Can Cannabis Treat ADD or ADHD?

January 27, 2016
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Among the plethora of conditions that cannabis has been known to treat, scientists are just finding out that ADD and ADHD are two of them. In fact, it is becoming apparent that marijuana may be more effective at treating these disorders than Adderall, the leading pharmaceutical drug.

Among the plethora of conditions that cannabis has been known to treat, scientists are just finding out that ADD and ADHD are two of them. In fact, it is becoming apparent that marijuana may be more effective at treating these disorders than Adderall, the leading pharmaceutical drug.

This latest study about the effects of marijuana on ADD and ADHD is coming from Germany. This study is some of the first clinical data that has been collected on this matter, and up until now it was thought that marijuana caused anxiety for those suffering from these disorders. The evidence suggests that the symptoms of ADD and ADHD have something to do with dopamine levels in the brain, and it just so happens that cannabis is extremely effective at managing this hormone.

The clinical study

Attention deficit disorders are usually characterised by symptoms of hyperactivity, lack in concentration, and impulsive actions. Given the misconception about users of cannabis and the effects it has on their concentration means that there is generally some scepticism about whether or not cannabis is effective treatment for these symptoms. However, the irregularity in the brain that makes way for these disorders usually has to do with the dopamine levels in the brain. Cannabis is a more effective way to treat these conditions than Adderall and Ritalin, and comes with far less negative side effects than these pharmaceutical drugs.

The study conducted in Germany studied the effect of cannabis on 30 different patients who had ADD or ADHD. These patients did not have access to conventional treatments such as Adderall and Ritalin, and the results suggest that patients experienced positive results. All 30 participants said that they experienced better sleep, better concentration, and reduced impulsivity. Twenty-two of the 30 decided that they would forego their pharmaceutical treatments to continue using marijuana as their preferred form of treatment.

Although this study contains only a small number of subjects, the results are astounding. Furthermore, this is one of the first studies on the topic and has yielded results that people were probably not expecting.

How does marijuana affect those with attention deficit disorders?

Figureheads of cannabis research are suggesting that marijuana works by regulating the dopamine levels in the brain, the hormone responsible for the symptoms of attention deficit disorders. Dr. David Bearman, a leading cannabis researcher, explains that, “Cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine. This then has the same effect but is a different mechanism of action than stimulants like Ritalin and Dexedrine amphetamine, which act by binding to the dopamine and interfering with the metabolic breakdown of dopamine.”

What this means is that instead of interfering with the natural order of dopamine in the brain, marijuana just makes it more available to the user. 

A more natural way to treat children

Attention deficit disorders are more prevalent in children than in adults, and more prevalent in society these days than they have ever been. In the USA, more than 1 in 10 children will be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, and often children are being prescribed pharmaceutical drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin to treat their symptoms. These drugs come with serious side effects that can affect a child’s emotional and psychological health over a long period of time.

Cannabis is a natural and healthier alternative that allows symptoms to be treated without these potential negative side effects. It can be administered in many ways other than smoking, such as orally or through edible means. It is in fact safer for the child to use cannabinoids to solve the problem than to resort to chemical drugs from a pharmacy.

The argument is that cannabis is arguably more effective at treating ADD and ADHD than the conventional means we have been using for decades. It has a more subtle, yet more effective, way of dealing with the reason for these disorders and comes without the myriad of side effects that these conventional methods come with.