ADHD is short for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD is diagnosed much more often in recent years, in children, but also in adults. Complaints from people with ADHD include: concentration problems, hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. When these symptoms cause problems in daily functioning, for instance at school, at work or in relationships with others, ADHD can be diagnosed. Just as the diagnosis itself, the medication that is prescribed for ADHD is controversial. Ritalin, Concerta and dexamphetamine are molecularly related to amphetamine, an illegal drug. Many people are hesitant using this medication or giving it to their children.
Could cannabinoids serve as an alternative to regular medication for ADHD? Some people think so, but scientific support is largely nonexistent.
Those who search the internet to research the treatment of ADHD with cannabis will mostly encounter personal testimonies. At first, they often describe their negative experiences with regular medication. Side effects such as headaches, loss of appetite and trouble with sleeping are often reported. Switching to cannabis as medicine for ADHD doesn’t equally work well for everybody. A portion of them state that cannabis causes them to suffer less from their ADHD symptoms, although they feel stoned or high for parts of the day. On the other hand, others indicate that cannabis worsens their symptoms.
When cannabis is smoked it is mostly THC that has an effect on the user (depending on the type of cannabis that is smoked) The specific effect of other cannabinoids (such as CBD) is not known. Scientific research on this is currently lacking.
Advice for the use of cannabinoids against ADHD
We currently have insufficient (scientific) basis to give good advice on the use of cannabinoids against ADHD. Some patients say they benefit from cannabis, but many others have experienced just the opposite. It is likely that the effect varies per person. Also, the strain of cannabis and dosage are of influence. We would imagine that a strain that has a relatively high CBD-content is more suited because it inhibits some of the undesirable effects of THC. Click here to read more about safe use of cannabinoids.