Pros and cons of cbd oil for adhd

CBD Oil for ADHD – June 2022

Although more medical research is needed to understand how CBD treatment could help with ADHD, anecdotal evidence has been influential in prompting people with ADHD to turn to hemp products to help their symptoms.

ADHD medications and treatment options typically used to manage symptoms include stimulants, non-stimulants, or anti-depressants.

However, these pharmaceuticals may be accompanied by adverse side effects, including sleeplessness, lack of appetite, and an increased risk of heart, psychiatric, or medication abuse problems.

At least 70 % of children diagnosed with ADHD are being treated with stimulants for their symptoms. However, many popular ADHD medications, like stimulants, have been in short supply, particularly the less-expensive generics.

Other drugs, such as Shire’s Adderall XR and its two authorized generics are in good supply, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Still, the drug shortages have affected the two main classes of ADHD drugs, methylphenidates and amphetamines, and left many of those with ADHD without medication.

This situation has caused parents to search for alternative methods for treating symptoms of ADHD, and CBD has emerged as one of these alternative products.

While stimulants work well for many people, if another treatment worked as well and induced no side effects, it may be helpful as an add-on.

Much of what experts know about CBD as an ADHD treatment comes from research on cannabis and not CBD as an isolated compound.

Researchers concluded in a report that there is substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.

Forest Tennant, MD, of Intractable Pain Management, in a report based on his research, suggests that there is a correlation between ADHD and chronic pain.

In a 2013 review conducted by the University at Albany Psychology Department, researchers found that those who used cannabis to manage ADHD symptoms reported symptoms of hyperactivity when not using the substance.

A 2016 study explored the relationship between ADHD, depression, and marijuana use. While the researchers established that some of the participants in the study used marijuana to manage depressive symptoms, its effect on these symptoms was unclear.

There have been no studies specifically investigating the effects of CBD on ADHD. Evidence of CBD’s effectiveness in treating symptoms of ADHD is mostly anecdotal, with people claiming that they feel more focused and less distracted with its use.

Meanwhile, some medical professionals believe in the therapeutic effects of CBD on ADHD.

Dr. David Berger, a pediatrician in Tampa, Florida, frequently suggests CBD to his young patients suffering from symptoms of ADHD. An advocate for the Autism Research Institute, he launched the Wholistic ReLeaf to help qualified patients use medical cannabis as a treatment option.

Berger has seen patients whose ADHD symptoms have improved after using CBD. He said that, although the results are partially a placebo effect, CBD is a much safer treatment than traditional pharmaceutical stimulants.

CBD treatment is also an attractive alternative because patients can stop using it any time without any complications, according to Berger.

He said that stimulant medications and CBD have similar pharmacodynamic properties. Research is still needed to show this.

Joy Neely, who runs a CBD brand in Kansas, also believes in CBD’s potential benefit for ADHD.

Neely found out about CBD while looking for another way for her nephew, who had been smoking marijuana, to treat his ADHD. She also uses CBD to treat her ADHD.

She says that CBD slows things down in hyperactive individuals so that they can focus better. Meanwhile, many of her customers use CBD to replace pharmaceuticals like Ritalin, saying that CBD helps them get off prescription drugs for ADHD.

However, all of these reports are without scientific evidence, and Neely recognizes the challenges caused by the lack of scientific research on CBD. Thus, she and her group continue to work to gain scientific backup for this claim.

To learn more about CBD and, at the same time, help her consumers understand it, she helps them monitor their progress and figure out the doses that work best for them.

Although clinical research surrounding the use of CBD oil to manage ADHD symptoms is far from comprehensive, results from small-scale studies and anecdotal use of CBD point to the fact that mainstream medicine should be investigating CBD for ADHD further.

How CBD Oil Works to Help with ADHD

ADHD does not lead to other psychological or developmental problems. However, according to Mayo Clinic, those with ADHD are more likely than others to also have medical conditions such as anxiety disorders and mood disorders like depression.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a nonpsychoactive constituent in the cannabis plant. It reacts to the endocannabinoid system that exists in the human body to help it utilize its naturally-occurring endocannabinoids more efficiently.

CBD oil engages with two receptors in the body. These cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2), have a direct effect on specific parts of the body.

CB1 is most abundant in the brain and is directly related to epilepsy, while CB2, which is more abundant in the immune system, is connected to pain and inflammation.

