Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may not be a life-threatening condition, but it can seriously hinder someone’s ability to get through the day. Having ADHD can sometimes feel like you’re supercharged all the time, making it hard to focus and concentrate on simple tasks. It’s been proposed that the relaxing and calming effects of cannabis may help. Does weed help with ADHD? Here’s what we know about using THC and CBD for ADHD.
Treating ADHD With Cannabis: Does Weed Help?
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is usually treated through a two-pronged approach consisting of stimulant medication and behavioral therapy. For many, these treatments work and are successful in reducing their overstimulation. However, for others, they aren’t as effective or may not be the right choice.
Stimulants actually produce the opposite of marijuana’s relaxing effects. For some people, stimulants can cause psychological side effects or may simply just not work. Additionally, behavioral therapy can teach coping strategies for ADHD symptoms, but it doesn’t actually rid someone of them. This has left some people wondering if perhaps THC and CBD for ADHD may be a better answer.
The problem is that clinical research into cannabis and ADHD is scarce. In theory, the calming and sedating effects of cannabis should help to tame some of the overstimulation. However, not all strains produce those effects. In fact, some sativa strains can actually be quite stimulating. Unsurprisingly, a 2016 study into online forum threads about cannabis and ADHD found that roughly 25% of contributors believed cannabis helped with their ADHD, while 8% found that it made their condition worse.
If cannabis were to really help with ADHD, then CBD may play a significant role in taming those symptoms. Research suggests that CBD may be able to calm anxious feelings and it may prove effective for a number of different anxiety disorders. This opens the door for a discussion about using CBD for focus and how it may help those struggling with ADHD.
CBD for ADHD
In one of the few clinical trials that looked specifically at cannabis for the treatment of ADHD, 30 adult participants were given a medication that contains a balanced ratio of CBD and THC, called Sativex. Researchers found that the medication did offer some relief of hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms and recommended it be studied further as a potential treatment option.
Similarly, a clinical trial that included 53 children in Israel found that a high-CBD low-THC (20:1) preparation helped with anxiety and hyperactivity in children with autism spectrum disorder.
So, Does Weed Help With ADHD?
Currently, there just isn’t enough clinical data to say definitively that cannabis can help with ADHD. The existing research suggests that it might be beneficial—and given that so many people who have ADHD report self-medicating with cannabis—it’s certainly an area that warrants further research.
Cannabis for ADHD: Wrapping Up
While cannabis may help you manage ADHD symptoms, you should always seek the advice of your doctor and discuss with them the possibility of using cannabis as a treatment for your ADHD before changing your current treatment plan.
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