CBD or cannabidiol is an active compound that is present in the cannabis plant. It lacks the addictive and intoxicating effects that are often linked with marijuana, which contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD – the hemp-derived alternative of marijuana has been legalized in the United States and several other countries for the health benefits it possesses. The major advantage of CBD is it lacks THC – the component responsible for psychoactive behavior.
The hemp plant in place of THC has a higher and more impactful concentration of cannabinoids. This is helpful in the proper functioning of the human body. CBD has proven its numerous health benefits over the year and it also helps to ease the symptoms caused by ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Understanding Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
The symptoms of ADD and ADHD are characterized by restlessness, inattentiveness, hyperactivity, forgetfulness, and other symptoms. The common symptoms of ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder is poor memory and inattentiveness. Consequently, children who bear this disease would have a substantially poor school performance, lower cognitive function, inability to deal with others, and eventually unbearable adult life, as this disorder continues to adulthood. Both adults and children are affected by the symptoms of ADHD and ADD. Those who are affected by ADHD are excessively disruptive and hyperactive whereas the ones suffering from ADD are as active as those with ADHD. Both disorders are caused by structural and chemical alterations occurring in the brain.
Is CBD the desirable option when it comes to treating ADD and ADHD?
The lower levels of dopamine causes ADD as well as ADHD. The neurotransmitter – dopamine controls every cognitive ability of the brain such as attention levels, mood, and memory. When this chemical runs at low levels, it can result in the manifestation of both ADD and ADHD. CBD also have anti-anxiety, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD or cannabinoids have proved to improve the transmission of dopamine and other neurochemicals in the brain. This helps improve the cognitive process of ADHD patient. With the use of CBD, people suffering from ADHD can have increased levels of focus. The adenosine receptors present in the brain become more active with CBD which helps to reduce stress and anxiety. The hyperactivity and distractions faced by ADHD patients can be minimized as well. The cognitive processes occurring in the brain can be improved by treating all the conditions that occur as symptoms of ADD. From relieving pain to anxiety, depression, and several other neurological problems – CBD might be a possible agent in treating ADHD and ADD.
The medications that has been used to manage ADD/ADHD are known to have several side-effects, some of which are extremely severe and consequently result in poor compliance of ADHD/ADD patients to current medications. On the other hand, the use of CBD to treat the ADHD and ADD symptoms have proven to cause absolutely no side effects. CBD is safer to use in comparison to the conventional drugs. Despite being derived from the cannabis plant, there are no psychoactive properties present in CBD. CBD is the resultant compound of cannabinoid When the extraction process is carried out THC is removed.
Current Evidence of the Use of Cannabinoids in ADHD/ADD Patients
Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) describe self-medicating with cannabis, as a much better treatment option over conventional ADHD medications. Even though there is no evidence from randomized controlled studies about the therapeutic potential of cannabis (or CBD) in treating ADHD, a small number of neuropsychiatrists in the United States prescribe cannabis or CBD supplementations for ADHD.
In 2017, the first clinical trial ever conducted on ADHD patients under cannabinoid treatment, to investigate its efficacy and safety profiles. A total of 30 adult patients with ADHD were allocated to receive one of two interventions: medical oro-mucosal cannabinoid or placebo, in order to determine its effect on cognitive performance, activity level, and ADHD symptoms.
Unfortunately, the results revealed no significant difference between the two interventions as regards the outcomes of cognitive function and activity levels. However, Cannabinoids resulted in a significant improvement in hyperactivity/impulsivity, a cognitive measure of inhibition, and inattention.
Adults with ADHD may represent a subgroup of patients who experience a significant reduction of symptoms and no cognitive impairments following the use of cannabinoid. This study provides preliminary evidence supporting the use of cannabis in ADHD with the need for further investigations on how the cannabinoid system can affect and prevent ADHD.
To date, there is no evidence regarding the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) only in child and adult patients with ADHD. Therefore, it is advisable not to use CBD on your own to treat or manage your ADHD until clinical trials have investigated and confirmed its beneficial effects on humans.