your doctor may prescribe a non-stimulant medication such as:
- Kapvay (Clonidine)
- Strattera (Atomoxetine)
- Intuniv (Guanfacine)
The doctor may use these medications alone or combine them with other medications. Side effects of ADHD medications include:
- Decreased appetite
- Irritability and moodiness
- Sleep problems
- Stomachaches and headaches
- Delayed growth
- Rebound or feeling irritable after your drugs wear off
The doctor may either change the dosage of your medication, the type of medication or the release formula of the medication if the side effects are becoming a problem. The aim is to determine what will provide you with the most benefit with minimal side effects.
2. Behavior Therapy
Behavior therapy helps teach parents strategies to improve their child’s behaviors, such as positive reinforcement. Children will learn skills in communication, problem solving and self-advocacy. For the most success, doctors may prescribe behavior therapy combined with medication, rather than by itself.
Counseling helps you to recognize any problem behaviors you have and learn strategies to deal with them. Counseling can also benefit family members, allowing them to deal with the second-hand effects of ADHD.
See how medical marijuana could help relieve your ADHD. A German study showed improvement in patients that did not respond to Ritalin and Adderall. Find out more.