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ADHD refers to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a controversial diagnosis that is marked by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and distractibility.
In many cases, adults are diagnosed with ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder which lacks the hyperactivity characteristic though it is the same as ADHD in other ways. In the United States, over 1 in 10 children are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. This figure has been growing exponentially over the past 50 years. However, since the year 1957, doctors have been treating ADD/ADHD patients with psychostimulants like Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta.
ADD and ADHD patients have difficulties with focus, attention, and concentration. This affects their performance at workplaces and in classrooms. In most cases, individuals are frustrated because they are constantly encouraged to change behavioral patterns. However, this is not easy because the problem is due to brain chemicals imbalance.
The brain’s shortage of dopamine, a chemical neurotransmitter involved in cognitive processes like memory and attention is the one main physiological irregularity of ADD/ADHD. However, medications like Adderall and Ritalin stimulate dopamine, thereby promoting concentration, but come with a myriad of unpleasant side effects and withdrawal symptoms.
Studies that have been published in the Journal of Substance Use and Misuse in 2013 shows that some people have used CBD for self-medicating and it has helped in the management of impulsive and hyperactive behaviors. This has compelled researchers to suggest that CBD can help in the therapeutic aid of hyperactive ADHD. German research that was published in 2015 studied the effect of CBD on 30 patients that could not respond to Ritalin or Adderall. And, the majority of the subjects experienced improvement in sleep and concentration as well as reduced impulsivity.
Dr. David Bearman, a figurehead of cannabis research, has studied the relationship between the cannabinoid system and ADHD and discovered potential therapeutic value as cannabinoids interact with the brain’s dopamine management systems.
“Cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine,” Dr. Bearman wrote. “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.”
Put simply, the compounds found in cannabis, known as cannabinoids could potentially correct the dopamine deficiency observed in ADD/ADHD patients if dosed appropriately and administered safely. Even in its raw form, cannabis is able to provide the mental slowdown necessary for concentration in many patients. Boring and arduous tasks become more manageable, and mood swings tend to level out.
“The most accepted theory about ADHD rests on the fact that about 70 percent of the brain’s function is to regulate input to the other 30 percent,” Dr. Bearman says. “Basically the brain is overwhelmed with too much information coming too fast. In ADHD, the brain is cluttered with and too aware of all the nuances of a person’s daily experience.”
THINGS TO PUT IN CONSIDERATION
In so much as CBD is generally safer than prescription medication for ADD and ADHD, it is important to talk to a physician regarding its use as a therapeutic aid for ADD or ADHD. Nevertheless, there are different forms of CBD that may help with ADD or ADHD.
CLINICAL STUDY RESOURCES:
- CBD and clozapine reverse MK-801-induced deficits in social interaction and hyperactivity in Sprague-Dawley rats
- Subtypes of ADHD and cannabis use
- Childhood and current ADHD symptom dimensions are associated with more severe cannabis outcomes in college students
- ADHD Is Highly Prevalent in Patients Seeking Treatment for Cannabis Use Disorders
- A Qualitative Analysis of Online Forum Discussions on Cannabis Use and ADHD
- Cannabinoids in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a randomised-controlled trial