Scientists in Germany conducted a trial in which cannabis was given to thirty patients who experienced little relief of their ADHD when using traditional treatments such as Ritalin or Adderall. All patients reported experienced better concentration, more restful sleep and improved impulse control. When the trail was concluded, twenty-two of the patients opted to cease taking amphetamines and switch to cannabis for the treatment of their condition.
This research is rather groundbreaking in that it suggests medical cannabis may be a suitable medication for addressing the symptoms of ADHD, such as poor concentration, recklessness, poor memory and hyperactivity. Prior research has shown cannabis is useful in the treatment of a variety of chronic condition but this was the first study focused exclusively on ADHD.
This study is a ray of hope for ADHD sufferers, given that traditional amphetamine treatments carry significant risks and side-effects. That said, pot is not without side-effects and abuse potential. For this reason, many are quick to disregard the medical cannabis movement, given the substance is strongly associated with recreational use by goofy teens.
For those who don’t suffer from ADHD, the amphetamine substance is often used recreationally. It is sometimes diluted in water for injection or crushed and snorted. University students often use Adderall or Ritalin for increased concentration and mental energy when studying for exams. These drugs are also sometimes used for weight-loss as they suppress appetite.
Non-prescribed usage of Adderall is never recommended as it can be chemically addictive and has the potential for overdose. The mildest side-effect of an Adderall overdose is hyperactivity. The worst case scenario is loss of consciousness or a seizure.
Unlike cannabis, Adderall can also interact negatively with a wide variety of other prescription medications. It is also contra-indicated for many conditions, including anxiety, hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, Tourette’s syndrome and cases of kidney or liver disease.
When stopping Adderall, no matter if you used it as prescribed by a doctor or not, withdrawal symptoms often occur. Common symptoms include depression, insomnia and overwhelming urges to consume further Adderall.
Dr. David Bearman is a self-proclaimed “cannabinoidologist,” a researcher who focuses on the study of cannabis. He states that cannabis is helpful in the treatment of ADHD and ADD and suggests the mechanism is related to the ability of cannabis to increase available dopamine in the brain.
Dr. Bearman states that the effect is similar to the stimulation provided by amphetamines, such as Ritalin and Adderall. The mechanism is distinct however, as cannabis does not bind to the dopamine neurotransmitter and so interfere with its eventual re-absorption. This implies that cannabis may effectively balance brain hormones in cases of dopamine insufficiency.
At this time, the only American states which permit cannabis to be used in the treatment of attention deficit disorder are Colorado and California.