ADHD, short for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is characterized by symptoms such as difficulty focusing, feeling extremely fidgety or chatty, and impulsive decision making. In the United States, this condition affects 9.4% of children aged 2 to 17 and 2.8% of adults over the age of 18. This can make daily life quite difficult- almost like playing whack-a-mole.
However, there is some research indicating that CBD can help individuals who have ADHD chill out and focus.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the 100+ chemicals found in cannabis and hemp plants. It does not have psychoactive properties, which means it will not get you high. However, research does indicate that it can help with a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.
Therefore, if you are experiencing symptoms associated with ADHD, it is possible that CBD may help calm you down. In this article, we’ll explore what the research has to say about CBD for ADHD.
Does CBD help with ADHD?
Those who love CBD like to tout its calming effects. However, this does not mean that it’s a definite treatment for ADHD because
- There has not been enough research
- Much of the research focuses on cannabis as a whole, so it’s hard to know whether the results are due to CBD or one of the other compounds found in the plant.
In one study involving 30 adult participants with ADHD, it was discovered that those who used a 1:1 CBD to THC mouth spray experienced a slight improvement in hyperactivity and impulsiveness compared to the group given a placebo. However, researchers acknowledge that the CBD mixture did not improve cognitive functioning.
In another study involving 59 patients with ADHD, researchers indicated that high doses of CBN, or cannabinol, which is a different cannabis compound, was associated with a decrease in self-reported ADHD symptoms.
However, a recent review of 23 CBD studies revealed that there is enough proof to give CBD a “B”, or moderate, use recommendation when it comes to treating ADHD.
What benefits of CBD are backed by science?
Researchers know that CBD is somehow involved in the endocannabinoid system, but they’re still trying to figure out how. The endocannabinoid system is a network of neurotransmitters involved in every bodily function from appetite to memory. However, it does seem that CBD influences these neurotransmitters, which is why it is believed to be a remedy for a variety of health issues.
It’s important to keep in mind that research is ongoing. That being said, the evidence we have right now indicates that CBD can:
- Ease chronic pain
- Reduce the occurrence of seizures, which is the only FDA-approved use for CBD
- Treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema
- Calm anxiety and stress
- Improve overall feelings of well-being
- Improve quality and amount of sleep
Make sure that you take your time and research CBD products and companies before you make a purchase. Unfortunately, since CBD is not regulated by the FDA, many products have been sold under false claims.
Is it safe to take CBD for ADHD?
No matter what you are using it for: increase libido, soothe anxiety, ease pain, calm symptoms of ADHD, or anything else, it’s important to understand that you may experience some minor side effects. Some of the potential effects include the following:
- Light psychoactive effects (full spectrum CBD contains trace amounts of THC)
Of course, as with anything else, it’s best if you consult with your physician before attempting a new treatment for your ADHD, even a low-risk one such as CBD. There are a few groups of people that should avoid CBD completely, including:
- Anyone taking prescription medications, as CBD does interact with some. If you’re already prescribed medications for ADHD or other medical condition, be sure to ask your medical provider before you start taking CBD.
- Women who are pregnant or nursing, as there is not enough research to show the effects on the developing fetus or infant. The FDA recommends that these individuals avoid all CBD and cannabis products.
- Children, as one study in 2014 indicated that there’s a connection between cognitive issues and childhood/adolescent cannabis use. Of course, it’s difficult to determine if this was the result of a certain compound or cannabis in general. If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, make sure to ask their medical provider before you offer them CBD.
Should you take CBD for your ADHD?
While it’s true that CBD can be a low risk treatment for sleep issues, stress, focus issues, anxiety, and more- it is not approved as an ADHD treatment at this time. Here are some things to keep in mind:
It is not regulated
The FDA does not regulate CBD products like it does prescription medications, which means that unfortunately, there are companies that may sell bad products or even sell quality products under false pretenses. You have to be extremely careful and make sure to do your research if you want to use CBD products.
Research is ongoing
Eventually, we may learn more about how CBD affects the symptoms of ADHD. For now, make sure to do your research and discuss it with your medical provider before you start using CBD products as part of your daily routine.
Products have a lot of variations
This could be seen as good or bad. It will take some time and some money to figure out the best product for your taste, goals, and budget.
The truth is, only you and your medical provider can determine if CBD is appropriate for treating your ADHD or other medical condition. Everyone is different and has different treatment needs.
Which CBD is best for treating ADHD?
If you are interested in trying CBD for your ADHD, it’s important to understand that we can’t give you an idea of which CBD product or what dosage is best for treating ADHD. Here are a few of the most common CBD products that you will encounter:
Experts would agree that this is the most well-known CBD product on the market. They are an easy way to quickly experience full-body effects. Keep in mind that oils/tinctures are not pre-measured doses, so you’ll need to check the label and start with the lowest possible dose.
Pills/capsules are a convenient, portable way to take CBD. They do take a little longer to take effect- but they are less likely to have that unpleasant cannabis flavor.
These are also convenient and offer all of the benefits of a softgel- but taste a lot better.
No matter what CBD product you choose, it’s important that you always start with the lowest possible dose.
Other Remedies for ADHD
If CBD doesn’t seem like it would be the best fit for you, it’s important to know that there are some other ADHD treatments/remedies to choose from, including:
- Support groups
- Behavior therapy
- Essential oils
- Medications, such as central nervous system stimulants/non-stimulant medications
At this time, research on CBD for ADHD is limited, but more studies are needed to understand how it can mitigate impulsivity, lack of focus, and hyperactivity. That being said, CBD may soothe anxiety, disrupted sleep, and stress. If you have these symptoms associated with your ADHD, CBD may help.
Since CBD is low risk, it may be helpful to have in your toolkit. However, if you are taking prescription medications, or are trying to become pregnant, have a discussion with your medical provider before adding CBD oil to your routine.
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