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Cannabis May Help Treat ADHD

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On the blog, we’ll be discussing medical marijuana. The latest studies and insights, interviews with experts and patients, and exploring the latest in medicinal cannabis science.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a reasonably common condition typically treated with a cocktail of drugs, including amphetamines. Yet because these pharmaceuticals can bring about harmful side effects, many people diagnosed with ADHD choose to self-medicate with cannabis instead. According to a series of recently-published case reports, opting to tackle the condition with cannabinoids can bring about massive improvements in symptomology and reduce the need for other medications.

Cannabis And ADHD

The case reports appear in a new study in the journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids and describe the experiences of three male ADHD sufferers who integrated cannabis into their treatment regimens[i]. Through a series of interviews, the study authors learned how using pot helped all three men keep their emotions in check and turn their lives around. The researchers also report a decrease in objective pathology scores, thus corroborating these self-assessed improvements.

All three individuals originally received CBD oil from a clinician yet later experimented with other products and cultivars before settling on their preferred cannabis-based treatment for ADHD. For instance, one man found that a high-THC Indica strain helped him “cool down”, while Sativa cultivars made him a little too anxious and hyperactive.

A second patient said that he found smoking to be more relaxing than oral ingestion and that cannabis provides a “really good helping hand” in his battle with ADHD. Describing how the plant “levels him out,” he revealed that he is now less anxious and more emotionally stable and has even managed to find and hold down a job.

The third patient turned to weed due to a dislike of amphetamines, which altered his personality and emotions. Through cannabis, he has successfully weaned himself off his ADHD medications and developed a greater ability to focus and maintain a balanced temperament. Thanks to these improvements, he now enjoys a rewarding social life and runs his own business.

How Does Cannabis Treat ADHD?

The study authors used a series of behavioural tests to confirm these self-reported reductions in symptomology. Results indicated that after initiating cannabis treatment for ADHD, the three patients became up to 81 percent less depressed and 33 percent less anxious. They were also up to 78 percent better at regulating their emotions and 30 percent better at maintaining attention.

Precisely how cannabis brings about these improvements in people with ADHD is unknown, although the study authors speculate that cannabinoids may help regulate dopamine release. While few other studies exist on this subject, one case report from 2018 revealed how a patient taking a high-THC product displayed changes similar to those described above[ii].

Based on this evidence, the study authors call for more extensive clinical trials into the efficacy of cannabis as a treatment for ADHD. They also acknowledge that whole-plant therapies may be the more effective than CBD oil at relieving symptoms.

“While we cannot draw any conclusions on the optimal ratio of CBD: THC, we suggest that future studies involve a product consisting of some amount of THC (instead of a product consisting only of CBD),” they write.

[i] Mansell H, Quinn D, Kelly LE, Alcorn J. Cannabis for the Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Report of 3 Cases. Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids. 2022;5(1):1-6. – https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/521370

[ii] Hupli AMM. Medical cannabis for adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: sociological patient case report of cannabinoid therapeutics in Finland. Med Cannabis Cannabinoids. 2019;1(2):112–8. – https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/495307

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

This post is also available in: French

Ben Taub