Focus is important. Without it, you can’t do your work and accomplish your goals. Approximately 4.4% of adults in the United States suffer from ADHD, but only less than 20% of them seek professional help.
Although there’re prescription medications for ADHD available in the market, cannabis can also be used as an alternative treatment. As the herb is effective in treating this condition, more patients are turning to it and applying for medical marijuana cards online.
But, how does medical marijuana works for ADHD patients? And, is it safe to use for children? Read on to learn more.
How Can Medical Marijuana Help ADHD Patients?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is related to hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsivity. And, adults are more likely to experience this condition.
Cannabis consumption can ease symptoms of ADHD without causing any side-effects to the patients.
German researchers studied the effects of cannabis use in 30 ADHD patients. All the participants had tried alternative treatments, which didn’t work. Following cannabis therapy, the participants experienced positive effects including “reduced impulsivity and improved concentration & sleep.” And, during the study, more than 70% of them discontinued using pharmaceutical drugs along with opting for cannabis as a treatment option.
One of the major causes of ADHD is the shortage of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter responsible for various cognitive processes such as attention and memory. ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Adderall work by stimulating dopamine, thus boosting concentration. But, they may cause unpleasant side-effects.
Dr. David Bearman, a clinically knowledgeable physician in the field of medicinal marijuana, studied the relationship between cannabis use and ADHD. He discovered that chemical compounds present in cannabis (called cannabinoids) interact with the dopamine management systems of the brain, and provide therapeutic benefits.
According to Dr. Bearman, marijuana appears to help ADD and ADHD patients by increasing dopamine levels. He said, “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.”
CBD, a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, is effective in reducing anxiety and symptoms of ADHD. It’s often used in the form of an oil, edible or tincture.
A 2017 study found that CBD oil helped improve some symptoms of ADHD in adult patients. However, more research is required to confirm the findings.
Medical Cannabis For Children with ADHD. Is it Safe?
Medical experts suggest that the potential risks associated with cannabis use in children with ADHD may outweigh any potential benefits.
In children, the brain isn’t fully developed, and using marijuana can result in harmful cognitive and other effects. Additionally, there are chances of developing a dependency.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), individuals who use cannabis before the age of 18 are 4-7 times more likely to develop a disorder than adults.
A 2016 study reported that cannabis use is more likely to develop the risks of onset and persistence of alcohol use disorder over the course of three years.
In 2017, a study performed on 4,568 teens and young adults shown interesting results. The participants include non-users, occasional cannabis users (using two or fewer times per week) and frequent cannabis users (using three or more times per week). Occasional users reported better executive control, memory, and social cognition than non-users.
Cannabis use among children can be associated with certain risks. So, if you’re considering medical marijuana as an alternative treatment for your children with ADHD, talk to an expert doctor first.
Covering it up—currently, researchers believe that medical cannabis can provide short-term improvements in ADHD patients. The herb works the same way as prescription medications do i.e. by increasing dopamine levels. Additionally, the cannabis strain, consumption method you choose and how your body responds to the cannabinoid also matter. So, before using cannabis for treating ADHD, consider these factors.
For children with ADHD, marijuana use carries certain risks because their minds are still developing. Thus, it’s necessary to talk to a professional doctor before giving medical marijuana to your child.
Have you used cannabis for treating ADHD? What was your experience? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.