Over 80% of American adults believe marijuana can be good for health. Some have had the first-hand experience with marijuana and have testified about the benefits they derive from it. Among the marijuana medical benefits most cited by people are managing pain, treating conditions like epilepsy, and relieving stress and anxiety.
Apart from the frequently mentioned benefits, marijuana is also known to reduce inflammation, improve sleep, treat drug and alcohol addiction, and ease symptoms of chemotherapy. It is also used to treat children, teens, and young adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Proponents of marijuana as an ADHD treatment say it helps reduce the severe symptoms of the condition. Below is a deep dive into marijuana and ADHD.
ADHD is a brain disorder that affects the ability of an individual to pay attention to. The person is overactive and may act without thinking about what the consequences will be. The individual may struggle to focus their attention on one thing or sit still for an extended period of time.
Although it begins in childhood, it can persist into adulthood. Globally, it affects around 6 to 9 percent of kids and teens, and about 5 percent of grownups. It can affect the academic work of the sufferer, even though one may have superior intellectual abilities. Other symptoms of the condition include:
- Interrupting others while they are talking
- Emotional turmoil
- Trouble following instructions
- Difficulty getting organized
Most doctors prescribe stimulant medications like Adderall and Ritalin to treat ADHD. These medications work by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain. Although approved by the FDA, these drugs have dangerous side effects and have a high potential for long-term abuse. Some side effects of these stimulants include:
- Lack of sleep
- Dullness and lack of enthusiasm
- Lack of appetite
- Stunted growth
- Death in children with heart conditions
Does Marijuana have any Benefits for ADHD?
Due to the side effects caused by these drugs, parents are now looking for an alternative form of treatment. One of the options they are looking at is medical marijuana since it’s believed to have the same effect on dopamine levels as ADHD drugs. Individuals who use marijuana to treat ADHD say that it helps them, and it has lesser side effects. But what does the research say?
Although there is limited research on how marijuana helps ADHD patients, there is still some information that can help us get better answers. Experts say that ADHD is probably caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for signals between cells in the brain. It’s believed to affect thought processes such as memory and attention.
A compound in marijuana is thought to trigger the creation of more dopamine. In a 2017 study published by the Nature Journal, determined that a compound found in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has the capacity to boost dopamine levels in the short-term. In another small trial on cannabinoid medication on people with ADHD, results indicated that cannabis could help ease the symptoms of the condition. In another study conducted on online threads, around 25 percent of discussion participants said marijuana plays a positive role in managing ADHD symptoms.
In almost all studies, it was determined that marijuana can only have a positive impact if used for the short-term. Children are also more likely to experience the side effects of marijuana than adults. Medical experts are concerned that the long-term use of cannabis to treat ADHD may present a heightened risk of dependence.
Since there is no conclusive evidence, doctors aren’t sure whether marijuana could affect the developing brains of kids and teenagers. Some fear it could slow cognitive development in children and adolescents. Extended marijuana use can potentially lead to:
- Affected physical abilities
- Affected thinking abilities
- Increased risk of depression and mood disorders
- Development of cannabis use disorder
CBD and ADHD:
Cannabidiol (CBD) is another compound found in cannabis alongside THC. However, CBD doesn’t contain the psychoactive element present in THC. This means CBD has no mind-altering effect or doesn’t cause the ‘high’ feeling. Some doctors promote CBD as a possible treatment option of ADHD since it has anti-anxiety properties and lacks mind-altering effects.
Consult a Professional Marijuana Doctor:
If using traditional ADHD drugs is causing adverse side effects, then you can always explore marijuana as an alternative treatment option. However, it’s recommended you consult a qualified marijuana doctor before you introduce medical marijuana to your child. These specialists will assess your child’s condition and give you the way forward. If your doctor prescribes medical marijuana, and you decide it’s the best option, you need to know whether it’s legal to use it in your state.
Apply for your medical marijuana card today!
MMJ Doctor can help you determine whether marijuana is legal in your state, and they can also help you get a marijuana card that will allow you to legally purchase marijuana health products within your state. To consult with an experienced marijuana expert, feel free to contact us anytime!