Definitive Guide To CBD For ADHD
All the topics related to the medicinal use of cannabis have a wealth of anecdotal evidence highlighting the positive effects CBD can offer. And, with ADHD and ADD, this is also the case.
In fact, many CBD start-ups we see today have been inspired by real-life stories. But the question is, how much of the hype is backed by science, and what it merely media hype?
While reading through the anecdotal reports can be inspiring, they offer no real scientific or clinical substance. Yes, personal stories are an excellent motivator. But, it is essential to begin with a solid foundation of scientific research on how CBD works with regards to ADD and ADHD.
Why is it so important for people to have access to the science and clinical research? Because CBD is still emerging out from the shadows of misunderstandings and misperceptions. And for the CBD industry to become a healthy staple in society, its reputation and acceptance need to be built on science and clinical research.
So, let’s take a look at some of the latest research and scientific reviews, and see why CBD is being used for ADD and ADHD. And if you are considering using CBD for yourself or for your children, you may have some vital questions that need answers before you begin.
Let’s Refresh: What is CBD?
CBD is cannabidiol, a cannabinoid found within the cannabis plant family. It does not contain any psychoactive properties so often associated with the cannabis plant and is therefore legal for usage and sale in several countries. One of the most important aspects of CBD is that it does not contain any psychoactive properties. In the US, CBD derived from hemp is legal. Hemp is part of the cannabis sativa variety and contains only trace amounts of THC if any. The legal limit for THC in hemp is 0.3%. Before we embark on learning about ADD/ADHD and CBD, it is important to address one fear that may be lingering in your mind; can CBD make me high? The answer is no. CBD does not contain any psychoactive properties, and will not be able to cause any psychoactive response. This is the predominant reason for the surge in popularity for CBD products, as well as its impressive safety profile.
First, Let’s Look at ADHD and ADD
To understand how using cannabidiol can assist neurological disorders like ADD and ADHD, let’s take a brief overview of ADD and ADHD. These disorders are distinguished by symptoms such as hyperactivity, poor memory, inability to focus, impulsiveness, inattentiveness, and restlessness. ADD is a subtype of ADHD, being a type that is limited to failure to pay attention or focus, while ADHD is a combination of inattentive as well as hyperactive. These conditions are believed to manifest due to structural and chemical differences in the brain, all related to the neurological system.
Do only Children Have ADHD?
No, adults can be affected with ADHD and ADD as well.
How Using CBD can Help with ADD and ADHD
One of the linking keys between cannabidiol and ADHD/ADD is dopamine. Dopamine is the regulator for the majority of the brains cognitive abilities (such as paying attention and mood) and is therefore regarded as a characterizing aspect of ADD/ADHD.
What does Dopamine have to do with CBD?
Well, we are already aware that CBD (among other cannabinoids) are able to improve the release of dopamine. Therefore, we see how CBD can be effectively used to increase the ability to concentrate and also reduce anxiety which can go a long way in reducing hyperactivity.
Several studies have shown how cannabinoids improve the release of dopamine. This, in turn, improves the cognitive processes of the brain. Therefore, some researchers have concluded that, while more in-depth study is needed, CBD enables those with ADD and ADHD to experienced increased levels of dopamine.
CBD improves cognitive processes, and it is therefore used to treat a variety of neurological disorders, including ADD and ADHD.
Take a look at CBD School’s video detailing how CBD can help with these neurological disorders and the resulting symptoms.
What is the Research Showing Us?
To begin on a clear note, large scale clinical trials have yet to be performed to discover the exact effects of CBD on ADHD and ADD. Many of the people using CBD for these conditions have done so because of real-life stories of others’ experiences (anecdotal evidence) and the small scale studies and research that has yielded some promising results. The bulk of which have been performed using animals or cells in a lab.
However, it is important to note that research is limited because up until recently, cannabis in all its forms was heavily restricted. Therefore, scientists and researchers have previously been unable to study the cannabinoids in detail and on a large scale.
In 2008, a case report was released detailing the success of CBD usage for an adult patient. The 28-year old had a previous history of drug abuse as well as being diagnosed with ADHD. The case study was carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Heidelberg’s Medical Centre.
The team administered high THC doses of cannabis to the patient and released the following results:
– The patient benefited from the cannabis treatment (the study did not specify benefit from particular cannabinoids).
– The cannabis treatment seemed to “regulate activation to a level which [was] considered optimum for performance …”
– -The patient’s driving ability was enhanced. Due to the patient’s record of traffic violations attributed to ADHD, this result was used as an indication of the effectiveness of cannabis to assist those with ADHD.
In 2012, the Journal of Psychopharmacology published a study concluding CBD is able to reduce hyperactivity. This study used rodents that had been administered a substance to induce ADHD symptoms as a test subject. The results indicated that CBD decreased the hyperactivity in the rats, as well as “reduced social investigative behavior.”
According to Dr. David Bearman, a forerunner of the medical marijuana community, “cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine, [having] the same effect but is a different mechanism of action [to] stimulants like Ritalin.”
These studies, in combination with hundreds of others, lead to the speculation that high-quality CBD, when administered correctly and consistently, can help to balance the dopamine deficiency in patients with ADD/ADHD.
While the studies mentioned above are only a handful, you will be able to find several links at the bottom of this article leading you to more studies and case reports.
Does CBD Improve Concentration?
CBD can stimulate, and regulate, essential cognitive function in the brain. This basically means that the brain is balanced, and is able to function better. Poor concentration is a result of reduced cognitive function. Due to CBD’s neuroprotective properties and ability to stimulate neurogenesis, the brain’s neurotransmitters can be strengthened.