Brain receptors are not only responsive to neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine but also chemical messengers outside the body, such as phytocannabinoids (plant cannabinoids) like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or CBD.

According to a study , individuals with ADHD often have lower than healthy levels of dopamine.

In a study , CBD has been shown to regulate the “reward” pathway of the dopamine system, which may enhance cognitive processes such as learning, attention, memory, and mood.

Research demonstrates that CBD possesses anxiety-reducing characteristics and may help those living with ADHD.

It has been hypothesized that CBD activates serotonin receptors in the body and causes the brain to release dopamine. This action is similar to the function of many medications for conditions like anxiety, depression, and ADHD.

Researchers studied the effects of CBD on animal models that were selected for their deficiency in the AMPAR , rendering them a suitable model for hyperactivity disorders such as ADHD.

AMPARs (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors) are abundant and widely distributed in the central nervous system, where they facilitate fast communication between neurons or nerve cells.

The researchers of the study found that when CBD is introduced into the hippocampus, the region of the brain in charge of spatial learning and adaptation, CBD reduced manifestations of hyperactivity. This finding suggests that CBD may inhibit hyperactive networks in the hippocampus and other parts of the brain.

Behaviors linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can look a lot like ADHD. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , fourteen in 100 children with ADHD also have ASD.

Researchers of a study on children with ASD reported the experiences of parents who gave oral CBD oil to their children with ASD and assessed symptoms including self-injury, rage, and hyperactivity.

Self-injury and rage improved in about 36 of the 53 children (ages 4 to 22) who received CBD for about 8 weeks. Symptoms of hyperactivity reduced in more than half of the participants, while anxiety levels lowered in almost half of them.

However, the other participants either did not experience any changes or had negative experiences. Adverse effects were sleeplessness and change in appetite, although they were mild.

In another review , the authors discussed CBD as a treatment for conditions associated with ASD, such as anxiety and behavioral problems. They noted that CBD could help normalize social deficits, improve cognition, and guard against hippocampal cell death.

The authors also emphasized that CBD reduced anxiety levels in both animal and human models when administered at moderate doses of 300 milligrams.

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for ADHD

  • In a review , CBD has been shown to be well-tolerated at doses of up to 1,500 mg per day.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) says that “CBD is generally well-tolerated, with a good safety profile.”
  • Unlike other ADHD medications like stimulants and nonstimulants, which require a prescription, CBD oil may be purchased without a prescription in locations where they are legally available.
  • Due to several factors, it can take at least 20 minutes to two hours before the effects of CBD can be felt.
  • The side effects of CBD for ADHD symptoms may include drowsiness, upset stomach, or changes in weight or appetite.
  • In one study , CBD-rich cannabis extract was demonstrated to increase the risk of liver toxicity in mice that received high CBD doses.
  • CBD may interact with other supplements, prescription medications, or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.

The CYP450 family of enzymes is responsible for metabolizing several cannabinoids. However, during this process, CBD also impacts how the CYP3A4 enzymes metabolize some medications, as one study shows.

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If the drugs are metabolized too fast, there may not be enough of the medication in the system at one time to treat specific health issues or improve health conditions.

  • CBD has not been studied specifically to treat ADHD. Thus, it is best to talk to a doctor before starting a CBD regimen.
  • Due to findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding vaping or other inhalation methods of CBD and related products, inhalation may not be the safest method to use.

How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for ADHD

Proponents for CBD oil claim that its effects on the body are gentler and possibly effective for ADHD because it is a natural product, made from a plant.

However, the CBD that is synthesized from a hemp plant must go through multiple mechanical and chemical processes to become usable and has little resemblance to the plant from which it started.

The purer the CBD product, the less natural it is. The end product does not exist in a natural form as one cannot chew on a cannabis leaf and receive any benefits from cannabidiol oil.

John Mitchell, Ph.D., researcher and assistant professor at the Duke ADHD Program, reminds CBD oil or cannabis products enthusiasts that there have been no studies showing the effectiveness or safety of CBD products in ADHD management.

On the other hand, Mitchell added, there are well-researched and beneficial non-medication treatment options, like lifestyle adjustments and parent training, that are shown to be effective in managing ADHD symptoms.

Also, CBD products are currently unregulated products, making it challenging for consumers to know whether or not they are actually getting what was being advertised.

