ADD vs ADHD | Medical Marijuana or CBD? | cannabisMD

ADD vs ADHD | How to Choose Medical Marijuana or CBD

ADD vs ADHD | How to Choose Medical Marijuana or CBD

There is an increase of 40% from 7.8% (2003) to 11% (2012) marked by the Center for Disease Control in children. While another figure conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health showed that there is about 20 million (8.1%) of Americans endure the disorder. In total, there are around 30 million individuals who have ADD and ADHD.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) refers to a mental condition that occurs mostly in adolescence. It is characterized by a continuous pattern of distracted (inattention), a high level of restlessness (hyperactive) and uninhibited (impulsive) actions which can obstruct people’s development and function.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) on the other end, is the non-hyperactive subtype of ADHD. They are the same but at the same time different (ADD is without the hyperactive actions). The term ADD used to help in distinguishing it from the primary type ADHD in the 4th edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), and also on its most recent text revision (DSM-IV-TR); it is a list of the official mental diseases by the American Psychological Association (APA).

ADHD and ADD | Signs and Symptoms

Generally, there are three dominant behaviours;

Inattention: Unfocused, disorganized, not persistent, and often wanders off tasks: although not a sign of incomprehension or resistance. This behaviour can include:

  • They seem to be not listening when spoken to directly
  • They have issues working on activities and tasks; the right order in the provided materials, poor time management, work that is messy, and failing to meet deadlines.
  • They often miss details and commit careless mistakes (in schoolwork, job, and other activities).
  • They are not able to follow directions and even fail to accomplish tasks, duties, or chores; start to talk but lose focus and get distracted.
  • They are forgetful even in daily activities; errands, chores, engagements, and return a call.
  • They can get easily sidetracked by unassociated thoughts around them.
  • They don’t like activities which encourage continuous mental effort (homework, reports, and lengthy papers).

Hyperactivity continually moving (restlessness: continuously fidgeting, talking, and tapping) at an inappropriate time and place. Adults are not an exception to this condition; they can weary other people with their exceptional energy. Impulsivity making quick actions that have the potential to cause harm, unable to control and delay the desires for reward and gratification. Impulsive people are those who make decisions without considering the consequences and are often socially intrusive.

Hyperactivity-Impulsivity can both include the following signs and symptoms:

  • They usually dash, run, or climb around in appropriate situations; they always want to keep moving.
  • They cannot work on activities, hobbies, and tasks quietly.
  • They twitch and wiggle in their seats.
  • They typically vacate their seats even when expected to remain seated (in classrooms, etc.)
  • They intrude and interrupt others.
  • They have problems waiting for their turns.
  • They finish other people’s sentences, blurt answers even when the question is not complete.

This behaviour seems typical, especially to children, but in those who have the ADHD disorder it occurs more than often, more dangerous, and can affect their regular developments socially, at school, and in their workplace. Suggested strategies to help in the management and regulation of the disorder include:

Give them divided activities (into smaller and doable components), and allow breaks in between periods.
Use brief and simple instructions; utilize a step by step directions.
Practice regular physical activity (exercise) during breaks

ADD And ADHD | Causes and Risk Factors

What causes this disorder has yet to be identified. However, experts are saying that the factors below can reasonably affect ADHD/ADD:

  • Genes
  • Brain injuries
  • Lower weight upon birth
  • Environmental toxins (vulnerability to high levels of lead)
  • Bad habits and vices during pregnancy (use of alcohol and cigarettes)

ADHD and ADD: Who Can Be Affected?

ADHD/ADD can affect children, adolescents, and adults. The symptoms can start as early as the age of 3-6 and develop through adolescence and adulthood. Mostly, their symptoms assumed to be something else concerning the emotional attributes and disciplinary issues resulting in delayed diagnosis, especially in children.

Late diagnosis in adults can show a history of inadequate academic performance, complications in their work, difficult and unsuccessful relationships.

How to Treat ADHD and ADD?

Needed in the diagnosis of ADHD/ADD is a comprehensive assessment. A licensed paediatrician, clinician, or psychiatrist with the expertise in ADHD/ADD is necessary for conducting the evaluation. Also, required is the assurance of the doctor that the diagnosed disorder is not a result of other medical conditions.

The occurrence of the symptoms must be present before the age of 12 on an adolescent. Lastly, an ADHD/ADD sufferer has to have symptoms which reduce their standard development and is long-lasting (chronic).

There is no cure available at the moment for ADD and ADHD, but there are treatments used. These treatments include psychotherapy (psychological and behavioural), medications, and positive parenting techniques (for children).

ADD and ADHD: Including Cannabis in the Equation

Cannabis is a flowering plant in the clan of cannabaceae. This plant may have earned its reputation because of the controversial effect it can cause but believe it or not, it can surprise us with its many health benefits and much more. The chemical compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the one affecting some of our brain functions, which explains the effect of being “high.”On the other side, another compound, cannabidiol (CBD), will not give us the same effect as the former one. Moreover, studies showed that this compound could help with the symptoms of ADD and ADHD.

An Australian clinical trial using lab rats model showed cannabinoid potency by increasing the attention span of these rats. Although this experiment involved lab rats and not real human beings, we cannot deny the fact that many successful scientific achievements started with lab rats experiments. Also, there is a human trial conducted by the King’s College (Psychiatry Department) in London showed a significant result in where 30 participants found to have improvements with their symptoms by using THC and CBD oral spray.

A system called the endocannabinoid system localized all throughout our body. This system includes G-proteins receptors including CB1 (mostly in the brain regions and spinal cord), and CB2 (in the immune system and some other neurons). THC interacts with the CB1 receptors, affecting time perception, emotions, and appetite.

While the CBD interacts with CB2 receptors, which primarily affects our immune system. Because CBD is known to have a calming effect and shown to have helped other conditions like depression and anxiety, it can also positively affect the symptoms of ADD and ADHD.

However, we have to be cautious in buying our CBD products. We must make sure to buy only from reliable distributors. In the market, particularly on the internet, we can see a variety of products to choose from, and we have to be wise in choosing. Buy only from those medically-approved sellers.

The quality of the oil is vital to get its desired effect. Even so, CBD is still under an ongoing study. There are more shreds of evidence and trials needed to prove if it’s indeed effective.

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