CBD (cannabidiol) is becoming increasingly popular, and its potential therapeutic benefits have made it a topic of interest for many people. For those living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), CBD may offer an alternative treatment option that could provide relief from the symptoms associated with this disorder. Using CBD for ADHD may help reduce symptoms such as difficulty with focus and concentration, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. In this article, we will explore the research surrounding CBD for ADHD as well as the potential benefits it may offer. We'll also examine the safety of using CBD to treat this disorder.
What is ADHD? It is characterized by difficulty with attention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity, which can lead to significant impairment in day-to-day functioning.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
There are three primary types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined. Someone with an "inattentive type ADHD" will have difficulty focusing on tasks and may be easily distracted or forgetful.
Those with hyperactivity and impulsivity may have difficulty sitting still, be constantly "on the go," or blurt out answers before questions are finished.
Finally, the combined type is a combination of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. ADHD can be diagnosed by a healthcare professional through an assessment that looks at behavior, family history, medical history, and school records.
More general symptoms of ADHD include:
- Problems focusing on a task.
- Poor planning.
- Excessive activity or restlessness.
- Low frustration tolerance.
- Poor time management skills.
- Trouble multitasking.
There are various treatment options available for those with ADHD. Some of them include:
- Medication: Stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall are commonly used to treat ADHD. However, these medications can have side effects, so it is important to consult with a doctor before starting any medication.
- Therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of ADHD. It can help individuals learn how to manage their symptoms and develop better coping skills.
- Diet: Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help reduce the symptoms of ADHD by providing needed nutrients for mental and physical health.
- Exercise: Regular exercise has been shown to improve focus and concentration in people with ADHD, as well as reduce stress and anxiety levels.
These traditional treatments can be effective for some, but they have their limitations.
Limitations Of Traditional Treatments
Medications can be effective, but they come with potential side effects and are not always suitable for long-term use. Therapy can also help, but it is often expensive and time-consuming.
Dietary modifications may not work for everyone and require significant lifestyle changes to be successful. And while exercise can help, it is not always possible for everyone due to physical limitations or other factors. That's where CBD may come in; let's take a closer look at the potential role of CBD for ADHD.
CBD for ADHD
How CBD Works
The effects of CBD are a result of its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, which controls a range of bodily functions, including movement, pain, thinking, emotions, mood, memories, appetite, sleep, pain, and inflammation.
The endocannabinoid system has two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. These receptors are found throughout the body, especially in the central nervous system and immune system. The body makes neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids that attach to CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD works by interacting with these receptors, activating them, and increasing endocannabinoid levels. Those with ADHD benefit from this as it helps regulate the neural networks associated with focus and attention.
Research on CBD for ADHD
While research on CBD for ADHD is still in its early stages, there have been promising findings from animal studies. For example, a recent study tested participants' cannabis use. It found that those who used cannabis were less likely to report hyperactivity or impulsiveness when they were taking cannabis.
A different clinical trial was conducted on adults with ADHD who were given Sativex, a medication containing both CBD and THC cannabinoids. Although the improvements were not significant, there was still a reported minor reduction in ADHD symptoms. And in 2020, another study discovered that adults who consumed larger amounts of medical cannabis used fewer ADHD medications and had lower ADHD scores. All of this just goes to show that CBD may offer some benefits for treating ADHD.
Potential Benefits of CBD for ADHD
Below, we discuss some of the potential benefits of using CBD to treat ADHD:
- Improved Focus: Focus is something many people with ADHD struggle with. Studies have shown that CBD may help improve focus and concentration by calming the mind and improving cognitive abilities.
- Reduced Anxiety: Anxiety is often a symptom experienced by those with ADHD. CBD may help reduce anxiety levels, allowing individuals to focus on tasks more easily.
- Decreased Hyperactivity: Hyperactivity is one of the main symptoms associated with ADHD. CBD has been shown to have calming effects and may help reduce hyperactive behavior.
- Improved Sleep: Poor sleep quality can exacerbate symptoms of ADHD and make it harder to focus. CBD may help improve sleep quality by reducing stress levels, allowing individuals to wake up feeling more rested and ready to take on the day.
Risks and Considerations
As with any treatment, there are potential risks associated with using CBD for ADHD. This section will cover all you need to know about the safety of CBD and how to use it most effectively.