Thus, unlike with other prescription pharmaceuticals, it is difficult to determine accurately the CBD dose that comes in every CBD product available in the market.

CBD may have the potential to treat other ailments and disorders, but CBD oil is getting misrepresented, Mitchell said. When people say CBD works for ADHD, this is going way beyond the data.

How to Choose the Right CBD for ADHD

Oral ingestion of CBD is less likely to induce side effects. This method allows CBD oil to be used sublingually, or by taking it in the form of capsules, gummies, or CBD-infused foods and beverages.

However, regardless of the form of CBD product one chooses, careful consideration must be exercised in choosing the best CBD oil for ADHD.

  1. Research on the exact legal stipulations applicable to CBD in the area where it would be purchased and used.
  2. Purchase only from legitimate and reliable big brands. Majority of companies that manufacture the best CBD oil products purchase their hemp from farms that are located in California, Texas, Europe, and Colorado.
  3. When buying from an online store, research product reviews. When buying from a physical store or dispensary, check whether the store is authorized by the government to sell CBD.
  4. One important thing to look for in CBD products is certification codes. Several certification authorities approve certain products only after some thorough screening tests.
  5. Compare company claims about their products’ potency with that of the third-party lab reports.
  6. Consulting with a trusted medical professional who is experienced in CBD use is ideal before one purchases his or her first bottle of CBD.

CBD Dosage For ADHD

Although more research is needed, one study recommends that a single 300-mg dose of CBD may be enough to reduce anxiety, a condition that is often seen in people with ADHD. Without more research, there can’t be a recommended dose for ADHD.

Experts advise that if one is new to CBD, starting with the smallest dosage possible is the best course of action. Gradually increasing the dosage allows the body to get used to the oil and reduce the risk of side effects.

How to Take CBD Oil for ADHD

CBD oil for ADHD is typically taken via vaping or consuming through oral ingestion.

Oral ingestion of CBD is considered less likely to cause side effects. The user can put a few drops of the oil under the tongue, take CBD capsules, or consume CBD-infused edibles like gummies, brownies, and CBD-infused beverages like juices, coffee, and weight loss teas.

Meanwhile, inhaling CBD, through smoking or vaping, delivers the compound to the bloodstream more rapidly than other techniques.

However, medical experts are growing increasingly concerned about vaping and whether it is safe.

To date, there are no formal guidelines on how to use CBD oil to treat traditional ADHD symptoms, such as irritability, hyperactivity, and fidgeting.

Understanding CBD

Derived from the plant Cannabis sativa, medical marijuana is one of the longest-established and commonly-used drugs in the world. Of the more than 60 cannabinoids in marijuana, only THC has intoxicating effects.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that marijuana is the most commonly used psychotropic drug in the United States, after alcohol. Marijuana has both short-and long-term effects on the brain, and its use may have a wide range of effects on both physical and mental health.

Marijuana use disorders are often associated with dependence. However, results from a study on medical marijuana users engaged in substance abuse treatment indicate that medical marijuana may not adversely affect positive treatment outcomes.

CBD oil may be derived from either a hemp plant or marijuana plant, although most CBD oil products in the market are hemp-derived. CBD is nonpsychoactive, making it favorable to those who want to experience its health benefits without the ‘high’ induced by THC.

Hemp, which is legally defined as a cannabis plant that has less than 0.3 percent THC, is often referred to as a low THC variety.


The National Institute of Mental Health describes attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a condition characterized by “an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.”

It is typical for people to exhibit some form of inattention, impulsivity, and unfocused motor activity, but for those with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe.

While there is no cure for ADHD, available treatments can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning.

CBD use is becoming increasingly popular as more and more people try it for its health benefits. However, clinical research surrounding the use of CBD to manage ADHD symptoms is far from comprehensive.

Still, results from limited studies and anecdotal use of CBD look promising that mainstream medicine should be investigating CBD for ADHD further.

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Can Cannabis or CBD Improve ADHD Treatment Gaps?

A review of the pharmacological evidence base for cannabidiol and cannabis in the management of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms.

While ADHD affects many children and adolescents, 15% of them still meet full DSM-5 diagnostic criteria in adulthood. 1 Untreated or under-treated ADHD can result in impaired quality of life, relationships, the ability to achieve or maintain employment, and driving safety. The disorder also puts individuals at increased risk of depression, anxiety, accidental death, and suicide. 2,3

These concerns have led many patients and caregivers to seek out other means of symptom control, including cannabidiol (CBD) and/or cannabis. Here’s what recommending clinicians need to know.

