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HEALTH & WELLNESS AUGUST 10, 2023

Does Weed Help with ADHD? An In-Depth Analysis

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent neurobehavioral condition that leads to varying levels of hyperactivity, difficulty in focusing, and impulsiveness. It affects approximately 11% of school-aged children and around 4.4% of the adult population. This disorder can profoundly interfere with daily living and achievement in both children and adults.

 

Cannabis and ADHD

 

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) has often been associated with relaxation effects. As ADHD is characterized by hyperactivity and impulsiveness, there's a growing curiosity regarding the potential use of cannabis as a treatment for these symptoms. However, the relationship between ADHD and cannabis remains complex and not fully understood.

 

The Components of Cannabis

 

Cannabis consists of two main components:

  1. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): The psychoactive element that provides the sensation of being "high," affecting areas of the brain responsible for focus, coordination, and reaction time.

  2. Cannabidiol (CBD): This nonpsychoactive component acts on various brain areas and can counteract THC's effects. Some research indicates that CBD may help regulate brain activity.

violet cannabis

 

Research Findings on Cannabis for ADHD

 

The investigation into the effectiveness of cannabis for ADHD has been hindered by federal regulations and the drug's Schedule 1 status in some jurisdictions. Existing studies offer mixed results:

  • A 2020 study of 112 adult ADHD patients revealed that higher doses of CBD resulted in reduced reliance on other ADHD medications.

  • A comprehensive review in 2019 found inadequate evidence supporting cannabis's effectiveness for mental health conditions, including ADHD.

  • A self-reported study in 2021 involving 1,700 students found a perceived improvement in ADHD symptoms through cannabis use.

  • A 2016 analysis of online discussions around cannabis and ADHD reported a 25% positive impact rate, while 8% found it harmful.


At this time, ADHD rarely qualifies for medical cannabis programs across various states, reflecting the need for more rigorous scientific investigation.

 

cannabis research

 

Cannabis and Children

 

While ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in children, it is imperative to note that cannabis is not recommended for those under 21. Legal restrictions and limited medical programs further underscore this cautionary stance.

 

Interaction with ADHD Medications

 

Little research is available on how cannabis interacts with ADHD medications like Adderall. One study from 2015 indicated unique, neither positive nor negative, effects when Adderall and cannabis were combined. Open communication with healthcare providers is essential for understanding the benefits and risks involved.

 

Cannabis Strains and Their Effects

 

Contrary to popular belief, research indicates that the difference between cannabis strains (Sativa and Indica) may not significantly affect their impacts. It is the levels of THC and CBD that govern the effects, with higher CBD content (common in Indica) contributing to calming effects.

 

Cannabis Use and Substance Use Disorder

 

Around 30% of cannabis users may develop a substance use disorder, wherein the substance interferes with daily functions. CBD alone, without THC, is considered non-addictive, offering a safer alternative for those concerned with dependency.

 

Is Weed a Possible Treatment for ADHD?

 

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, makes it hard for people to focus and control their impulses. People are looking into whether weed, specifically a part of it called CBD, might help with these symptoms. But the answer isn't clear yet. Here's why:

 

What Some People Say Helps

 

  • People's Personal Stories: Some adults who have ADHD say that weed helps them feel better.

 

  • Some Small Studies: A study in 2020 with 112 people showed that taking more CBD (part of weed) meant they needed less of their usual ADHD medicine.

 

What Some People Say Doesn't Help

 

  • Not Enough Big Studies: Most big research studies say there's not enough proof that weed helps ADHD.

 

  • Possible Problems: Some experts worry about the risks, like addiction, especially for young people.

 

  • Legal Issues: In many places, the law doesn't let doctors use weed to treat ADHD.

 

 

CBD is part of weed that doesn't make people feel "high." Some studies like weed for ADHD because of CBD. But the studies are small, so scientists want to learn more.

 

 

If you're thinking about using weed for ADHD, talk to a healthcare provider first. They can tell you what might be best for your situation and suggest other treatments that are known to work.

 

Right now, there's no sure answer if weed helps with ADHD. Some people and small studies say yes, but big studies and experts are careful. There might be risks, and the law might not allow it.

 

As more research is done, we'll understand better. Until then, it's best to talk to a healthcare provider if you're thinking about trying it for ADHD.

 

researcher of cannabis

 

Conclusion

 

While there is interest in the potential therapeutic role of cannabis in ADHD, current research offers mixed insights. Most states exclude ADHD as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis, and it is not suitable for individuals under 21. Consulting with healthcare providers and considering CBD-only products may be prudent steps for those exploring cannabis for ADHD management.

FAQs

Do people with ADHD use weed?

Yes, some individuals with ADHD have reported using weed or cannabis to manage symptoms. However, scientific studies offer mixed results, and the effectiveness of cannabis as a treatment for ADHD remains a subject of ongoing research. The use of weed in ADHD treatment is generally not supported by most medical guidelines due to the lack of consistent evidence.

Does smoking make ADHD worse?

Smoking cannabis might exacerbate certain ADHD symptoms for some individuals. THC, the psychoactive component in weed, can impact focus and reaction time, potentially worsening ADHD symptoms. However, research in this area is not conclusive, and individual responses may vary. Consulting with healthcare providers specializing in ADHD is advisable for personalized advice.

What is the best ADHD coping mechanism?

The best ADHD coping mechanism is typically a combination of medication, behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes, and ongoing support from healthcare professionals. Individualized treatment plans are essential, as ADHD symptoms and severity can vary widely. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness techniques, and structured routines may also be beneficial. It is essential to work closely with healthcare providers to find the most suitable approach.

What weed is good for anxiety?

While some anecdotal evidence suggests that certain strains of weed, particularly those high in CBD, may have calming effects, the use of cannabis for anxiety is not well-supported in the clinical literature. Differences in strains (such as Indica vs. Sativa) might not be as significant as the levels of THC and CBD. The potential benefits and risks must be weighed carefully, and consultation with healthcare providers is strongly recommended.

Is sativa better for ADHD?

There is no robust scientific evidence to support that Sativa or Indica strains are specifically better for ADHD. Research has shown that the differences between strains are often overstated, and the effects of cannabis are more likely dictated by the levels of THC and CBD. Given the complex nature of ADHD and the mixed findings on cannabis's effects, it is advisable to seek guidance from healthcare providers knowledgeable in ADHD treatment.

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