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Is CBD a Potential Solution for ADHD?

ADHD

When we say you’re not alone if you’re dealing with ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, we mean it: roughly 6.4 million children alone have been diagnosed with ADHD in recent years. CBD for ADHD might help. [*]

ADHD is considered a mental disorder that causes difficulty paying attention, trouble multitasking, trouble coping with stress, hyperactivity, mood swings, and impulsive behavior. It often leads to difficulties in relationships, school, work performance, and even self-esteem. Anyone with ADHD or a child with ADHD knows how difficult it can be to integrate these traits into society and schools that require the opposite. 

Typically, ADHD medication or counseling is prescribed to help manage ADHD. However, with more and more people becoming aware of the power of natural supplements, many are turning to alternatives. 

One of these natural alternatives is CBD, or cannabidiol, one of the non-psychoactive (aka it won’t get you high) compounds found in the cannabis plant. But does it really work?

What the Research Says

Yes, CBD is proving to be a powerhouse molecule when it comes to helping to treat a wide variety of disorders and ailments, ranging from epilepsy to insomnia. [*][*] However, even though there are many claims from users that CBD has helped improve their ADHD, research is still limited showing actual proof. 

What studies do exist seem to point toward some positive effects, such as a small 2017 study that found that a group of adults with ADHD who were self-medicating with cannabis experienced a very slight improvement in markers of impulsivity and hyperactivity. [*

While these weren’t deemed significant enough to make a claim that CBD definitely improves ADHD, it does provide a positive starting point for more research. And just because research isn’t definitive yet when it comes to ADHD as a whole, other studies suggest it could help improve several of its symptoms.

CBD May Help With Symptoms of ADHD

As you can see, research is limited on whether CBD can alleviate ADHD specifically. However, there is some evidence it may have a positive effect on symptoms that commonly occur with alongside it.

For instance, one of the common symptoms of ADHD is an inability to cope with stress, or feeling enhanced feelings of anxiety or restlessness. Recent research into CBD has focused heavily on what it may be able to do for anxiety, and the results have been extremely positive. Many have been on animals, but some more human studies are also being released as CBD becomes more and more popular.

Studies on rats have found that CBD lowered stress levels, and also observed that rats exhibit less behavioral signs of anxiety when given CBD. [*]

If you are wondering does CBD help with ADHD please keep reading. A 2011 study on humans also found that patients with a social anxiety disorder (SAD) experienced reduced anxiety levels when given 400 mg of CBD compared to a placebo. [*]

Yet another found male participants who were given CBD 90 minutes before undergoing a simulated public speaking test significantly reduced the speakers’ anxiety. [*]

Another interesting fact about CBD is that it’s a known anticonvulsant that can help improve seizures. In fact, the FDA has even approved a CBD-based drug for use to help treat epilepsy. [*] Researchers believe CBD’s positive effect on seizures is due to its interaction with our own cannabinoid receptors in our body – specifically in our nervous system. 

That’s right – we have a built-in cannabinoid receptor system in our own bodies that produce its own cannabinoids (referred to as endocannabinoids) and interacts with other cannabinoid molecules like CBD. 

In this case, CBD molecules bind to receptors in our nervous system that could help ease over-excitability or downregulate or block molecules and neurotransmitters that may be triggering seizures. [*]

Of course, while this doesn’t mention ADHD specifically, the nervous system does play a large role in ADHD symptoms such as hyperactivity and behavior control. [*] This is why we may have seen in the study above on people with ADHD self-medicating with cannabis experiencing slight improvements in impulsivity and hyperactivity. Of course CBD’s interaction with our nervous system needs to be studied more in relation to ADHD, but it’s a start. CBD and ADHD research is still ongoing. 

Another symptom of ADHD includes mood swings. CBD for kids with ADHD may also help stabilize your mood by interacting with your nervous system, and animal studies show it may have antidepressant effects.  [*]

Trying CBD for ADHD

If you’ve decided to give CBD a go for ADHD, there are a few things you want to keep in mind when you start shopping:

  • Look for a pure CBD oil. If you want to avoid any type of “high,” be sure to look for a pure CBD oil that contains no THC. THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that is sometimes included in CBD formulations. These will usually be labeled as “spectrum” CBD products, but double-check the ingredients just to be certain.
    • Decide how you want to use it. There are many ways to consume CBD: by vaping (inhalation), using a tincture under your tongue, eating an edible, or applying topically with an oil or lotion. Try out a few methods to see which works best for you, as everyone absorbs and responds differently to different methods.
    • Decide on your dosage. There is no standard dosage recommended for CBD, and even high doses have been deemed safe. However, this article breaks down dosage recommendations from studies so you can get a better idea of where to start.
    • Look for quality. Grabbing an organic CBD product with no added fillers or chemicals is the best way to go with CBD. Hemp plants are very sensitive to their environment and can absorb a lot of toxins that can be transferred into the oil, so it’s best to look for a brand that has been third-party tested for purity.

 

There’s no doubt that CBD holds promise for a wide range of disorders, with ADHD being one of them. Research is limited, but taking CBD for related side effects of ADHD like feelings of anxiety or low mood may help. 

Have you tried CBD for ADHD? How has it worked for you? Let us know in the comments!





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