Is CBD or Cannabis a Wise Choice for ADHD Treatment?

Current Medication Gaps

Since the 1930s, stimulants have remained the first-line pharmacotherapy for managing ADHD symptoms in both children and adults. Poor adherence to treatment, however, is an ongoing issue, often due to tolerance, stigma, and patient-specific barriers. 1 Adverse effects (AE) of stimulants include insomnia, reduced appetite, nervousness, increased blood pressure, dry mouth, difficulty urinating, nausea, drowsiness, erectile dysfunction, and headache. 2,3 Long-term stimulant use is associated with growth suppression, misuse/abuse potential, and sudden cardiac death. Alternative or new agents with increased tolerability, improved patient satisfaction, and long-term efficacy are desirable. 1 CBD is one such proposed option.

CBD’s Therapeutic Properties & Risks

Preclinical studies have proposed that CBD possesses numerous potential therapeutic properties: anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, analgesic, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, and more. Yet, research remains inadequate regarding the use of CBD to treat a range of psychiatric and neurologic conditions, ADHD included.

Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data illustrate the complexity of studying CBD given its variability in form and concentration – not to mention its lack of federal regulation which impacts quality and safety of the product across the country. For instance, the bioavailability of oral CBD is between 11% and 13%, while inhalational CBD has a 31% mean bioavailability. The half-life of oromucosal CBD ranges 1.4 to 10.9 hours but may last up to 5 days following chronic oral administration. 4

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In March 2020, an official FDA statement highlighted the intricacy of researching, regulating, and marketing CBD products. 5

Potential harms associated with CBD include hepatotoxicity, damaged male fertility (per animal studies), altered cognition and mood, and gastrointestinal distress. 5 Pediatric CBD trials most commonly report diarrhea, somnolence, and decreased appetite as adverse effects, although this data is poorly quantified. 6

Caution should be taken with concurrent administration of CBD and medications that affect (or are affected by) CYP3A4, 2C19, and 2C9 enzymes. 4 However, in vivo evidence to corroborate these metabolic drug-drug interactions is minimal. 7 When considering CBD as an adjunctive ADHD therapy, clinicians should consider the potential drug-drug interaction with amphetamine, as in vitro data suggests one or more amphetamine metabolites act as mild CYP3A4 inhibitors. 8


P450 Enzyme Example Medications Effects
CYP3A4 substrate Benzodiazepines, z-hypnotics, opioids, certain antidepressants, antipsychotics Increased risk of substrate-mediated AEs
CYP3A4 inhibitor Protease inhibitors, ketoconazole, loperamide Increased risk of CBD-mediated AEs
CYP3A4 inducer Phenytoin, phenobarbital, carbamazepine, topiramate Decrease in therapeutic effects of CBD
CYP2C19 substrate Certain antidepressants, warfarin, antiepileptics, propranolol Increased risk of substrate-mediated AEs
CYP2C19 inhibitor Fluvoxamine, fluoxetine Increased risk of CBD-mediated AEs
CYP2C19 inducer Carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, St. John’s wort Decrease in therapeutic effects of CBD
CYP2C9 substrate Buprenorphine, montelukast, naproxen, phenobarbital, phenytoin, warfarin Increased risk of substrate-mediated AEs

Cannabis’s Therapeutic Properties & Risks

Federally recognized as a Schedule I drug, cannabis is defined as any product containing greater than 0.3% THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) according to the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act. Oral or buccal spray cannabis is used as an analgesic and a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis symptoms. Despite a lack of high-quality safety and efficacy data, medicinal cannabis is smoked for nausea, glaucoma, appetite stimulation, epilepsy, anxiety, Crohn’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and many other indications. 9

Like CBD, the pharmacokinetics of cannabis are complicated by the variety of available forms. Vaporized THC is absorbed more rapidly than smoked. Absorption from any inhalational route ranges from 2% to 56% and peak plasma levels are achieved just 10 to 30 minutes after use. However, orally, peak plasma levels occur 1 to 6 hours after ingestion. 9

