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Exploring CBD for Adult ADHD: A Scientific Perspective

CBD for Adult ADHD

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ADHD is a difficult disorder to treat and manage. A multifaceted approach involving medication, therapy, and lifestyle adjustments is often necessary to keep things under control. The currently available pharmaceutical options are not everyone ‘cup of tea’ though, and the search for alternatives is constant.

CBD, as a complementary treatment option for ADHD, is one of the newer potential additions to the mix. In this article, we will explore CBD for ADHD from a scientific perspective, including its potential benefits and limitations.

Key takeaways

  • CBD does not have psychoactive effects, making it a suitable complementary treatment for ADHD without the ‘high.’
  • Preliminary studies show moderate improvements in ADHD symptoms with CBD use, but more research is needed.
  • CBD interacts with the brain and nervous system, potentially increasing levels of dopamine to boost focus and motivation.
  • A variety of CBD products are available, including vapes, oils, gummies, capsules, and topicals, catering to different preferences and needs.
  • Starting with a low dose of CBD and gradually increasing is recommended to find the most effective dosage for individual needs.

 CBD for Adult ADHD

Understanding ADHD

There has been a sharp increase in the number of adults receiving diagnosis for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the past 5 or so years, both here in the UK and globally. What was once thought of as an issue mostly affecting children, and in many cases ‘grown out’ off, is now recognised as a lifelong condition with significant impact on daily life.

Estimates suggest that between 2 to 5% of adults could potentially have ADHD in the UK. While the exact causes of ADHD are still being researched, it is believed that both genetic and environmental factors play a role.

It’s classed as a neurological disorder characterised by difficulty with attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. It can have a significant impact on daily life, making it difficult to focus, stay organised, and complete tasks.

With that said, we are not here to say that ADHD necessarily needs to be ‘cured’, or even controlled through medication or therapy options. The more we learn about ADHD, the more we understand that it can also be a source of creativity, hyperfocus and drive. Many people with ADHD see it as a ‘superpower’, and are happy to embrace it as part of who they are.

But, for those struggling with the negative effects of ADHD, finding effective treatment options is essential.

Why consider CBD as a potential treatment for ADHD?

There are a couple of key reasons why adults diagnosed with ADHD may want to look into adding CBD to their daily routine.

Not only can it help with anxiety, which is often a co-occurring condition with ADHD, but it also has the potential to improve focus and cognition.

Research has shown that CBD may have neuroprotective effects, meaning it can support optimal brain and nervous system functioning. CBD has been shown to increase levels of dopamine in the brain, which can help with motivation and attention.

The limitations of pharmaceutical options

Although medication like stimulants and antidepressants can be effective with controlling the ‘symptoms’ of ADHD, they can also take a toll on the body and come with unpleasant side effects.

It’s not uncommon for individuals to experience headaches, weight loss, trouble sleeping, and mood changes while taking ADHD medication. The long-term effects of these medications are also not fully understood, but the main option (Ritalin) is part of the amphetamine family, which understandably, many people want to steer well clear off.

CBD for Adult ADHD

What is CBD?

Simply put, CBD (Cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid derived from the hemp plant. Unlike its cousin THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not have psychoactive effects, meaning it won’t make you feel ‘high’ when taking or using CBD products.

How does CBD work?

CBD interacts with several neuro-receptors and offers a range of therapeutic benefits. CBD can:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Alleviate pain and discomfort
  • Promote relaxation and calmness
  • Increase focus and cognition

Are there specific studies linking CBD to improved ADHD symptoms?

There sure is, but this area of research is in the preliminary stages, and we expect to see clearer results in the coming years.

  • In one study, from 2020, the authors found that CBD could offer ‘moderate’ improvements in ADHD symptoms like sleep and emotional dysregulation.
  • Another 2020 paper concluded that CBD could help ADHD Sufferers reduce their reliance on pharmaceutical options, and have a positive impact on their overall well-being.
  • A 2017 published study, where participants were offered Sativex Oromucosal Spray (which contains even amounts of both THC and CBD) found a small but marked decrease in hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour. ‘

All three studies make the point that there is still not enough evidence to recommend that CBD can replace traditional ADHD treatments. Still, it can be a valuable complementary option for those struggling to find relief from medication and therapy alone.

CBD for Adult ADHD

How should people with ADHD use CBD?

The range of CBD options available to the UK public is huge. Settling on a product or method of use that is appropriate for your personal situation can be tricky.  Fortunately, the extensive array of options also means there are products suitable for everyone’s needs.

For people looking for a rapid option, CBD vapes or CBD oil might be the best route. CBD vapes are just what they sound like, small devices that vaporise CBD oil, allowing it to be inhaled.

CBD oils, on the other hand, are taken sublingually (under the tongue). The product comes with a dropper so that you can measure out precise doses and place the oil under your tongue.

CBD gummies or capsules are ideal for those who don’t want to taste the ‘earthy’ flavour many people associate with CBD oils. But they are processed through the digestive tract, meaning the effects will take between 30 and 90 minutes to be felt. These effects do last considerably longer, though.

CBD topicals are great for people looking for targeted relief from muscle soreness and tension, which isn’t often associated with ADHD, but some people do like to use them as part of their self-care routine.

How much CBD should you take?

It’s always best to start with a small dose (around 10 mg) and gradually increase until you reach the desired effects. Everybody responds differently to CBD, so finding the right amount for your body is important.

Are there any side effects to consider?

Yes, much like any other supplement, CBD can cause side effects, but they are generally mild. Some people may experience drowsiness, dry mouth, or changes in appetite and weight. Dropping the dosage down slightly is usually enough to alleviate these symptoms.

One thing to keep front of mind is that CBD can have negative interactions with certain medications, so it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before adding CBD to your daily routine if you are on a medication regime.

CBD for Adult ADHD

Final thoughts

While there is still much research needed in this area, many people with ADHD are finding relief and support through CBD products.

CBD is a natural, non-addictive option that offers a range of benefits. Although the science is still somewhat uncertain, a simple Google search will show pages upon pages of patient success stories.

So, if you’re struggling to manage your ADHD symptoms and are looking for alternative treatment options, it may be worth giving CBD a try. And if you already have, let us (and everyone else) know which product worked best by leaving a review.

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