Will CBD oil help with ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (or ADHD) affects a huge part of both the adult and child population in the US and worldwide. Many drugs have been developed to help people with ADHD – some mild, some more powerful – but most with side effects and addictive properties, such as Dextroamphetamine. But could CBD oil provide a viable alternative for the current medications available?
Having done some research, I definitely think so. Evidence suggests that even small doses of CBD can help increase the focus of people with ADHD, as well as improving sleep and reducing anxiety. There have been many animal studies and some human experiments that have proved this. When administrated with caution, CBD oil is safe, has no side effects and helps with a variety of health issues.
Even though research on cannabidiol is still in its infancy, there is a lot of evidence to back it as a treatment for ADHD. But first, here’s a little background on CBD as a medicine.
Some background on CBD oil
CBD, or cannabidiol, is extracted from the cannabis plant and is mostly used as an oil. The CBD oil is rich in chemicals that bind to specialized receptors in the brain, which notably helps to relieve pain.
This oil is edible and can even be used for cooking or added to food. Most people use it as medication – by consuming a few drops – in order to help them with a variety of problems including chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia and more (such as ADHD).
While CBD itself doesn’t get you high, be mindful that some CBD brands (especially the less good ones) may have products with small traces of Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) – the compound commonly associated with feeling high. Be careful when using these cheap, dodgy CBD brands as you may still test positive for THC in a drug test.
What is ADHD and what causes it?
ADHD is a chronic condition affecting the level of hyperactivity and a person’s impulse control. It influences parts of our brain that manage what is known as “executive functioning” – such as problem-solving, planning, emotions and controlling impulses.
ADHD is usually considered to be genetic, but there are some other factors that could cause it, like environmental and situational factors. There are some studies that link the consumption of cigarettes and alcohol while the mother is pregnant to the development of ADHD in a child.
Most adults and children that suffer from ADHD also have sleep disorders, such as insomnia (difficulty falling asleep). It’s quite common for people with ADHD to get an unexpected burst of energy just as they get into bed. It’s also quite common for ADHD sufferers to have a restless sleep. Easily woken up by noise, tormented by lots of tossing and turning – the lack of quality sleep often leads to troubles waking up and drowsiness during the day.
What are the symptoms of ADHD?
Some symptoms that come with ADHD are:
- Impulsive behavior
- A short attention-span
- Low self-control
- Difficulty waiting
- Difficulty organizing tasks
- Extreme restlessness
It is estimated that around 10 million adults have ADHD in the USA. While ADHD is more commonly found in male children, the gender ratio of adult sufferers is almost equal. It can often be difficult for those diagnosed with ADHD to hold a job, be mindful of their interpersonal relationships and have a good quality of life overall.
Can CBD oil be used to treat ADHD?
With a lack of large-scale scientific research into cannabis, it is still unclear is CBD oil will 100% help treat symptoms of ADHD. There are however some known benefits of CBD for mental health conditions. CBD is known to affect serotonin, dopamine and other hormones in the human body, which should help with some symptoms that ADHD causes, like cognitive functions, sleep patterns and irritability.
ADHD is characterized by low levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls cognitive abilities like memory, attention levels, and even mood. Cannabinoids have been proven to improve the transmission of chemical neurotransmitters in the brain – especially dopamine – to help with their cognitive processes.
CBD oil can help improve the focus of people suffering from ADHD by making the adenosine receptors in the brain more active. This also can reduce feelings of anxiety. There are studies that show how CBD can work to minimize distractions and hyperactivity that ADHD patients display, as well as how it can relieve pain, depression, and other neurological issues.
How does CBD oil help ADHD?
When CBD oil is consumed, its compounds engage with two receptors that have a direct effect on specific parts of your body. These receptors are called CB1 and CB2
CB1 is a lot more present in the brain and is linked to epilepsy. Meanwhile CB2 is more abundant in your immune system and is connected to pain and inflammation. CBD triggers your body to use more of the cannabinoids that it naturally produces, so your body doesn’t actually use any of the oil’s compounds.
The use of CBD oil by ADHD patients has been reported to block the activity of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). This helps the body to increase its dopamine levels and prevent a burn-out naturally. In a recent survey, over a quarter of ADHD patients using CBD oil reported feeling relief from it.
CBD oil dosage for ADHD
Every person is unique, and so every reaction to CBD is also different. However, the perfect dosage can differ from person to person, we know that, on average, about 25mg of CBD used daily is effective for most people.
Two of my favorite ways to take CBD oil is by vaping or oral ingestion.
For beginners, oral ingestion is probably the easiest. Simply put a few drops of oil under your tongue (or even if your food!) or take CBD oil capsules.
Vaping is particularly good for patients wanting an immediate relief from their symptoms. The inhalation process delivers CBD compounds to the bloodstream much faster than with other methods.
Does CBD oil have side effects?
The CBD oil is widely considered to be safe, and generally had minimal side effects. More common side effects, however, include nausea, drowsiness, change of appetite or a dry mouth. Even in the worst-case scenario, these side effects aren’t nearly as severe as ones caused by conventional medicine used to treat ADHD.
Now it’s your turn
Do you suffer from ADHD? Or someone you know? Have you or they ever tried CBD oil as a treatment? Please join the conversation and write about your experiences in the comments below. Help me in my mission to educate the world about cannabis and CBD oil.
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