The most common AEs of inhalational cannabis include headache, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, xerostomia, nausea, paranoia, and dissociation. Cannabis intoxication may result in impaired motor coordination and reaction time, blurry vision, panic, hallucinations, and emotional disturbances. Long-term cannabis use is associated with cognitive impairment, decreased memory, and increased risk of developing psychosis, seizures, cardiac arrhythmias, or myocardial infarction. 9

The same CYP interactions presented above for CBD are also present for THC. Again, evidence for these interactions is limited (either anecdotal, theoretical based on pharmacology, or based solely on animal/in vitro studies). 9

Evidence for CBD as an ADHD Treatment

Across all ages, a lack of evidence exists for assessing CBD or cannabis as a treatment for ADHD symptoms. However, a few CBD trials have offered ADHD-related secondary outcomes or studied cannabis use in relation to ADHD. While causal relationships can therefore not be drawn between CBD or cannabis and behavioral, social, educational, or psychological changes seen (or not seen) in patients with ADHD patients, the following studies may be used for hypothesis-generating purposes.

Recreational Use: A late 1990s retrospective survey study investigated the influence of recreational inhalational cannabis on patients living with Tourette’s Syndrome (TS). Sixty-four patients were interviewed, seventeen (27%) self-reported past marijuana use. Most participants were male (n = 15) and smoked occasionally (n = 15), with a mean age of 30.5 years. Ten patients had comorbid ADHD, only one of whom reported a marked reduction in attention difficulties. This patient smoked three to four marijuana cigarettes/day on a regular basis. No patients reported worsening symptoms in response to smoking. Due to the use of DSM-III criteria, the waxing and waning disease course of TS, the lack of statistical data analyses, a very small sample size, and recruitment from a single European mood disorder clinic, generalizability is extremely limited. 10

Medical cannabis and stimulants: In another study, adult Israeli patients with ADHD and an active medical cannabis (MC) license were surveyed regarding MC use, cannabis-related adverse effects, and comorbid psychiatric conditions. Multiple validated questionnaires, including the five-point ADHD self-report scale (ASRS), were used. Fifty-three patients completed the surveys and provided their MC monthly dose. Most smoked or vaped MC, and there was a wide duration of use. Sixteen (30%) participants used prescription stimulants as ADHD treatment. The high MC use subgroup self-reported greater incidence of ADHD pharmacotherapy discontinuation compared to those with low use (OR 5.8, 95% CI 1 to 60). When dividing the study sample into low ASRS score (score < 3.17, n = 30) and high (score >3.18, n = 29), independent of high versus low use, the low score subgroup discontinued all ADHD medication at a greater rate (OR 0.22, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.84). 3

MC-related adverse effects were reported by 15 participants and did not differ between high and low use subgroups. Adverse effects were documented by affected system: CNS (n = 7), gastrointestinal (n = 7), psychological (n = 6), cardiovascular (n = 3), ophthalmic (n = 3), musculoskeletal (n = 2), and auditory (n = 2). However, a list of specific AEs would have been most useful. Investigators concluded that an ADHD medication-sparing effect was associated with MC use in the study population. 3

Oromucosal THC:CBD spray: Sativex oromucosal spray contains a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD and was the focus of a double-blind, placebo-controlled RCT conducted at King’s College in London. 9 Sativex is not FDA-approved for any indication, despite gaining approval in many countries in 2011 – 2012 as an adjunctive therapy for multiple sclerosis-associated neuropathic pain/spasticity and moderate to severe advanced cancer pain. 7 The primary outcome was mean Quantitative Behavior Test (QbTest) score, a validated tool for analyzing cognitive performance in ADHD. Eligible adult participants attended baseline and 6-week follow-up evaluations. Patients stopped their prescribed stimulants one week prior to, and for the duration of, the study period. Participants using a non-stimulant ADHD medication were excluded. Also excluded where individuals with: a current or past diagnosis of manic depressive disorder, panic or anxiety disorders, bipolar I disorder, any psychotic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), TS, intellectual disability, known/suspected alcohol or substance use disorder, or a history of cardiovascular disease, renal disease, or hepatic dysfunction. 11

The randomized patients (n = 30) were instructed to “spread doses throughout the day as best suited them.” On average, patients in the treatment group used 4.7 sprays/day (range 1–13). There was no statistically significant difference between the Sativex and placebo groups in QbTest performance. One patient per arm suffered a serious adverse effect (muscle spasm/seizure in Sativex arm, tachycardia/chest tightness in control arm). Three Sativex-treated participants suffered mild adverse effects: lightheadedness (n = 2) and diarrhea (n = 1, resulting in therapy discontinuation for 4 days). 11

