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CBD for ADHD: Does cannabidiol do anything for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

ADHD, short for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a common mental disorder characterized by high anxiety levels, hyperactivity, and limited attention span. Using CBD for ADHD offers numerous benefits, including anxiety relief, mood regulation, and increased confidence. 

What causes ADHD? Can CBD help? and is it okay to give a child CBD for ADHD?

Quick take: What does CBD do for ADHD?

  • ADHD is easy to misdiagnose, making it important to always seek a second opinion before treatment. 
  • CBD is not a cure for ADHD, but it may help manage symptoms, including anxiety, and it may protect the brain from damage due to its neuroprotective quality. 
  • CBD extracted from hemp is legal in all states. 
  • Federal laws do not set age restrictions for hemp CBD, but state laws may have age restrictions. Recommend checking state laws before purchase or use.
  • ADHD is not a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in the US. 

How do you know if you have ADHD?

Left untreated, ADHD can cause numerous problems in one’s social life and health. The condition has a high comorbidity rate, meaning one may have it along with other conditions, including autism, and it can cause major impairment.

Remember, ADHD, autism, and Asperger’s syndrome are neurodivergent disorders, meaning they may create problems with social communication, they can cause unusual responses to environmental factors including cold, heat, pressure, and social situations, they can cause learning difficulties, they can cause unusual behavior such as rocking or shouting, or an inability to adapt. The conditions may also cause obsessions or inflexibility.  

You know that you may have ADHD if you experience symptoms including:

  • You talk too fast or too much. The cause of that, according to research, is cognitive impulsivity – meaning persons who have it may find it difficult to weigh the consequences of their actions. 
  •  Relationship problems. ADHD can make it difficult to get along with others, read social cues, or conform to social norms. 
  • Lack of impulse control.

In minors, the condition may trigger the symptoms above along with taking unnecessary risks, one can be forgetful, and the child may squirm or fidget without reason.

Note that the symptoms above may also be indicators of other neurodivergent conditions, including autism. Meaning, before you start using CBD for ADHD, you should get the problem diagnosed by a mental health practitioner.

Remember, some forms of ADHD require medication, meaning if a misdiagnosis occurs – the patient may end up on unnecessary medication.

What does ADHD do to the mind and body?

Researchers believe that ADHD affects the brain’s motivational, behavioral, and cognitive functions. Consequently, it has effects on mood and emotions, and it may alter cell connections.

How does ADHD affect you physically?

Not all persons living with the condition will exhibit physical symptoms. A person who has ADHD is at higher risk of developing restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and insomnia.

The symptoms ADHD causes determine the type. Currently, there are at least three types of ADHD, including (1) predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation. May cause a child or adult to have difficulty sitting still, the individual may be accident prone, and may have difficulties in social situations. (2) predominantly inattentive presentation, which can cause difficulty following instructions, the individual may be easily distracted, and it may cause problems following routines.

An individual may exhibit all the symptoms above. 

What is CBD for ADHD?

CBD or cannabidiol is an extract of hemp or cannabis. The cannabinoid is believed to offer medical benefits for multiple conditions. However, the FDA has only approved CBD for use as a treatment for epileptic seizures because (1) CBD is neuroprotective and can thus protect the brain. (2) the long-term side effects of sustained use of CBD on the young brain are still unclear.

What to remember:

  • CBD is complementary or alternative management for ADHD. If you are on medication, consult with a GP before use. You want to avoid drug interactions that may worsen symptoms.
  • CBD product labels can be misleading. Some may contain high levels of THC, a psychoactive.  We recommend only using CBD products from trustable sources. 

What causes ADHD and how CBD oil may help.

Smoking or drug use during pregnancy increases the risk of ADHD, and so does a low birth weight, premature delivery, brain injury, and environmental factors.

Can marijuana use cause ADHD?

Marijuana’s long-held status as a schedule 1 substance means that research into its effects on pregnancy, fetuses, or infants remains unknown. Some studies claim that marijuana use can cause developmental problems, but there is no proof that marijuana contributes directly to the development of ADHD. 

Because of that, the CDC recommends not using CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Can CBD treat ADHD symptoms, and is it safe?

Pure CBD oil or CBD isolate has an excellent safety profile, and adults can tolerate up to 1500 mg a day. 

According to anecdotal evidence from persons living with the condition, CBD helps them manage restlessness and hyperactivity, and it may improve sleep quality.

What does the research say?

CBD for ADHD: Stress, depression, and anxiety.

Multiple medical studies and reviews of studies claim that CBD oil has a positive effect on stress, anxiety, and depression -common symptoms that affect persons living with ADHD. 

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, quote:

“The main finding from this case study is that CBD oil can be an effective compound to reduce anxiety and insomnia secondary to PTSD. A review of the literature suggests some benefits from the use of CBD because of its anxiolytic and sleep-inducing effects.”

The linked study also found that:

  • CBD may inhibit anxiety-induced movements in animal models. 

Patients on CBD alone reported a steady decrease in anxiety levels and improved sleep quality within 5 months. According to a caregiver -quoted in the study, quote “My granddaughter’s behaviors are definitely better being on the CBD. Her anxiety is not gone, but it is not as intense, and she is much easier to be around. She now sleeps in her own room most of the time, which has never happened before.”