How Does Medical Marijuana Help With and Treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)?

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common forms of mental disorders in Children. This condition is more common in boys than in girls and often discovered in the early years of school. Generally, children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder are likely to be hyperactive with the inability to control their impulses. Also, some children with ADD or ADHD may face difficulties in paying attention and this could go a long way to interfere with their behaviors both in school and at home. Even though ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in children, adults are sometimes affected.

Adults with ADHD typically find difficulty managing time, setting goals or even keeping a job. Similarly, they may also suffer from low self-esteem, relationship issues as well as addictions. Some of the most common symptoms of ADD/ADHD include the inability to pay attention, daydreaming, forgetfulness, easily distracted, talking excessively, constantly fidgeting, the inability to stay seated, impulsiveness as well as difficulties controlling anger.

Most often, prescribed stimulant drugs like Ritalin and Adderall are used in treating Attention Deficit Disorder. However, such medications have been reported to have severe adverse side effects, even though they are believed to help correct the levels of a neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine. Thus, to avoid adverse side effects, scientists have resolved to explore medical marijuana as an alternative treatment to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

According to a 2016 study that was published in PLOS ONE, medical marijuana could be an alternative treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder. The study, which was conducted through a qualitative analysis of 55 separate forum threads revealed that an estimated 25 percent of the posters admitted to have experienced the therapeutic benefits with the use of cannabis in treating the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. The posters also claimed that they did not experience the adverse side effects that are typically associated with stimulant prescriptions like Ritalin. There are also shreds of evidences that the reports of these self-findings may be true.

This assertion can be explained by the fact that there seems to be a cross-talk between the dopaminergic and endocannabinoid systems; notably the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol. According to a 2000 study that was published through Chemistry and Physics of Lipids (CPL), researchers had found out that cannabinoids excite dopaminergic neurons, thereby increasing the release of dopamine.

It should be noted that cannabis raises the levels of dopamine in the brain, but in ways different from other drugs. Cannabinoids actually increase the levels of dopamine indirectly by blocking gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) actions. GABA in turn results in neuronal excitability in the nervous system, thereby inhibiting the release of dopamine. When the release of GABA is blocked by cannabinoids, it causes more dopamine to be released. Therefore, it can be argued that cannabis instead allow normal dopamine release by blocking GABA, unlike the other stimulants that excite the dopaminergic system, thereby directly increasing the risk of dopamine burn-out over a prolonged period of use.

It is apparent that it is the interaction between the endocannabinoid and dopaminergic systems that provides a relief in the symptoms of ADD/ADHD that many patients claim to have experienced when using cannabis to self-medicate.

Another scientific study that was carried out in 2016 correlates the claims that medical marijuana is a promising treatment for ADHD. According to the study, Sativex, which is a cannabinoid medication with a 1:1 THC/CBD ratio has been proven to be consistently effective in improving behavioral patterns and cognition in patients suffering from ADHD.

A 2008 German study also revealed that medical cannabis regulates activity levels that goes a long way to have positive impacts on the behaviors, performances as well as mental states of individuals.

Nevertheless, the use of medical cannabis to treat the symptoms of ADHD can be in two folds. To some individuals, medical cannabis are simply used as a complimentary therapy that helps in alleviating the side effects that are associated to prescription stimulant drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall. The reason is that cannabinoids have been repeatedly proven to be effective in treating both insomnia and nausea, without the side effects that are generally associated with over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Meanwhile, on the other hand, other patients prefer using medical cannabinoids as the primary alternative treatment for the symptoms of ADHD, including hyperactivity, anxiety, behavioral problems as well as depression.

Most of the studies that have been conducted on the extent to which medical marijuana can treat ADD are still at the infancy stage and this explains why many more studies are underway. That said, some of the best strains of medical marijuana that are suitable for treating ADD include Sour Diesel, Green Crack, Blue Dream, True OG, and Gorilla Glue.

Sources:

Wed MD
Medium Corp
PLOS One

Marijuana strains reported to help with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD):

How To Get Medical Marijuana

If you are a resident of a legal state interested in trying medical marijuana to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) or other medical conditions, you will first need to consult with a certified doctor in order to get a medical marijuana card. To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.

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