Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological condition that affects the executive functioning, cognition, and perception of individuals. Its symptoms can also encompass depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. While conventional treatments exist, some individuals seek alternative approaches, such as cannabis, to manage their ADHD symptoms. Let’s delve into the relationship between cannabis and ADHD, focusing on the best cannabis strains that have shown potential in alleviating ADHD symptoms.
Approximately 2.6 million adults and children in the United Kingdom are affected by ADHD. Those with this neurodevelopmental condition often struggle with concentration and impulse control. ADHD is frequently diagnosed in childhood. Caregivers, parents, and teachers might observe a child has difficulty following directions at school and home. Many cases remain undiagnosed until adulthood, often after years of personal, professional, and academic challenges stemming from issues with organisation, planning, and communication.
Conventional treatments like medication and behavioural therapy can help individuals with ADHD lead independent, productive lives—however, some experience severe side effects from pharmaceutical medications. While counselling is beneficial, many patients need additional treatments to manage behaviour and cognition. Emerging research and patient testimonials suggest that medical cannabis might be a safe and well-tolerated treatment for ADHD symptoms.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder typically identified in childhood and diagnosed through a series of tests. It can persist into adulthood, and those diagnosed often have better access to resources and support systems that offer beneficial strategies. ADHD is characterised by difficulties in maintaining attention and managing impulsive behaviour. Some individuals with ADHD might be hyperactive. Every person’s symptoms vary, but many possess remarkable talents and can excel professionally with the right support.
The Use of Cannabis Strains to Treat ADHD
Many who use cannabis to manage ADHD symptoms find various strains beneficial. While Indicas can offer relaxation after a taxing day, Sativas and hybrids might have cannabinoid and terpene profiles more suited for mental focus. For instance, Sativa-dominant strains like Jack Herer can alleviate restless feelings and induce a tranquil state of mind. Many ADHD patients perceive cannabis as therapeutically valuable.
Importance of Selecting the Right Strains
Choosing a strain with the appropriate cannabinoids and terpenes for desired effects is crucial. You can fine-tune the dosage once you identify a strain that addresses your most pressing symptoms. It’s also wise to know of similar strains in case of supply chain disruptions or if specific strain products become unavailable.
Types of Strains
Traditionally, strains are classified as sativa, indica, or hybrid. With the easing of previous cannabis prohibition laws, researchers are now delving into various strains or chemotypes and their therapeutic impacts, and the misnomer of indica strains making you sleepy, or sativa strains being more heady has evolved with our understanding of cannabis.
What Strains are Good for ADHD
Strains like Green Crack, Harlequin, Sour Diesel, and Blue Dream are effective for managing ADHD symptoms. They contain terpenes and cannabinoids that mitigate mental restlessness and enhance focus in ADHD patients.
- Green Crack:
- Characteristics: Known for its high terpene myrcene content, also found in mangoes, Green Crack has a sweet, citrusy aroma and flavour.
- Benefits for ADHD: This sativa-dominant strain (65% Sativa and 35% indica) boosts motivation and fosters focus, preparing the mind for organisation and concentration.
- Learn more about Green Crack on the Strains UK Website.
- Characteristics: Harlequin, a sativa-dominant strain, boasts a 5:2 CBD: THC ratio. It’s often recommended for those with anxiety and epilepsy due to its calming effects.
- Benefits for ADHD: Harlequin promotes a sense of well-being and focused energy.
- Sour Diesel:
- Characteristics: High in the terpene limonene, Sourdiesel is beneficial for managing anxiety and overactive thoughts.
- Benefits for ADHD: This strain offers an energy and creativity boost, aiding those struggling with motivation and organisation by promoting mental focus.
- Learn more about Sour Diesel on the Strains UK Website.
- Blue Dream:
- Characteristics: Blue Dream, a sativa-dominant strain, relaxes the mind and body. It uplifts while also possessing anti-anxiety properties.
- Benefits for ADHD: Ideal for late afternoon or evening, Blue Dream encourages both mental and physical relaxation.
- Learn More about Blue Dream on the Strains UK Website.
How to Choose the Right Strain for ADHD
Since individual responses to strains vary, patients should document the amount, consumption method, strain, and effects to identify the most fitting strains.
- THC and CBD levels: These levels in cannabis products influence the overall effects on a patient. Current research is spotlighting the potential therapeutic uses of ratio products.
- Terpenes: Terpenes determine a strain’s aroma, flavour, and effects. Some terpenes exhibit antibacterial, pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties.
- Delivery Method: Patients can opt for edibles, inhalants, or tinctures. Edibles, easy to dose, take about 60-90 minutes to manifest effects. Inhalation, especially vaping, can produce effects within minutes. Tinctures, absorbed sublingually, show effects in 10-20 minutes.
- Dosage: Patients should discuss potential strains and dosages with their prescribing physician. After consulting a physician, starting with low doses and adjusting as needed is recommended.
