medical marijuana adhd

The relationship between Cannabis and ADHD can only be determined by your doctor. At FadeMD, we offer the ability to meet with a licensed medical practitioner who will advise you of the benefits and risks of medical marijuana for people with ADHD. Feel free to get your medical marijuana card by speaking with a doctor and completing your medical marijuana evaluation.

There are numerous reports of medical cannabis used as an effective self-treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But how does it work? And, can it really work?

There are numerous reports for cannabis as a treatment for ADHD and can help lessen its symptoms. Aside from the inability to focus, the main symptoms include lack of restraint, irritability, and agitation.  

Many of the advocates for cannabis for ADHD attest to cannabis having fewer side effects than pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for the disorder.  

Although there are a plethora of anecdotal reports of cannabis used as an effective treatment for ADHD, what does the research say?  

Cannabis may show plenty of promise for ADHD treatment for children and adults alike, but there needs to be in-depth data gathered on the effectiveness and consequences of this treatment. More data on this continues to be uncovered, and it is essential that one remembers the research is ongoing and evolving.  

As for medical use, always speak with your doctor before using cannabis- especially if you are already taking medication.  

marijuana doctor adhd

Does Cannabis have any Benefits for ADHD? 

CBD and ADHD

CBD also referred to as cannabidiol, is a non-hallucinogenic cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant species. CBD is typically found in high amounts of hemp but can be found in most cannabis plant species.  

CBD is starkly different from THC, which is another widely known cannabinoid. THC is a hallucinogenic compound, while CBD does not contain any hallucinogenic effects that may render you feel “high.”  

In contrast, the CBD cannabinoid could be a possible treatment for ADHD, especially as it has antipsychotic and anti-anxiety effects. However, despite its promising potential, there are no large-scale clinical trials to determine CBD’s efficiency as a treatment option.  

ADHD

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a diagnosis not unmarked by controversy. Several symptoms characterize this disorder, including hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and quick to fall prey to distraction. ADD is a similar diagnosis, although it does not include hyperactivity. For this reason, it is more commonly given as a diagnosis to adults.  

ADHD Statistics

One in 10 children in the United States is diagnosed with either ADD or ADHD according to the CDC. This is a statistic that has increased in recent years. The treatment for these disorders are usually psychostimulants, known as Concerta, Ritalin, and Adderall.  

A disorder that affects neurodevelopment, approximately 7% of children and 5% of ADHD worldwide are diagnosed with the disorder.   

marijuana evaluation adhd

How Does ADHD Affect a Person?

Simple concentration and single-pointed focus can be difficult for those with ADHD. Fidgeting, restlessness, and inappropriate behavior often plague those with ADHD.  It is a complicated disorder to live with, and many adults are unable to have lasting commitments, healthy relationships, or successful results at school or work.

As mentioned, the medications are usually Adderall and similar drugs. These psychostimulants are designed to balance the brain’s dopamine levels. However, they are not free of side effects.  

These side effects are mostly unpleasant, and many have begun seeking alternative methods to dull ADHD symptoms.  Some studies indicate that cannabis, and the naturally occurring compounds therein, have similar effects to pharmaceutical drugs on dopamine levels.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain and is connected to essential cognitive processes, including concentration, focus, and memory.  According to Dr. David Bearman, we should not overlook the therapeutic value of cannabinoids on the effect of dopamine and that.  “Cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine…”  

The doctor is a figurehead of cannabis research and goes on to write, “This then has the same effect but is a different mechanism of action than stimulants like Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Dexedrine amphetamine, which act by binding to the dopamine and interfering with the metabolic breakdown of dopamine.” 

Cannabinoids have exhibited the ability to balance the dopamine levels in the brain. Those living with ADHD, have low levels of dopamine. And cannabinoids have shown potential for bringing these dopamine levels back to balance. Research shows that cannabinoids work with the body’s endocannabinoid system, allowing the body to self-correct.  

For those with ADHD, there seems to be an overwhelming influx of information that the brain struggles to digest. There is too much information coming in, and for those with ADHD, there is hyper-awareness of too much information to process.  

There is a plethora of anecdotal evidence assuring cannabis’s efficiency for treating ADHD and ADD. However, even an overwhelming amount of anecdotal reports detailing cannabis treatment for ADHD/ADD is not enough for a medical recommendation.  

If you are looking for cannabis strains to help manage ADHD or ADD, there are some factors to bear in mind when looking for cannabis for ADHD/ADD. Are you looking for THC dominant strains? Or are you seeking CBD-rich strains instead? If you are unsure of how you will react to THC, it might be pertinent to try a strain with balanced levels of both CBD and THC. Use the following starting points:  

  • Be careful when using THC-dominant strains. Some people find that THC strains enable better concentration, while others find that THC-rich strains make concentrating even more difficult than before. Strains high in THC could also cause racing thoughts and brain fog. If you are curious about using strain high in THC, then rather start yourself off with a low dose and gently work with your tolerance levels until you know what works for you and what doesn’t.  
  • Be careful when using THC-dominant strains. Some people find that THC strains enable better concentration, while others find that THC-rich strains make concentrating even more difficult than before. Strains high in THC could also cause racing thoughts and brain fog. If you are curious about using strain high in THC, then rather start yourself off with a low dose and gently work with your tolerance levels until you know what works for you and what doesn’t.  
  • Be careful when using THC-dominant strains. Some people find that THC strains enable better concentration, while others find that THC-rich strains make concentrating even more difficult than before. Strains high in THC could also cause racing thoughts and brain fog. If you are curious about using strain high in THC, then rather start yourself off with a low dose and gently work with your tolerance levels until you know what works for you and what doesn’t.  

According to the WHO, CBD is a non-intoxicating substance that does not contain any potential for addiction. However, it would be best if you always remembered to check your local laws and your trusted healthcare professional’s advice before using cannabis or cannabis-based products. This is especially true for those that are on existing medications, especially medication for ADHD or ADD.