Potential Side Effects
It's important to note that CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated. However, there are potential side effects to consider. They include:
- Dry mouth: Dry mouth is a common side effect of CBD use. This can be alleviated by drinking plenty of water or chewing sugar-free gum.
- Drowsiness: CBD may cause drowsiness in some people, so it is best to take it in the evening before bed.
- Interaction with medications: It is important to speak to a doctor before taking CBD with any other medications, as it may interact with some drugs.
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 is the primary federal law that permits businesses to market CBD products. This act legalizes the cultivation of industrial hemp, which must contain less than 0.3% THC, the chemical in cannabis that causes a high. If hemp has more than 0.3% THC, it is considered marijuana, which is a Schedule 1 drug according to the federal government.
While CBD can be found in both hemp and marijuana, hemp is legal at the federal level. A good rule of thumb is that if CBD is derived from hemp, it's legal. However, anything derived from marijuana is illegal. However, even though CBD from hemp is federally legal, some states still prohibit all cannabis products.
Dosage and administration
It is important to talk to a doctor before taking CBD for ADHD. They can help you decide the right amount of CBD for you and the best way to take it. There are different ways to take CBD, such as:
- Ingestion: CBD can be consumed as edibles, capsules, or tinctures. There are various CBD gummies for ADHD and anxiety available on the market today, which may be beneficial for those with ADHD.
- Inhalation: CBD can be inhaled through vaping or smoking. However, this is not recommended as it carries potential risks such as lung damage and other side effects.
- Topical application: CBD oil can also be used topically in the form of creams and ointments to treat specific areas.
Using CBD for ADHD
Choosing a Product
There are a ton of CBD products out there, so it's important to ensure you get the right product. Here are a couple of things to look out for when selecting a CBD product:
- Lab Testing: It is important to look for products that have been tested in quality-assured laboratories for purity and potency.
- Type of CBD: Choose a product that suits your needs, such as full-spectrum for those looking for the "entourage effect" or CBD isolate if you are looking to avoid any THC.
- Reviews: Check out customer reviews to get a better understanding of the quality of the product and how it has helped others.
Best Practices for Use
It is important to follow the best practices when taking cannabidiol for ADHD. Here are a few tips:
- Start Low and Go Slow: Start with a lower dose and increase gradually if needed. This will help you get used to the effects of CBD.
- Pay Attention to Your Body: Pay attention to your body's response and make any necessary adjustments to the dosage or frequency.
- Be Patient: CBD may take a few weeks to start working, so be patient and give it time.
In addition to taking CBD for ADD, various lifestyle changes can help maximize the benefits. First and foremost, it is important to get enough sleep, as a lack of restorative sleep can worsen ADHD symptoms.
Proper sleep hygiene practices such as limiting screen time before bed, keeping a consistent bedtime routine, and avoiding caffeine in the evening can help improve sleep quality.
It is also important to eat a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Eating healthy helps to provide the brain with the vital nutrients it needs to function optimally.
Using CBD for ADHD is becoming an increasingly popular choice among those looking for alternative treatments. While more research needs to be done, the studies conducted thus far have shown promising results. If you are considering using CBD for ADHD, it is important to do your research and discuss it with a healthcare professional prior to beginning treatment.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Does CBD Help With ADHD In Adults?
Yes, there is some evidence that CBD may be helpful for adults with ADHD. Studies have shown that CBD can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Additionally, CBD has calming effects that can help alleviate the hyperactivity associated with ADHD.
What Is The Best CBD for ADHD?
The best CBD product for ADHD will depend on your individual needs. Full-spectrum products may be most beneficial according to research as they contain other cannabinoids and terpenes that may provide an "entourage effect."
Can You Use CBD For Depression And ADHD?
Yes, there is evidence that CBD may be beneficial for both depression and ADHD. Studies have shown that CBD can help reduce anxiety and improve mood. Additionally, CBD has calming effects that can help alleviate the hyperactivity associated with ADHD.
Is There CBD For Kids With ADHD?
While the World Health Organization has concluded that CBD is generally safe for kids, the FDA has only approved the use of one CBD drug for children. Parents should speak to their pediatrician before giving their child any form of CBD.