Precautions and Risks
Possible side effects include drowsiness, memory impairment, and mood fluctuations. Adhering to a dosing schedule and taking smaller doses can reduce these risks.
Dizziness, fatigue, lightheadedness, and nausea are mogelijke bijwerkingen, usually mild and short-lived with proper rest and hydration. Other potential long-term effects encompass addiction, respiratory issues, and cognitive impairment.
Interactie met andere geneesmiddelen
Cannabis can amplify the drowsiness caused by medications like antihistamines and benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax, Ativan, Valium). It can also adversely interact with certain anticonvulsants and blood-thinning medications. Always consult your prescribing physician to pinpoint any potential negative drug interactions.
In the UK, medical cannabis is legal for those with an active medical cannabis prescription, while recreational use remains illegal. Prohibition laws have historically limited medical cannabis research, but new studies suggest its safety and efficacy in alleviating various symptoms.
The Science Behind Cannabis and ADHD
While anecdotal accounts frequently highlight the potential benefits of cannabis for ADHD, it’s essential to turn to scientific research to understand the full picture. ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting a significant portion of the global population, is characterised by challenges in focus, restlessness, and impulsive behaviour. Traditional ADHD medications aim to correct dopamine levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter that plays a pivotal role in memory, attention, and thought processes.
Cannabis, particularly its active component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been shown to increase dopamine production in the brain’s reward centre. This dopamine release provides the pleasurable sensation or “high” associated with cannabis use. However, while THC may boost short-term dopamine levels, it might reduce the system’s overall dopamine release capacity over time. This suggests that while cannabis might offer immediate symptom relief for ADHD patients, its long-term use could be detrimental.
Moreover, a 2017 study explored the dopamine-releasing properties of THC and found that while it might provide short-term symptom relief, the long-term effects could be more harmful. Another study in 2017 tested a cannabinoid medication on ADHD patients. Although the sample size was small and the results were not statistically significant, there were minor improvements in ADHD symptoms. Interestingly, adults seemed to tolerate the side effects better than children.
CBD, another compound found in cannabis, does not produce the “high” associated with THC. Preliminary studies on CBD and ADHD have yielded mixed results. A 2019 study comparing a THC and CBD combination with a placebo found no significant effects on ADHD symptoms. However, 2020 research indicated that higher doses of cannabis and its cannabinoids, including CBD, CBN, and terpenes, seemed to help with ADHD symptoms. More research is needed to determine the role of cannabis in ADHD management conclusively.
FAQ- Addressing Common Queries
Can cannabis cure ADHD?
While some individuals report symptom relief with cannabis use, current research suggests that cannabis might offer short-term symptom reduction but could exacerbate the underlying disorder in the long run.
Is it safe for children with ADHD to use cannabis?
Evidence indicates that cannabis use in children might have more severe side effects than in adults. The developing brain might be more susceptible to cannabis, potentially altering normal neurological development. Until more research is available, using cannabis in children with ADHD carries inherent risks.
How does cannabis interact with traditional ADHD medications?
Some studies have shown significant interactions between cannabis and ADHD medications. For instance, the combination of cannabis with methylphenidate, a common ADHD medication, can increase strain on the heart.
Are there risks of dependency with cannabis use for ADHD?
Yes, research indicates a relationship between cannabis dependence and ADHD. Regular cannabis use can lead to increased dopamine production in the brain’s reward centre, potentially leading to dependency.
What’s the difference between THC and CBD in the context of ADHD?
THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis responsible for the “high.” It can increase short-term dopamine levels but might reduce long-term dopamine release. CBD, on the other hand, does not produce this high and has been studied for its potential therapeutic effects on various conditions, including ADHD. However, research on its efficacy for ADHD remains inconclusive.
Is it legal to use cannabis for ADHD?
The legality of cannabis varies by country and region. While medical cannabis is legal in some places, it’s essential to consult local regulations and a specialist doctor before considering cannabis as a treatment option.
Are there any long-term studies on cannabis use for ADHD?
Currently, long-term studies on cannabis use for ADHD are limited. While some short-term studies suggest potential benefits, the long-term effects remain unclear.
In summary, while certain cannabis strains may provide temporary symptom relief for some individuals with ADHD, it’s essential to navigate this area with informed caution. The effectiveness and suitability of cannabis vary significantly among individuals, and its use should always be under the guidance of a specialist doctor. It’s also important to remember that the choice of strain should be tailored to the individual’s specific symptoms and overall health profile, factoring in both the strain’s potential mental and physical effects. Ultimately, while cannabis may be a component of a broader ADHD management strategy for some, it should be approached as part of a holistic plan that includes other therapeutic modalities and lifestyle adjustments. That being said, cannabis shows real promise for ADHD management and it is gaining more recognition as a treatment option as our understanding of the plant continues to increase.