Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects a person’s ability to pay attention and focus. People with ADHD often experience hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors. While it’s one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood, ADHD can last into adulthood. Often, it’s treated with medications, which may have unwanted side effects. Some have found relief with cannabis. Here’s what you need to know about cannabis oil for ADHD.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
The exact causes of ADHD are currently unknown. Factors believed to contribute include genetics, problems during development, and environmental factors. A person’s risk may be higher if they have a close relative with ADHD, they were exposed to environmental toxins during childhood, or they were born prematurely.
ADHD is often diagnosed during childhood, but some grow up never knowing they have it. Adults with ADHD may exhibit symptoms such as:
- Difficulty focusing on tasks
- Hyperactivity or difficulty sitting still
- Poor time management
- Frequent mood swings
- Becoming frustrated easily
- Trouble dealing with stressors
Common Treatments for ADHD
One of the most common treatments for ADHD is prescription medication. Stimulants help to boost and balance neurotransmitters in the brain. Other medications, such as antidepressants also may help, but work more slowly, which can help to avoid the more serious side effects associated with stimulants. In some cases, a doctor may also recommend psychological counseling.
While medications may provide some relief from symptoms, they also often come with unwanted side effects. Some of the most common side effects of ADHD medications include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Moodiness and irritability (including irritability when the medication wears off)
Can Cannabis Oil Help with ADHD?
As interest in alternative therapies grows across the country, attention turns to cannabis oil as a potential treatment for ADHD. Even parents, who express concerns regarding the side effects of conventional treatments, appear to be more open to trying alternative treatments, including the use of CBD oil.
There isn’t a ton of research currently available, but researchers are looking into how cannabinoids in the plant may help. Some studies have found that Sativex, a medicinal cannabis product, may help lessen symptoms such as hyperactivity. A study in 2018 looked at children and young adults with ADHD (between the ages of 4 and 22) that took an oral CBD oil. The study found that, overall, symptoms such as rage, hyperactivity, and anxiety fell among participants. Some, however, experienced increases in their symptoms.
While the exact causes of ADHD are unknown, there is a theory that low dopamine levels may contribute. Some research shows that individuals with ADHD have lower levels of the neurotransmitter than those who don’t. Some studies show that CBD, a major cannabinoid in cannabis, can help to modulate the dopamine system within the brain, which may help to improve mood and make it easier to focus.
Cannabis oil may provide an alternative to conventional treatments for ADHD, helping individuals to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. More research is needed to understand the full benefits of cannabinoids, but current research shows promising results.