Last updated on 11 October 2021
Overview of ADD & ADHD
ADD and ADHD are used to refer to a syndrome characterized by inattentiveness, restlessness, forgetfulness, hyperactivity, among other symptoms. ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder has symptoms such as inattentiveness, poor memory, and distractibility. ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, refers to hyperactivity, impulsivity or excessive restlessness.
Today, doctors use ADHD as the general term for the conditions involving attention deficit, and further subdivide ADHD into three subtypes. The three subtypes are inattentive, hyperactive and combined. ADD falls in the inattentive subtype of ADHD, with sufferers showing no form of hyperactivity.
Both children and adults can show symptoms of ADD and ADHD. People with ADD present themselves as calm while those with ADHD present themselves as excessively active and disruptive. ADD and ADHD is caused by chemical and structural differences in the workings of the brain.
Why is CBD a Good Option for Treating ADD/ADHD?
Both ADD and ADHD are characterized by low levels of dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s cognitive abilities such as memory, attention levels, and mood. Low levels of this chemical cause a manifestation of attention deficit disorder.
Cannabinoids have been shown to improve the transmission of the chemical neurotransmitter in the brain, dopamine, which helps to enhance cognitive processes1. CBD helps increase the focus of ADHD patients by making more active the adenosine receptors in their brain, thereby reducing anxiety. It works to minimize the distractions and hyperactivity ADHD patients exhibit2.
The properties of CBD to improve the brains cognitive processes have made it useful for treating conditions other than Attention Deficit Disorder. It can relieve anxiety, pain, and depression among other neurological problems.
The Benefits of Using CBD for ADD/ADHD
Medications such as Ritalin and Adderall are usually used in managing ADD/ADHD. However, these medications present various side effects, some of which can be severe and affect a sufferer’s life. CBD, when used to relieve the symptoms of ADHD, causes minimal side effects. Compared to the conventional drugs used for the attention deficit condition, CBD appears safer3.
Although CBD oil is derived from the Cannabis plant, it doesn’t have the psychotropic effects or properties that characterize the plant. During the extraction process, THC is removed. THC is a chemical substance that causes the psychotropic nature of cannabis. Because the THC Level is low in CBD oil the “high” feeling is not experienced when CBD is taken.
The benefits of CBD for managing ADD/ADHD go beyond relieving the symptoms. CBD contains antioxidant, anti-inflammation and anti-anxiety properties.
Possible Side Effects of Using CBD to Treat ADD/ADHD
While CBD is generally considered safe, some people will experience some side effects. The side effects include nausea, diarrhea, drowsiness, change of appetite, and a dry mouth. The symptoms are rare, though, and not as severe as the ones caused by the conventional drugs used to treat ADD/ADHD.
CBD Dosage and How to Take CBD for ADD/ADHD
Different ADHD characteristics require different amounts of CBD oil.
American sources recommend that children with ADHD take between five and ten drops of 500mg CBD oil three times a day. This dosage can be gradually increased later and used until the symptoms subside. As a precaution, we do not recommend the use of CBD by children. Please keep your CBD products out of the reach of children.
We recommend following the step-up method described in the book CBD: A patient’s guide to Medical Cannabis” by Leinow & Birnbaum4. According to this book, ADD/ADHD patients should start with a microdose of CBD. To find out more about the microdose and how to correctly take your CBD, please read our article on CBD dosage.
Disclaimer: All information on this page is based on studies and experience reports. For legal reasons we at Hemppedia are not allowed to make any specific recommendation regarding the use of CBD products for children.
What Are Studies Saying About the Use of CBD to Treat ADD/ADHD?
In one study of the effectiveness of CBD for ADHD, patients who used CBD oil showed a reduction of hyperactivity, had better sleep patterns and enhanced concentration. The study, which was done in 2014 and involved 30 participants, was conducted by Dr. Eva Milz assisted by Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen. It was done in Germany. All the 30 patients had shown not to respond to drugs or conventional medication for ADD/ADHD. However, they responded positively to CBD5.
In yet another study in 2013, CBD oil was presented to self-medicating patients. After some time, the patients reported relief from the impulsiveness and hyperactivity characteristic of the attention deficit disorder they were suffering from. The researchers confirmed the benefits of using CBD to manage the condition, later prescribing it to their patients.
Other studies include a trial conducted in London’s Kings College which involved a random trial of the effects of CBD on ADD/ADHD on selected patients. The patients reported improved cognitive abilities, with reduced hyperactivity and higher focus and concentration.
- Häußermann, Klaus, and Ute Wagner. „Cannabidiol: the rising star among the cannabinoids?.“ Pharmakon 5.2 (2017): 123-128.
- Anand Gurrajan, David A Taylor and Daniel T Malone: „Cannabidiol and clozapine reverse MK-801-induced deficits in social interaction and hyperactivity in Sprague-Dawley rats“ In: „Journal of Psychopharmacology.“ Nr. 26(10), 2012, S. 1317-32. doi: 1177/0269881112441865
- Iffland, Kerstin, and Franjo Grotenhermen. „An update on safety and side effects of cannabidiol: a review of clinical data and relevant animal studies.“ Cannabis and cannabinoid research2.1 (2017): 139-154.
- Leinow,, L. and Birnbaum, J. (2017). CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis. North Atlantic Books.
- Milz, Eva, and Franjo Grotenhermen. „Successful therapy of treatment resistant adult ADHD with cannabis: experience from a medical practice with 30 patients.“ Abstract book of the Cannabinoid Conference. 2015.