Step aside, powerful amphetamines like Adderall, and other pharmaceutical Central Nervous System stimulants like Ritalin– according to the current research into the effects of medical marijuana on treatment resistant ADD and ADHD, medical marijuana promises to be a more gentle solution to a persistent problem.
Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) are both chronic mental conditions with symptoms that vary and range from hyper activity, to impulsive behavior, to an inability to focus on one task or sensory input for the amount of time that an average, healthy person can.
These mental deficits affect children most commonly, but can certainly persist into adulthood as well, afflicting over three million people in total every year.
As they are chronic conditions, ADD and ADHD are not curable, although they are treatable and sometimes treatment can help provide relief from the symptoms of ADD and ADHD so that patients who suffer from one or the other can live a normal life and not suffer negative impacts at work or at school
Unfortunately for many people, the typical pharmaceutical ADHD drugs, powerful stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin, haven’t been effective at treating ADD/ADHD or come with unwanted side effects.
So what’s the next best treatment?
Medical marijuana is a promising treatment for treatment-resistant ADD or ADHD according to the scientific research that’s been done.
For example, one 2013 study published by the Journal of Substance Use & Misuse discovered that many people are self-medicating with medical marijuana, helping themselves to cope with and manage two of the major problems faced by sufferers of ADD/ADHD: hyperactivity and impulsivity.
The scientific survey was conducted with nearly 280 respondents and the salient finding of the study was that a significantly high number of medical marijuana consumers reported experiencing worse ADD/ADHD symptoms when they stopped self-medicating with the plant or its byproducts.
This discovery opened the door for researchers to begin studying the possible link between the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and ADD/ADHD more closely.
Because of the results of the Journal of Substance Use & Misuse study, medical researchers in Germany decided to more rigorously examine the relationship between cannabis consumption and ADD symptoms in 30 patients. In this 2015 study, the German researchers selected treatment-resistant patients from 2012 to 2014.
In all 30 patients, medical marijuana use resulted in reported improvements in a number of ADD/ADHD symptoms, including the ability to concentrate and impulsivity.
Although the sample size was small, the researchers confidently concluded that medical marijuana is “an effective and well-tolerated” method of treatment— especially for ADD/ADHD patients for whom traditional pharmaceuticals aren’t effective or are not ideal.