New Ground-Breaking Research: Several Studies Show Cannabis Effectively Treats ADHD Symptoms

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is considered to be one of the most diagnosed childhood disorders, with symptoms often remaining in adolescence and adulthood. An estimated 5–7% of children and adolescents and just under 3.5% of adults worldwide have been diagnosed as having ADHD.

Types of ADHD

1) Inattentive type ADHD

2) Hyperactive/impulsive type ADHD

3) Combined type ADHD

Causes

Conventional Treatments

In addition, over time, a resistance to these medications build up, leading to decreased effectiveness whilst, for still others, these substances are not particularly effective to begin with or even exacerbate symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

However, if left untreated, ADHD can cause severe developmental and practical problems for the patient. These can include lowered school/work performance, social stigmatisation and isolation and an inability to reach major developmental and personal milestones. Many children and adults struggling to cope with the symptoms of ADHD also report feelings of frustration, anger and depression, making it difficult to live a productive and fulfilling life.

Thus, for many patients, the side effects associated with stimulant medications are unbearable, but doing nothing about the ADHD also harmful. It is no wonder then that an increasing number of patients and caregivers are looking to either supplementary or alternative forms of ADHD treatment. And for many patients and caregivers, that means turning to cannabis, in order to ameliorate symptoms of either the medication or the disorder itself.

The Cannabinoid System and ADHD

And there may be truth in these self-reported findings. Several studies have shown that there seems to be a cross-talk between the dopaminergic and endocannabinoid systems; specifically, the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol. Researchers found that cannabinoids excite dopaminergic neurons and increase dopamine release (see here for review) whilst another study found converging evidence that increased levels of cannabinoids combined with CB1 receptor activity are associated with lowered physical activity.

Simply put, cannabis raises dopamine levels in the brain. But, unlike other drugs, the way in which it does this is different. Cannabinoids increase dopamine levels indirectly by blocking the action of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA reduces neuronal excitability in the nervous system and inhibits dopamine release. And when cannabinoids block the release of GABA, it causes an increase in the levels of dopamine release to occur. So, unlike stimulants that excite the dopaminergic system directly increasing the risk of dopamine “burn-out” over prolonged periods of use, cannabinoids instead allow normal dopamine release by blocking GABA.

It seems that it is this interaction between the endocannabinoid and dopaminergic systems that might provide a mechanism for the reported decrease in ADHD symptoms that many patients seem to experience when using cannabis to self-medicate. But without the side-effects generally associated with stimulant prescriptions such as Ritalin.

Additional scientific evidence for cannabis being a promising treatment for ADHD is evident in the 2016 study showing that Sativex (a cannabinoid medication with a 1:1 THC/CBD ratio) is consistently effective in improving behaviour and cognition in ADHD patients. These results were later supported by German study where the results showed that cannabis regulates activity levels and that it has a positive impact on performance, behaviour and the individual’s mental state.

Another German study also found that 30 Ritalin non-responsive patients reported signs of improvement in sleep patterns, concentration as well as a reduction in hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms.

Cannabinoids as Treatment for ADHD Symptoms

Although in cannabis and ADHD research is in its infancy, the increasing number of scientific studies being conducted, are starting to increasingly show that cannabis can be a valuable complementary, and even primary treatment for combating the difficulties and symptoms associated with ADHD.

ABOUT LIEZE BOSHOFF

Lieze, is the founder of LBC3 Marketing, a leading content marketing and copywriting consultancy, working exclusively in the cannabis industry.

Using everything she’s learned over the years, she use a unique blend of psychological profiling techniques, tried-and-true content marketing and copywriting strategies, as well as Medical Cannabis and CBD industry experience, to help her clients get strategic about their Content Marketing and Copywriting.

If you’re ready to see the impact a strategic Content Marketing plan and well-crafted Copywriting can do for you and your cannabis business, take that first step, contact her here for a free consultation.

Lieze Boshoff (B.Psych, M.SC (HCN)) is the founder of LBC3 Marketing, a content marketing agency with 5+ years of exclusive Cannabis | CBD industry experience