How Effective is CBD Oil for ADHD?
Lack of concentration at work. Fidgeting in class. Trouble focusing or listening. The symptoms of ADHD can be incredibly frustrating for those who suffer from this disorder and the people closest to them. ADHD affects millions of children and adults around the world, and it can be difficult to find a treatment that makes a significant difference in the daily lives of individuals diagnosed with this condition.
There are many prescription medications on the market for ADHD, but more and more people are considering an alternative way to manage their symptoms: CBD. Though its use for this purpose is a relatively new option, this natural compound could offer promising results when used to diminish the symptoms of ADHD. Read on for an overview of what we know about CBD and ADHD.
What is ADHD?
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a condition that can affect both children and adults. ADHD often manifests first in childhood, and includes symptoms such as inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Patients diagnosed with ADHD often find it difficult to excel in school or succeed in the workplace, as they may have trouble concentrating and completing complex tasks. Doctors estimate that 4% to 5% of adults in the United States have ADHD, and navigating the web of potential treatments can be quite challenging for patients and their families.
How Can CBD Help with ADHD?
Research on CBD and ADHD is a relatively new and limited field, but we can understand the potential benefits of CBD for ADHD by looking more closely at how CBD interacts with the body overall.
When you ingest CBD, you trigger activity in the receptors of the endocannabinoid system. Some receptors within this system control physical conditions such as pain, inflammation and nausea, while others affect mood and memory. This second type of receptor has been studied to reveal the benefits of CBD for those who experience anxiety, stress, or depression. While formal studies have not been conducted on CBD and ADHD, the connections between CBD and positive mental health outcomes for other conditions suggest that beneficial results could emerge in future research.
Though studies on the relationship between ADHD and CBD are limited, one unique piece of research has shown promising results. A 2016 study considered anecdotal evidence from online forum users who relied on CBD to manage their ADHD symptoms. The study found that “25% of individual posts indicated that cannabis is therapeutic for ADHD.” The researchers concluded that while “there are no clinical recommendations or systematic research supporting the beneficial effects of cannabis use for ADHD, online discussions indicate that cannabis is considered therapeutic for ADHD—this is the first study to identify such a trend. This type of online information could shape ADHD patient and caregiver perceptions, and influence cannabis use and clinical care.”
CBD vs. Other ADHD Treatments
There are lots of options when it comes to treating ADHD, including a wide array of prescription medications. These options can be highly effective and offer significant improvements in quality of life for those with ADHD. Prescription ADHD medications fall into two general categories:
Stimulants are the most common type of treatment for ADHD, used by 70-80% of children who have the disorder. Stimulant medications work by helping to focus your thoughts and ignore distractions, but they may cause side effects including insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss, headaches, dry mouth, and mood changes.
These medications may be selected when stimulant medications don’t provide effective results. Non-stimulants work to improve concentration and impulse control, but can cause side effects including upset stomach and other digestive concerns, headache, dizziness, fatigue, and mood changes.
By contrast, CBD is relatively free of serious side effects; the most common ones include drowsiness and upset stomach. If you have ADHD and find that the side effects of prescription medication outweigh its benefits, then CBD could provide a promising alternative to reduce your symptoms.
CBD can also be used in combination with other natural treatments or medications to provide additional relief from the symptoms of ADHD. (Before taking CBD alongside additional medications, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor.)
What is the CBD Dosage for ADHD?
When trying out CBD as a treatment for ADHD, you have an abundance of options. You can ingest CBD orally in the form of pills, gummies, or oils; you can also vape CBD or even apply it as a topical cream. Vaping delivers CBD to your bloodstream more quickly, while ingesting provides longer-term results. Whatever form you prefer, it’s also essential to find the right dosage for your needs.
If you’re using CBD for the first time, it’s best to start with the lowest possible dose and increase it slowly until you experience the desired effects. For adults beginning a daily CBD treatment for ADHD, many experts recommend starting with 20-25mg. Keep in mind that formal guidelines for CBD dosage haven’t been established, and you may need to experiment to find the dose that’s right for you.
You might also wonder about the appropriate CBD dosage for ADHD in a child. Research on CBD for kids with ADHD is limited, so you should always consult with your pediatrician before beginning any treatment. In general, it’s best to start with as low a dose as possible, and increase the dose very slowly if needed; some experts recommend beginning with 0.5mg of CBD per pound of body weight. (This study of cannabinoids in pediatrics may be helpful for parents who want to weigh the risks and rewards of CBD oils for kids with ADHD.)
What Else Should I Know About CBD Oil and ADHD?
If you’re considering CBD as an ADHD treatment for yourself or your child, start by talking to your doctor. An experienced physician can help you determine the right dosage, answer common questions, alert you to any possible interactions with medications you take, and monitor your health once you begin to use CBD regularly.
Those who are new to CBD often ask, “Will CBD get me high?” If you select products made from CBD only, the answer is no. Products made exclusively with CBD don’t have any psychoactive effects, so they’re safe to incorporate into your daily routine. If this is a concern, be sure to avoid products that also contain THC, particularly for use in children. (Learn more here about the differences between CBD and THC).
Due to FDA Regulations, we recommend that you do your own research on CBD products. We also suggest that you read the reviews on our website, where our customers record their real-world results of using our products.