Medical Cannabis for ADHD
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – or as we all know it, ADHD – is a chronic condition that affects millions of people around the world, causing a combination of persistent problems like difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and even impulsive behavior.
As one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood, ADHD symptoms can usually be observed from early childhood and might continue well into adulthood. If you have ADHD, you’re probably all too familiar with symptoms like having trouble paying attention and over-activity.
According to the Mayo Clinic, ADHD cannot be cured, but the good news is that the condition can be successfully managed, leading to improved symptoms. One of the ways in which ADHD could be managed is with the use of medical cannabis.
Regardless of whether you have been diagnosed with ADHD or you’re just looking for a natural remedy to help you concentrate, medical cannabis for ADHD might help improve concentration and reduce impulsivity.
Medical Cannabis and ADHD
Hyperactivity, crankiness, aggression and difficulty falling asleep are just some of the symptoms of ADHD, and often, these symptoms cause problems in the social lives of ADHD patients.
Although traditionally prescribed ADHD medication can subdue some of these symptoms, more and more patients are starting to explore the possible benefits of alternative treatments like medical cannabis.
Studies and findings on medical cannabis for ADHD have indicated the possibility that both CBD and THC have anxiety-reducing and anti-depressive benefits, making medical cannabis a viable alternative to traditional ADHD medication.
How Can Medical Cannabis Help Treat ADHD?
Healthcare professionals have started supporting the use of medical cannabis to treat ADHD since it appears to be an option that might be able to treat ADHD in patients.
Perhaps you’ve heard that medical cannabis can cause a loss of focus in recreational users? Well, in ADHD patients, it seems like the opposite effect is observed. A 2008 study in Germany showed that cannabis might improve ADHD symptoms, possibly increasing the disposal of dopamine.
How to Get Medical Cannabis for ADHD
If you would like to get assessed for medical cannabis to treat ADHD, Canadian Cannabis Clinics can offer you access to medical experts who will guide you on your journey. As a patient, you’ll consult with our healthcare practitioners as well as our medical cannabis educators to help determine your individual needs and find the best medical cannabis for treating ADHD.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD or you’re just trying to find a more natural alternative to help you focus, Canadian Cannabis Clinics can help you start your journey back to Better Days . To start your journey, simply book an appointment at one of our clinics, or if you prefer a session in the comfort of your own home, we also offer secure and private virtual appointments.
Appointment is online through a secure and private video call.
Research suggest medical cannabis can be effective for ADHD Read more about how it could help your symptoms and speak with our healthcare professionals to find relief.
Can Marijuana Treat ADHD?
Marijuana is sometimes used as a self-treatment by individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Advocates for marijuana as an ADHD treatment say the drug can help people with the disorder handle some of the more severe symptoms. These include agitation, irritability, and lack of restraint.
They also say that marijuana has fewer side effects than traditional ADHD medications.
Read more about what research has discovered about the use of marijuana in individuals with ADHD.
Laws and research
Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. Each year, more U.S. states have passed laws allowing the sale of marijuana for medical purposes. Some states have legalized it for recreational purposes, too. Many states still outlaw any use of marijuana. At the same time, research into the effects of the drug on health conditions and diseases has increased. This includes research on marijuana use in individuals who’ve been diagnosed with ADHD.
Online health forums are filled with comments from people saying they use marijuana to treat symptoms of ADHD.
Likewise, individuals who identify as having ADHD say they have few or no additional issues with marijuana use. But they aren’t presenting the research on adolescent use of marijuana. There are concerns for the developing brain’s learning and memory.
“Many adolescents and adults with ADHD are convinced that cannabis does help them and has fewer side effects [than ADHD medications],” says Jack McCue, MD, FACP, an author, physician, and emeritus professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “It may be that they, not their doctors, are correct.”
Dr. McCue says he’s seen patients who report classic marijuana use effects and benefits. They report intoxication (or being “high”), appetite stimulation, help with sleeping or anxiety, and pain relief, for example.
Dr. McCue says these people sometimes report effects that are often seen with typical ADHD treatments, too.
“The limited research on what patients say cannabis does for ADHD symptoms indicates that it is most helpful for hyperactivity and impulsivity. It may be less helpful for inattentiveness,” Dr. McCue says.
Research in 2016 analyzed some of these online threads or forums. Of the 286 threads the researchers reviewed, 25 percent of posts were from individuals who reported that cannabis use was therapeutic.
Only 8 percent of posts reported negative effects, 5 percent found both benefits and harmful effects, and 2 percent said using marijuana had no effect on their symptoms.
It’s important to remember that these forums and comments aren’t clinically significant. They’re also not evidence-based research. That means they shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Talk with your doctor first.
“There are descriptive accounts and demographic surveys that report that individuals with ADHD describe marijuana as being helpful in managing inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity,” says Elizabeth Evans, MD, psychiatrist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center.
However, Dr. Evans adds, “while there certainly may be individuals who experience benefit in their symptoms of ADHD, or those who are not adversely impacted by marijuana, there is not sufficient evidence that marijuana is a safe or effective substance to treat ADHD.”
Cannabidiol (CBD) is also promoted as a helpful treatment for individuals with ADHD.
CBD is found in marijuana and hemp. Unlike marijuana, CBD doesn’t contain the psychoactive element tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That means CBD doesn’t produce a “high” the way marijuana does.
CBD is promoted by some as a possible treatment for ADHD. Dr. McCue says that’s because of “anti-anxiety, antipsychotic effects of CBD.”
However, “the lack of a potential paradoxical benefit from the stimulating effects of THC make CBD theoretically less attractive,” he says.
Dr. Evans adds, “There are no large-scale clinical trials looking at CBD for ADHD. It is not considered an evidence-based treatment for ADHD at this time.”
Some people with ADHD report that they find therapeutic benefit from using marijuana. Despite these anecdotal stories, research doesn't support marijuana, or CBD, as a treatment for ADHD. Who's right?