Cannabis for Treating ADHD | cannabisMD

Cannabis for Treating ADHD

ADHD and Medical Marijuana

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Cannabidiol

ADD and ADHD are both brain disorders, which can be treated with Cannabidiol (CBD). People with ADD or ADHD experience patterns of inattention, lack of concentration, and impulse control issues. Usually diagnosed as a child, it can progress into adulthood. Many adults who experience ADD or ADHD have never been diagnosed. Experts believe that 4% of the US population have one form of ADD or ADHD.

That is over 4.8 million people. Many of which don’t even know they have it. The current treatment often does little or makes it worse. The standard medications used to treat ADD/ADHD are different forms of amphetamine which can be very dangerous. Another treatment ISI psychotherapy which has low success rates and is controversial within its own field.

CBD & ADHD Studies

Recently, studies are being published that show the medicinal power of CBD. One study looked at adults with ADD/ADHD who were also users of cannabis. Many reported that they had increased concentration and improved impulse control while on cannabis. Another study, looked at a group of 30 subjects who were not cannabis users.

All of these participants had seen no help from standard treatments and showed a resistance to the medication. Each participant was given CBD oils and monitored. The CBD oils did not contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that produces a “high.” Of the 30 that were observed, all reported an increase in concentration, sleep, and impulse. As more studies are being done on CBD. it may serve as a potential treatment for ADD and ADHD symptoms..

Some California based doctors are now prescribing medical marijuana to teens. They are prescribing marijuana for a range of conditions, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Under California state law, doctors may prescribe marijuana for “any illness for which marijuana provides relief.

Controversy of Using Cannabis in Treating ADHD

MSNBC, in a special called marijuana and minors, invited divided experts on the matter. The guests included Stephen Hinshaw and Robert Jacob. Hinshaw is the chair of the psychology department at UC Berkeley. Jacob is the executive director of Peace in Medicine, a community based healing center.

Dr. Nancy interviewed the guests in the above video. She primary mocks strain names to Jacob, saying they don’t sound like medicine. Jacob responds by explain strain names are determined by seed distributors, not pharmacies. Peace in Medicine functions very similarly to a pharmacy, if that pharmacy was full of alternative, natural treatments. Dr. Nancy asks if Jacob keeps track of his patient’s state. Jacob explains to Dr. Nancy, that his company receives medical cannabis prescriptions from patients’ primary care physicians.

He also tells Dr. Nancy that collection of data is the responsibility of the physicians, as they regularly keep tabs on their patients improvement or decline. He also assures her there are national organizations that work on data collection. Jacob gives the examples of Americans for Safe Access and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

Hinshaw quotes himself, from his segment in the New York Times, saying

using medical cannabis for ADHD in minors is probably one of the worst ideas of all time.

Hinshaw extrapolates by explaining what characterizes ADHD. ADHD includes inattention, disorganization, difficulty learning, and difficulty with memory formation. He explains Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.

THC, according to Hinshaw, is a “cognitive disorganizer.” It impairs cognitive functions, like memory formation or organization. Alternative treatments for ADHD are sought because conventional treatments, including stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, have severe adverse side effects.

This is particularly true when conventional treatments are compared to some cannabinoids–such as Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Hinshaw says, even with adverse effects, this treatment is evidence based. He says medical cannabis doesn’t have the science to back its use in treating ADHD.

Furthermore, there may be a risk, in children to mid teens, in those with genetic vulnerability, of long-term effects of THC. Roberts admits it is true there is not enough scientific support to adequately cite. However, he changes the framing of the question. He says there is no data because the federal government has not allowed enough scientific studies on medicinal traits of cannabis.

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