Does CBD Help you Focus?
CBD helps to increase the flow of serotonin to the brain, in the same way that as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Because the lack of focus is often caused by anxiety, increased serotonin can assist in increasing focus levels by reducing stress due to the increased serotonin.
When CBD is ingested, it helps to activate the adenosine receptors, which actually work to reduce anxiety levels. And when the distraction of anxiety is removed, the focus can be improved.
How long does CBD Last for ADHD?
This largely depends on the method of ingestion.
The way that you ingest CBD will determine the duration of the lasting effects. This goes for pain relief, anxiety relief and just about everything. For ADHD, it will be no different.
What is the Best Way to Take CBD for ADHD?
In general, the most popular methods of intake is edibles and tinctures. Edibles are favorite because while they will take a longer time to work, the effects remain longer. Other intake methods, such as tinctures beneath the tongue, provide almost instantaneous results although they will not last as long as edibles.
How Long will Edibles Last?
Effects from edibles can last up to 7 hours. However, the average length of time is approximately 5 hours.
How Long do CBD Edibles Take to Work?
The effects of edibles will be felt after 45 minutes or even after one hour.
This is because the edible will first need to pass through the digestion and liver enzymes before being released into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, the cannabinoids will travel to the relevant cannabinoid receptors.
How Long will Tinctures Last?
Effects from tinctures can last anything between 1 – 3 hours.
Are the Effects from CBD Oil Tinctures Instantaneous?
If you place the drops under your tongue and hold them there for at least 45 seconds, then yes, the effects will be almost immediate. This is because there are blood vessels located beneath the tongue and these act as sponges, absorbing the tincture directly into the bloodstream. The entire oil and all the cannabinoids are therefore available for use. And this is what is known as a high level of bioavailability.
Is CBD Safe for Kids?
This question is often asked due to the association of ‘getting high’ from cannabis. Once you understand that THC and CBD are two different compounds, then you can understand why CBD is considered safe for children.
CBD does not have any mind-altering, psychoactive properties and even binds to different receptors than THC. The effects of CBD are often so subtle that they are not felt from the beginning.
Due to the stigma that has surrounded CBD and cannabis in general over the past several decades, minimal studies have been done to assess the use of CBD for children. The initial research reports were based on anecdotal reports from parents who, exasperated with the ineffectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs, turned to the natural option of using CBD.
One of the most important references to make in answer to this question is to indicate the report prepared by the World Health Organization. In the investigative report, it is stated that CBD has an excellent safety profile and has no risk for public-health-related issues.
Always speak with your healthcare professional if you want to administer CBD to your child. Even if your doctor is not open to this option, he or she will be able to enlighten you to the possible side effects involved, especially if your child is already on pharmaceutical medication.
Safety is More than Just THC-related
However, when you are looking for a CBD oil to administer to your child with ADHD, then you may want to follow up and ensure that the contents hold the specific compounds that the label says. In fact, this is true for everyone looking for a CBD oil. Always verify the contents of the CBD oil by reviewing the third party lab reports.
Are there Any Side Effects TO CBD?
In 2018, the WHO released a statement on CBD. In this statement, the organization made it clear that no severe health risks are stemming from CBD. However, in some cases some mild form of the following side effects could be experienced:
– Dry mouth
When looked at in comparison to conventional pharmaceutical drugs given to treat ADD and ADHD, these potential side effects pale in comparison.
Before we move on, we will address one question that is probably lingering in your mind…
Does CBD oil get you high?
It is important to address this fear that may be lingering in your mind; can CBD make me high? The answer is no. CBD does not contain any psychoactive properties, and will not be able to cause any psychoactive response. This is the predominant reason for the surge in popularity for CBD products, as well as its impressive safety profile.
Yes, cannabidiol is derived from cannabis. But does that make it simultaneous with getting high? No, it does not.
CBD is one of many cannabinoids that can be derived from the cannabis plant. It does not contain the properties, and therefore the ability, to cause a psychoactive response. If your CBD contains THC, then you could experience a high. However, the majority of CBD oils on the market do not contain THC at all, and this information can be easily located on the label, the website, and even on third-party lab testing reports that most reputable companies make easily accessible.
The Last Word on Using CBD to Treat ADD/ADHD Effectively
While there have been no large-scale clinical trials to add fuel to the fire that CBD is an excellent treatment option for ADD/ADHD, there is a wealth of small scale studies and anecdotal reports. These are all indicative of a highly promising, natural treatment option for children and adults suffering from neurological disorders, including attention deficit disorders.
Despite the overwhelmingly positive evidence, due to the lack of large-scale studies, no ‘official’ claim can be made regarding the effectiveness of using CBD to treat these disorders.
Yes, there is still a long road ahead in terms of research and investigate studies, but the correlation between the powerhouse cannabinoid, CBD, and the brain’s internal communication systems (neurological systems) associated with ADD/ADHD is a clear indication that this is a promising treatment option.
If you are considering using CBD to treat ADD/ADHD, the most critical thing for you to do lies in selecting the right oil. While you may not be able to control every single aspect of the CBD product you want to purchase, it is critical that you select a high-quality CBD oil from a supplier you can trust. In this way, you will be able to safely determine the outcomes of using cannabidiol for ADD/ADHD, whether for yourself or for a loved one.
Jessica Rosslee is a former journalist that has dedicated her writing skills and passion for communication to the cannabis industry. Jessica has spent her life in the field of wellness and communication, committed to allowing people access to accurate health and wellness information.
As a freelance cannabis writer, Jessica is passionate about free-flowing education for the public and the destigmatization of cannabis.