CBD for ADHD
By Dr. Frank Michalski
ADHD or ADD is a disorder defined as a chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. This makes it difficult for those with ADHD to focus on daily tasks. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed developmental disorder in children and adolescents. Don’t be fooled, 2-5 percent of adults also have ADHD.Children diagnosed with ADHD often have other disorders and conditions according to the CDC:
- Nearly 2 out of 3 had a at least one other mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder
- About 1 out of 2 children with ADHD had a behavior or conduct problem
- About 1 out of 3 with ADHD had anxiety
- Other conditions include depression, autism, and Tourette Syndrome
- Cigarette smoking, alcohol use
- Exposure to environmental toxins such as lead
- Brain injuries (concussion, stroke, traumatic brain injury)
Decreased Omega 3 fatty acid intake? Over the last several years people have been consuming more omega 6 fatty acids found in vegetable oil, and soy. Omega fatty acids have been shown to play a major role in the neural development of disorders like schizophrenia, ADHD, and mood disorders.
ADHD Signs and Symptoms
- Difficulty paying attention
- Being Overactive
- Acting without thinking
Treatment for this condition is controversial at best. Common treatments include medication, education, and therapy.
The first line of treatment for ADHD is stimulant usage. Why would you give a stimulant to an already overactive brain? Stimulants seem to calm the overactive ADHD brain, but why? Stimulants work by making dopamine more available in the brain. Scientists have observed that lower levels of dopamine are associated with symptoms of ADHD. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates body movement, attention, learning, emotional responses, and motivation. Dopamine is often blamed for addiction.
It is believed this deficiency exists because ADHD patients have higher levels of dopamine transporters which prevents dopamine from going on to the next cell, lessening its effects. DAT’s (dopamine active transporters) act as vacuums sucking up all the available dopamine. DAT’s have been shown to be more active in ADHD patients. Stimulants work by making dopamine more available in the brain, which helps to regulate behavior, focus and attention.
Although effective, in many cases, the current drugs in use have negative side effects and long-term safety is in question.
ADHD & CBD
Although much more research is needed, limited studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that that the dopamine deficiency in the brain of ADHD sufferers can be balanced with cannabinoid therapy, specifically CBD.
Dr. David Bearman is a major player in cannabis research. He is renowned as “one of the most clinically knowledgeable physicians in the U.S. in the field of medicinal marijuana.”
CBD A Patients Guide to Medicinal Cannabis by Leonard Leinow & Juliana Birnbaum
Dr Bearman states “Cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of Dopamine. This then has the same effect but is a different mechanism of action than stimulants like Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Dexedrine amphetamine, which act by binding to the dopamine and interfering with the metabolic breakdown of dopamine.”“The most accepted theory on ADHD rests on the fact that about 70% of the brains function is to regulate input to the other 30%.” Dr. Bearman states “Basically the brain is overwhelmed with too much information coming too fast. In ADHD, the brain is cluttered with and too aware of all the nuances of a person’s daily experience.”
- 2012 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology notes that CBD inhibits hyperactivity and Normalizes social investigative behavior
-The study was carried out in lab rats with induced ADHD symptoms. After being treated with CBD us was observed that hyperreactivity was inhibited and social behavior was normalized beyond control levels. There was no impact on attention span.
- 2016 study concludes that only 2% of ADHD patients believe cannabis has no effect on the disorder.-In this study online forums were reviewed for the prevalence of cannabis use and effectiveness among real life individuals with ADHD. 401 post were taken into consideration. 25% of the post indicated that people had experienced therapeutic effects concerning cannabis and ADHD.
- 2017 publication observes the effects of Sativex (synthetic cannabis drug) for ADHD. The researchers concluded "that those adults with ADHD may experience a reduction of symptoms and no cognitive impairments following cannabis use. A whopping 13% experienced side effects, which is very common among those using synthetic cannabis.”
As always, go slow. According to CBD a Patients Guide to Medicinal Cannabis a micro to standard dose is recommended.
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