CannabisMd is the authority publisher on CBD and Cannabis
CBD oil has been in the news lately for a wide range of medical uses from Alzheimer’s disease to PTSD. Recently, there has been anecdotal evidence that CBD might have a positive effect on people with ADHD. Although there is little clinical evidence, here is what we know about ADHD, CBD, and how they might connect.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the cannabis plant. CBD has no psychotropic effect, in fact it can counteract the psychotropic effect of another common cannabis compound, THC. CBD is one of nearly 80 cannabinoids found in the cannabis or hemp plant. CBD oil that is made from the hemp plant usually contains little or no THC.
Anciently, cannabis was used to treat medical conditions such as pain and headache. With recent discoveries about the endocannabinoid system in the body and how that system affects nearly every organ in the body, interest has grown in using cannabinoids to regulate that system to treat other medical conditions. Cannabinoids such as CBD regulate the endocannabinoid system by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the body, CB1 and CB2. Studies have shown that CBD can be used to treat the reaction and addiction of THC, other street drugs, and cigarette smoking.
Because CBD and the endocannabinoid system is a current hot topic, research to study CBD oil and disease are proliferating, and companies that sell CBD oil are proliferating as well. Production of CBD and packaging is not regulated, so unfortunately there is no way to be sure about the quality of a product. Products that have additives or are made improperly can have side effects such as vomiting and headaches, so care must be taken to investigate the source of the product.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) are frequently used interchangeably, and the names referring to this syndrome have changed throughout the years. The current diagnostic standard is attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is then divided into one of three presentations or types: Inattentive, hyperactive, or combined.
ADHD is a syndrome of the brain that, according to the Attention Deficit Disorder Organization, affects “executive functioning skills which includes important functions such as attention, concentration, memory, motivation and effort, learning from mistakes, impulsivity, hyperactivity, organization, and social skills.” Both males and females have ADHD, and although the disorder is thought of as a childhood issue, patients do not grow out of it. Many adults have undiagnosed ADHD.
The disorder is caused by chemical and structural differences in the brain, likely due to genetics. Researchers have identified specific genes in people with ADHD. They have also identified structural and chemical differences in the brain that affect the way the brain sends signals, specifically in the areas of the brain that are focused on attention, reward and consequences. There is evidence that serotonin and the dopamine system are affected as well.
Treatment for ADHD is a combination of behavior therapy and medication. Through behavior modification, many people who have ADHD can learn to focus, can learn coping strategies, and can learn how to change or re-direct a line of thinking. Learned behaviors can overcome many challenges of ADHD, and many adults are able to function well and successfully without medication at all. Sometimes medication is the best choice, especially with children who may have a more difficult time with behavior modification, but there are multiple side effects associated with this choice. Some side effects of medication are sleep problems, decreased appetite, delayed growth, headaches and stomachaches, rebound irritability when the medication wears off, tics, moodiness and irritability. The aim of treatment is to give as little medication as possible to minimize side effects to achieve the desired goal.
If you type the question into a search engine, how can CBD be used for ADHD, you will get a myriad of answers, mostly from chat rooms or informal comments on web pages. There are a lot of people who have stories about self-medicating with cannabis products. Is there any proof that they really work? There are not many studies in this area, but there are a few that examine the interaction between cannabinoids and ADHD.
One study reported by Clinical Nuclear Medicine stated that ADHD and substance abuse disorders frequently go hand in hand. Previous studies show that both disorders result in a change of dopamine transporter density in the brain. Researchers in this study wanted to compare dopamine transporter density in four groups of test subjects: ADHD with substance abuse, ADHD without substance abuse, substance abuse only, and neither ADHD nor substance abuse. The test subjects were 64 adolescent males. The results showed that the test subjects who had ADHD and substance abuse had lower levels of dopamine transporter density in the brain. Researchers concluded that cannabis and cocaine use may be responsible for the results, and would explain why adolescents would attempt to self-medicate.
Another study showed a definite correlation between ADHD and cannabis use disorders. While they did not give details as to why the correlation exists, they concluded that having ADHD as a child increased the risk of cannabis use disorders as a young adult.
A larger study, using 2811 cannabis users, was done in 2012. This study looked at the association between types of ADHD and cannabis use. A survey was given to the study subjects, asking them about the ADHD symptoms they experience while not using cannabis. More of the daily cannabis users were of the hyperactive type of ADHD than the inattentive type. Researchers concluded that the study might help in identifying the types of ADHD patients that would be likely to self-medicate with cannabis. Further, they stated that the findings support research that links cannabinoid receptors to regulation of brain function.
As you can see, most of the studies that have researched links between cannabinoids and ADHD are aimed more at preventing substance abuse than treating ADHD. However, the underlying information suggests that using cannabinoids such as CBD does have neurological effect, causing many people with ADHD to continue to self-medicate with cannabis.
Many large studies have confirmed that marijuana use does not have a good outcome in adolescents. The National Institute of Health published a study of cannabis use in high school students and concluded that:
The literature not only suggests neurocognitive disadvantages to using marijuana in the domains of attention and memory that persist beyond abstinence, but suggest possible macrostructural brain alterations (e.g., morphometry changes in gray matter tissue), changes in white matter tract integrity (e.g., poorer coherence in white matter fibers), and abnormalities of neural functioning (e.g., increased brain activation, changes in neurovascular functioning). Earlier initiation of marijuana use (e.g., before age 17) and more frequent use has also been associated with poorer outcome.
The study also mentioned that cannabis use in adults results in poorer cognitive function as well. An interesting side note is that researchers in several studies suggest that treating with CBD alone, not treating with marijuana, is of interest for future study as the results may be different.
As of yet, clinical research shows that some cannabinoids like CBD do have an effect on the brain which may improve symptoms of ADHD, but in general for cbd for add. The effects of cannabis including THC are not clinically proven and need more research. Until then, caution should be used especially when considering cannabis products for use in adolescents.
For more info on the use of CBD for ADD, check out Everything You Need to Know About Treating Attention Deficit Disorder with CBD.
CannabisMd is the authority publisher on CBD and Cannabis
CannabisMD is The Authority for all information relating to Cannabidiol (CBD) and Medical Cannabis. It’s the definitive resource for scientific studies, videos, latest news, original articles, discussion forums, quality products, locating dispensaries & medical cannabis doctors and much more for Medical Cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD).
The content featured on this page is not intended to assert any claims about the health benefits of any product that may be advertised on this page, or the efficacy of such product in treating any specific medical conditions. Product ads on this page are randomly generated, and the content accompanying them was not produced to promote any specific brand or product. Any correlation between the two is strictly coincidental, and should not to be taken as an endorsement of products advertised. No free products or other renumeration has been received by CannabisMd.com in exchange for generating specific content such as videos or articles. Read Terms and Conditions.