Medical Marijuana benefits for ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)
Cannabis is a popular medication choice among a certain population of self-treated ADHD. Those who advocate its use believe that cannabis use can help manage some of the more serious symptoms associated with the condition. These symptoms may include agitation, irritability, and lack of control.
For ADHD, some people believe cannabis can impact dopamine levels in the same way as prescription drugs.
As of today, Medical Marijuana and its wide variety of strains and products don’t have enough research that supports claims that assure that it is indeed helpful for treating ADHD.
However, testimony and interviews of ADHD sufferers that have found help using Cannabis show possible applications.
What are Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity disorders?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that comprises a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. ADHD in adults can lead to unstable relationships, poor performance at work or school, low self-esteem, and other problems.
It is reported that this neurodevelopmental disorder affects around 6-9% of children and younger adults and about 5% of adults globally.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common condition that first manifests in childhood. On the other hand, attention deficit disorder (ADD) is almost identical, with the only difference being the absence of a hyperactivity condition.
There are currently three main types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, and combined.
The main physiological irregularity of ADHD is an insufficient supply of dopamine in the brain. This chemical neurotransmitter is involved in cognitive processes such as memory and attention.
What are the treatments for ADHD?
Standard adult ADHD treatments typically consist of medication, education, skills training, and psychological counseling. Often the most effective treatment comprises a combination of these elements. These treatments can help control many symptoms of ADHD, but they do not cure it.
In children, behavioral therapy with both parents and children is included.
Regarding medications, the first-line medications approved by FDA to treat ADHD are stimulants (methylphenidate and amphetamines). These medications stimulate the release of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
Such medications can correct the balance of dopamine. However, they can also cause unpleasant side effects and withdrawal symptoms. This is why some ADHD patients have experimented with marijuana.
Marijuana for the treatment of ADHD
First, Medical Marijuana is not a replacement for traditional medication, it works as a support.
The medication approved by FDA to treat ADHD (methylphenidate and amphetamines) has strong secondary effects on patients like numbness, sleep problems, palpitations, headache, and more.
These effects affect the quality of life for many patients that’s why some advocates of medical cannabis are considering to them to try this alternative mainly to lessen the secondary effects of the main medication.
Second, benefits are not straightforward, it will depend from patient to patient, but a wide variety of products has an answer for each case.
Some ADHD patients use it to improve insomnia, while others use it to focus better. Each patient encounters different problems, so the although it comes with drawbacks, these risks are assumed by sufferers to find something that lets them have more control over their lives.
What is certain is that there are some promising findings in these studies, namely the ability of cannabis to alleviate certain symptoms of ADHD. But there are also some difficulties. The main ones that stand out are the risk of cannabis dependence and the potential for ADHD symptoms to worsen over time.
We do not encourage you but in case you want to use medical marijuana, it’s better to talk with health experts that guide you to understanding how to get your medical marijuana card.
Risks of cannabis use for ADHD
Although we have already mentioned some, it is important to review the risks associated with the use of cannabis to treat ADHD. For example, individuals with ADHD who use cannabis are more likely to experience cognitive, verbal, memory, and decision-making deficits compared to those who do not use cannabis.
In addition, those who suffer from ADHD are also more likely to develop cannabis use disorder (CUD). This condition is defined as cannabis use leading to significant impairment over 12 months. A 2016 study estimated that about 45% of people seeking treatment for CUD also have ADHD.
There are also significant complications associated with long-term cannabis use. These include impaired brain development, increased risk of depression, decreased life satisfaction, and increased risk of chronic bronchitis.
Because of these concerns and the risk of potential harm, ADHD sufferers should be cautious about using marijuana to alleviate their symptoms. Ultimately, more research is needed in this area to determine if cannabis is indeed a safe and effective treatment for ADHD. Anecdotal evidence is promising, but strong clinical evidence is also needed.
Until more studies bring more clarity toward positive long-term effects it is not recommended to use Medical Marijuana and related products specifically for an ongoing neurodevelopmental disorder like ADHD.
Please note that this article should not be considered a substitute for consultation with your doctor.
Consulting a doctor regards the use of Medical Marijuana to relieve Attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder may be one of the qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card in Maryland. If you are interested in learning more, you can schedule a telecall or fill out a New Patient Registration Form today.
In Maryland GreenScript Cannabis we believe patients’ needs come first. We are one of the only Medical Cannabis Certification Providers in Maryland that comes to you! Get your MMCC card in as little as a few weeks.