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Can Medicinal Marijuana help ADHD?

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ADHD has become relatively well known and understood condition affecting both young and old. As we know, there has been a lot of attention placed on cannabis as a possible way to lessen the symptoms of ADHD. Although, it is important to note that substance misuse often comes hand in hand with ADHD, with alcohol and marijuana being the most common. So is it wise to encourage ADHD sufferers to use marijuana, when it is being misused by many?

ADHD patients are normally treated with tablets such as Ritalin and Adderall, depending on the individual. An outsider looking in may therefore reason that an ADHD sufferer may be attracted to use other stimulants. But no, for some reason, alcohol and cannabis still seem to be a bigger draw to sufferers. It is thought that many ADHD sufferers use marijuana to sharpen their focus, and many are reporting success by doing this.

Studies conducted in the last two years have tried to establish a link between medicinal marijuana and ADHD. A study conducted by a research team based in Albany identified that ADHD sufferers who regularly used marijuana were more likely to have certain symptoms of ADHD, such as hyperactivity, and not have inattentive symptoms. So, there must be some reason to explain this? Does marijuana aid in helping hyperactivity symptoms that ADHD produces?2

A second study conducted examined and found that inattentiveness, aswell as hyperactivity in childhood, meant that there was a greater chance of the sufferer using marijuana as an adult.

Because of the lack of evidence producing concrete findings, it is difficult to draw a direct link between ADHD and marijuana. Since each patient has different symptoms with regards to the ADHD they suffer from, it is difficult to draw wide sweeping conclusions. From speaking to sufferers, many sufferers of ADHD say that the chances of marijuana improving their focus at work for example is one of the main draws for using the substance.

If an ADHD sufferer uses marijuana for a particular symptom, it is important to note that there will be a risk attached. Yes, it is not addictive like heroin and cocaine for example. The NIDA confidently predict that around 10% of marijuana users will develop dependence on marijuana, especially when it is being used to prevent the sufferer from experiencing a symptom. Marijuana may have a negative impact on various bodily functions such as memory (especially when it comes to short term memory), perception, aswell as judgement. These potential negative impacts will be worrying to someone who drives for example. Ultimately, it is up to the ADHD sufferer whether they think the potential benefits of using medicinal marijuana will outweigh the negatives. What we do know is that more research needs to be completed in order to establish a concrete link between ADHD and cannabis. Until this is done, we won’t see much movement in the use of cannabis for treating ADHD and its symptoms.

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