CBD Oil for ADHD – Research, Treatment, Side Effects & More

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a psychological disorder that affects millions of people across the world. With symptoms including inattentiveness and hyperactivity, patients with ADHD can struggle academically and socially, which can clearly have long-term consequences.

The good news is CBD may have the potential to help ADHD. Let’s learn more about cannabis and ADHD.

CBD oil and ADHD

ADHD certainly may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to CBD. CBD has gained a reputation for its possible effects on pain and stress, but recent research has found that it may also hold benefits for patients with ADHD.

As CBD has become better understood, more and more people have decided to test out its possible therapeutic benefits. Here’s all about CBD oil for ADHD and how it may help relieve your symptoms.

Reduces anxiety

A symptom commonly experienced by patients with ADHD is anxiety. Anxiety disorder and ADHD are some of the most commonly experienced psychiatric disorders and are closely linked to one another. Reducing anxiety could help those with ADHD to improve their mental health and everyday functioning.

CBD has shown excellent promise as a possible treatment for anxiety. Thanks to its ability to activate serotonin (the ‘happy hormone’) receptors and promote the production of a neurotransmitter called GABA, CBD has demonstrated significant possible ability to reduce anxiety.

CBD’s possible anxiety-reducing effects aren’t just theoretical, however. Multiple studies have demonstrated the ability of this cannabinoid to reduce anxiety in humans.

Improves sleep

Another symptom that many ADHD patients experience is insomnia or a sleep disorder. Some of the common medicines used to manage ADHD are Adderall and Ritalin, which can have a stimulating effect that can prevent you from sleeping. An improvement to sleep conditions could drastically improve the quality of life for ADHD patients who struggle with sleep.

The good news for ADHD patients struggling to get a good night’s sleep is that CBD may be able to help. CBD has shown great potential as a possible sleep aid, improving sleep scores and improving the symptoms of sleep disorders like REM sleep behaviour disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness. The results are not conclusive evidence but give us a good indication of where more research is needed. 

Improve the symptoms of withdrawal

People with ADHD are at higher risk of addiction and substance abuse due largely to ADHD increasing an individual’s levels of impulsive tendencies. Drug use and withdrawal can have serious harmful consequences to both an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing.

CBD may be able to possibly improve the symptoms of withdrawal and make it easier for ADHD patients struggling with addiction. Studies have shown that CBD can reduce the pleasant feelings associated with addictive substances, like nicotine, and can help patients to resist the urge to use during withdrawal.

How does CBD possibly help ADHD?

So we know that CBD may help reduce some of the secondary symptoms associated with ADHD, but can it actually help manage ADHD, and if so, how?

CBD induces its effects on the body by binding to certain types of receptors, which when activated lead to various effects depending on the receptor and its placement within the body.

Evidence on using CBD for ADHD

While more research is needed to fully explore the effects of CBD on patients with ADHD, there is some evidence that ADHD patients may see an improvement in their symptoms after using CBD oil for ADHD treatment.

Patients with ADHD in one study were observed to have a significant increase in cognitive function and an improvement to their impulsive and hyperactive symptoms after CBD treatment. These improvements were consistent, and impressively, some participants in the study reported that they preferred CBD treatment to common ADHD medications like Adderall (not commonly used in NZ).

How to use CBD oil for ADHD

CBD oil can be used in a variety of different ways for ADHD; the best way to consume CBD for ADHD depends on your needs and preferences.

Whether it’s simply placing CBD oil under your tongue, adding CBD oil to your morning smoothie, or vaping CBD oil, there’s an option out there that will work for you.

An important factor to consider when choosing your CBD consumption method is the strength of effect that is best for you. Vaping, for example, will give you instant and strong effects, while eating CBD will give you more long-lasting but milder effects.

An option you may want to try when starting out is placing CBD oil under your tongue. While not as effective as vaping, it will still deliver you effective results and be longer-lasting. Consuming CBD oil sublingually this way is also an easy and fuss-free method.

When it comes to dosing CBD oil for ADHD specifically, research is lacking. A small dose of CBD is around 20 milligrams, but again, the best dose for you will depend on the intensity of your symptoms. As for all new additions to your therapeutic regime, it’s best to speak to your doctor if you have any questions about starting CBD use.

CBD side effects

Not only does CBD and cannabis come with some impressive health benefits, but it is also a reasonably safe product. Research tells us that CBD is generally well-tolerated and has a strong safety profile, even at very high doses. Some mild side effects, including increased appetite, dizziness, fatigue, and diarrhoea can occur, however.

Can CBD get you high?

One side effect you don’t have to worry about with CBD is experiencing a ‘high’. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that you won’t experience any of the infamous effects of cannabis when taking CBD alone. THC, another cannabinoid, is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. So long as you ensure your CBD contains no THC, then you won’t experience a high.

Is CBD safe for children with ADHD?

ADHD is especially prevalent amongst children, so is it safe to give them CBD?

Research into the effects of CBD in children is still in the early stages, but information from online surveys of parents who gave CBD to their children shows that apart from increasing their appetite, overall side effects were minimal, especially when compared to other medications used for ADHD.

If you’re wondering if CBD could benefit your child’s ADHD, it’s best to consult a paediatrician with an understanding of the cannabinoid.

Cannabis and ADHD: The bottom line

CBD has shown some ability to possibly both improve the symptoms of ADHD and reduce the effects of secondary side effects like anxiety and sleep disorders.

These benefits may significantly improve an ADHD patient’s quality of life. If you’re interested in CBD for ADHD, be sure to source a high-quality product and consult a doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

To speak to one of our medical specialists about using CBD oil for ADHD, please click here.

 

Disclaimer – medicinal cannabis and CBD oil are unapproved medicines in NZ which means that there is no conclusive evidence for their effect, apart from Sativex. Many doctors do not routinely prescribe cannabis medicines. The above article was written for general educational purposes and does not intend to suggest that medicinal cannabis can be used to treat any health condition. Please consult with your healthcare provider. 

MBChB (Otago), BSc (Auckland) - As our tele-medicine doctor and author, Dr. Waseem keeps busy educating both patients and doctors about medicinal cannabis. He also consults with people from all over New Zealand, offering a listening ear and giving the most relevant advice.

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