CBD Oil for ADHD: Is It an Effective Treatment?
CBD oil for ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is still being studied, and the results are somewhat mixed. Some experts believe using CBD oil for ADHD may benefit patients. However, others believe that CBD oil for ADHD won’t help at all.
To better understand how CBD oil for ADHD can or cannot help, let’s first take a quick look at ADHD, its symptoms, and its effects.
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that develops in childhood and has lifelong consequences into adulthood. The exact cause of this disorder remains unknown. But researchers found several factors that increase the risk of developing this brain disorder. These include low birth weight, prematurity, and brain injury.
Environmental exposure as well as alcohol, nicotine use, and use of illicit drugs during pregnancy also contribute to the development of ADHD.
Symptoms of ADHD vary from mild to severe. But these symptoms ultimately affect their relationships at home, school, and work.
ADHD typically presents with the following symptoms:
- Inability to focus and concentrate on a single task.
- Forgetfulness and inability to remember things.
- A habit of fidgeting and squirming.
- Inattentiveness, especially when one is talking to them.
- Easily distracted.
- Carelessness and easily makes mistakes.
- Difficulty or inability to get along well with others.
- Impulsiveness and tendency to take unnecessary risks.
- Difficulty in resisting risky activities, things, etc.
How does CBD oil for ADHD help?
There are several symptoms that CBD oil for ADHD may be able to help control.
- Studies show that 33.5% of the people diagnosed with ADHD also suffer from anxiety disorders. Now, CBD is known for its anxiolytic property. With CBD controlling anxiety, people with ADHD can focus and concentrate on current tasks and activities.
- Children with ADHD also suffer from sleep problems. They’re unwilling to go to bed, and should they fall asleep, they have trouble waking up. If they wake up in the middle of the night, they also have problems falling back to sleep. Because of these sleep issues, some children with ADHD often suffer from daytime sleepiness.
At low doses, CBD promotes wakefulness and alertness. But at high doses, CBD promotes sleep. In one study on CBD and epilepsy, 160mg of CBD helped epileptic patients sleep better. Those who received CBD reported significant improvement in their sleep time, compared to those who received placebo.
This shows that CBD oil for ADHD may be able to help patients sleep better.
- Studies show that low-grade brain inflammation contributes to the development of ADHD symptoms. It negatively impacts brain connections. It also prevents the neurons from healing and the neural stem cells from forming new brain cells. The exact cause of this low-grade brain inflammation remains unknown. But autoimmune problems and genetics seem to play a role.
CBD possesses potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties help reduce low-grade inflammation in the brain. These also protect the neurons from brain toxicity and free radicals.
These are just some of the ways that CBD oil for ADHD may be able to help patients diagnosed with this brain disorder.
Is CBD oil for ADHD effective?
CBD, right now, seems like a miracle cure. It can treat a wide range of symptoms, from chronic pain to severe epileptic seizures. Because of its popularity as a miracle cure, families with an ADHD loved one are asking if CBD oil for ADHD can help relieve some of the symptoms.
Anecdotal evidence says yes; CBD oil for ADHD helps improve focus. According to an ex-Marine, CBD helped improve his social anxiety problems and ADHD symptoms.
CBD oil for ADHD advocates agree. Not only can this cannabinoid help improve focus, but it also produces fewer side effects compared to ADHD drugs like Ritalin.
Studies that show CBD oil for ADHD may be effective
Studies on medical cannabis or CBD oil for ADHD may be limited. But there are some studies that are worth mentioning.
One study was done on 30 adults diagnosed with ADHD who were grouped into two. One group received cannabinoid therapy. The other group received a placebo treatment. Those who received cannabinoid therapy reported significant improvement in their impulsivity as well as hyperactivity. They also reported improved attention and emotional lability. No cognitive impairments were reported during the trial.
Another study was done on 30 adult patients with ADHD. About 63% of them were diagnosed with ADHD during their adulthood, while 37% were diagnosed with ADHD during their childhood. They were treated with methylphenidate (Ritalin) and other conventional ADHD drugs such as dexamphetamine as well as atomoxetine. However, they discontinued their use of these drugs and switched to medical cannabis. Their reasons for discontinuation include adverse drug reactions and ineffectiveness. On medical cannabis, they reported significant improvement in their impulsivity. They also reported that medical cannabis reduced their anxiety and improved their focus, concentration, and sleep.
Although this study wasn’t done on CBD oil for ADHD, it showed that CBD was able to reduce anxiety and improve the sleep in a child with post-traumatic stress disorder. It also showed that CBD oil is safe, effective, and well-tolerated by the patient.
Statistics state that ADHD affects about 2.5% to 5% of the adult general population. Now, one qualitative analysis of forums and online discussions revealed that 25% of the posts show that cannabis helps control ADHD.
Why can’t CBD oil for ADHD help?
CBD oil for ADHD may have the potential to improve symptoms. However, there are also concerns that using medical cannabis therapy in children will only prove to be harmful in the long run.
Cannabis use harms the developing brain. It causes changes in the brain connections which can affect the children later on in life. It also increases the risk of developing mental health problems like psychosis, depression, anxiety problems, and drug dependence.
But this is for marijuana use, not CBD oil for ADHD. For now, we still lack solid proof that CBD oil for ADHD is really harmful to the developing brain. Similarly, we also need more research studies on CBD oil for ADHD.