adhd and cannabis

One of the most controversial topics in recent times is the link between ADHD and marijuana use. ADHD {attention deficit hyperactive disorder} is a neurodevelopmental condition where the patient has variations in brain activity and development. These variations consequently result in a consistent pattern of impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, and inattention. ADHD affects about 6-9% of kids aged 13-19 and 5% of adults, according to an article in the Current Psychiatry Reports journal.

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Causes of ADHD

Though the cause of ADHD is unclear, genetics and neurologic issues are believed to play a role in its development. According to a study included in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the reduction of dopamine levels is among the primary contributing factors to ADHD development. Dopamine is a compound in the brain responsible for the transmission of nerve signals. It plays a crucial role in triggering responses and emotions. Dopamine also controls the brain’s reward and pleasure systems. Another study linked ADHD to a decreased gray matter. The gray matter in the brain controls decision making, speech, and muscle movements.


high risk conditions of adhd

People with these conditions are at high risk and most likely to have ADHD.


Conventional Treatments for ADHD

The main traditional treatment approaches used for ADHD include behavioral therapies like talk therapy and medications. The medications prescribed for ADHD patients include stimulants and non-stimulants. Stimulants are the more commonly used drugs. They increase the norepinephrine and dopamine levels of the patient’s brain to manage the symptoms of ADHD. Ritalin, the common stimulant prescribed for ADHD, has, however, been associated with reduced development and excessive weight gain with prolonged use. A few patients have also reported hair loss, dementia, and excessive sweating with long-term Ritalin use.

Benefits of Cannabis for ADHD Management

With the devastating symptoms associated with ADHD and the side-effects of conventional medication, it is understandable that patients are now looking for other options to manage ADHD. Medical marijuana is one of the novel treatments that have changed the management of most chronic conditions. It is now being used for the management of ADHD symptoms.

Online health forums are full of positive comments about the effects of cannabis on ADHD symptoms in patients who had little success when using conventional therapies. Some of the reported benefits of cannabis on ADHD management include:

  • Reduction of anxiety and depression
  • Increased sense of tranquility and deep relaxation.
  • Better sleep quality.
  • Increased focus on the tasks at hand.
  • Reduced hyperactivity and aggression.

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In 2016, researchers analyzed the responses in online forums concerning the effects of cannabis on ADHD symptoms. 25% of the 286 posts reviewed by the researchers reported a therapeutic benefit in cannabis use for ADHD patients. 2% of the posts evaluated reported no effect on ADHD symptoms after cannabis use, while only 8% cited adverse effects. It nonetheless is important to remember than the comments in online forums are in no way backed by medical research and should not be considered medical advice.

In a 2012 study in the Substance Use and Misuse Journal, researchers analyzed the effects of marijuana on ADHD patients who were self-medicating with the drug. The study concluded that the participants had better results in managing ADHD symptoms when using cannabis than when using traditional therapies.

The Relationship Between THC and ADHD

THC {tetrahydrocannabinol} is an active compound in marijuana and is among the primary ingredients of the plant. According to a 2017 study in the Nature Journal, THC is the source of the pleasant sensation and “high” feeling associated with cannabis use. This chemical boosts the levels of dopamine in the short-term. With the reduced levels of dopamine in ADHD, the increase caused by THC reduces the symptoms of the condition, including sleep issues and inattentiveness. The long-term use of marijuana might nevertheless dull the brain’s dopamine centers in the brain.


cannabis vs adhd drugs

Choosing Medical Marijuana over traditional ADHD drugs has more health benefits.


The Relationship between ADHD and CBD

CBD {cannabidiol} is another compound among the 85 in marijuana. Unlike THC, cannabidiol produces no “high” sensation, nor does it affect dopamine levels. When you ingest CBD oils, the compound will engage two receptors in your body. These are CB2 and CB1 receptors. Research shows that CB1 receptors are usually abundant in the brain, whereas CB2 receptors are present in high numbers in the immune system, where they inhibit inflammation and pain. In the brain, CB1 receptors inhibit the release of neurotransmitters. This, in turn, decreases the excitability of the peripheral nervous system. The decreased excitability explains the anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety effects of CBD reported in ADHD patients as a reduction in hyperactivity.

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Overall, the available research on the effect of marijuana on ADHD indicates that it alleviates the symptoms of ADHD. Even so, most people using cannabis are self-medicating and might not be using the right strains of cannabis at the correct doses.

Your best choice to prevent any untoward effects and maximize the benefits of marijuana on ADHD is to get a qualified marijuana doctor to prescribe the drug after getting your medical marijuana card. Before the prescription, the doctor will consider your condition and recommend the ideal dose and strain of cannabis.

Consult a doctor and get your medical marijuana card here to start your steps towards reaping the benefits of marijuana on ADHD symptoms.

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