Due to the small study sample, ADHD symptoms not being evaluated as the primary outcome, and most patients being able to correctly guess if they were on active treatment vs. placebo (93% and 85% respectively), this pilot trial has many weaknesses. A larger study that elucidates a proper dosing regimen should be pursued. 11

CBD oil in adolescents: A randomized, controlled, double-blind, parallel-design pilot study evaluated the effects of CBD in patients age 8 to 16 with intellectual disability and severe behavioral problems. Eight participants received either oral placebo or 98% cannabidiol oil for 8 weeks. Dose titration occurred over 9 days to a target 20 mg/kg/day in two divided doses (max dose 500 mg). Three of four participants in the treatment arm and four of four participants in the control arm had an ADHD diagnosis. 6

One participant in the placebo group used methylphenidate, one in the CBD group used guanfacine, and one per arm used clonidine. Notably, the aim was to assess feasibility of a large-scale version of this trial. All other outcomes were simply preliminary findings and not adequately powered to assess efficacy. 6

Results did, however, indicate a greater reduction in baseline Aberrant Behavior Checklist Subscale (ABC-I) hyperactivity/non-compliance score in the treatment arm (mean reduction of 17 points) compared to placebo (mean reduction of 4.3 points). A clinically significant reduction was defined as a mean reduction of 7.9 points. No dose reductions were required in response to adverse events, nor were there any study withdrawals, serious adverse effects, or clinically significant abnormal lab values. Medication and study appointment adherence were 100% and all parents reported that they would recommend the study to families with children facing similar challenges. 6

Bottom Line: No Clear Answer on Use for ADHD

An easily accessible, product-rich marketplace of over-the-counter CBD is at the fingertips of patients living with ADHD, and regulations regarding medical/recreational cannabis use have loosened across many states. Yet, there is little supportive evidence regarding safe and efficacious use of these substances for ADHD management. In the pool of outcome data presented herein, no adults and just seven pediatric patients with ADHD have undergone an experimental CBD study,­ making a well-informed risk versus benefit comparison nearly impossible. Similarly, THC is not well-studied in patients with ADHD.

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Clinicians may do well to consider other options for the management of ADHD symptoms in adolescents and adults, but should be prepared to discuss the limitations of CBD and cannabis with inquiring patients or caregivers.

Related Articles

More on the risks of marijuana use in patients with schizophrenia, and on the external factors associated with ADHD assessments.

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  2. Geffen J, Forster K. Treatment of adult ADHD: a clinical perspective. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2018;8(1):25-32
  3. Hergenrather JY, Aviram J, Vysotski Y, et al. Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Doses are Associated with Adult ADHD Status of Medical Cannabis Patients. Rambam Maimonides Med J. 2020;11(1):e0001.
  4. Khan R, Naveed S, Mian N, et al. The therapeutic role of cannabidiol in mental health: a systematic review. J Cannabis Res. 2020:2(2).
  5. Hahn SM. FDA advances work related to cannabidiol products with focus on protecting public health, providing market clarity [Internet]. Silver Spring (MD): U.S. Food & Drug Administration. March 5, 2020. Available Accessed September 2020.
  6. Efron D, Freeman JL, Cranswick N, et al. A pilot randomised placebo-controlled trial of cannabidiol to reduce severe behavioural problems in children and adolescents with intellectual disability. Br J Clin Pharmacol. ePub 2020;10.1111/bcp.14399.
  7. Brown JD, Winterstein AG. Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug-Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use. J Clin Med. 2019 Jul 8;8(7):989. doi: 10.3390/jcm8070989.
  8. Adderall XR label [Internet]. Wayne (PA): Shire US Inc.; 2013. Available at: Accessed October 2020.
  9. Cannabis [Internet]. Stockton (CA): Therapeutic Research Center; 2020 [updated 2020 Oct 9; cited 2020 Oct 15]. Available from:,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=947#interactionsWithDrugs
  10. Müller-Vahl KR, Kolbe H, Schneider U, Emrich HM. Cannabinoids: possible role in patho-physiology and therapy of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1998 Dec;98(6):502-6.
  11. Cooper RE, Williams E, Seegobin S, et al. Cannabinoids in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A randomised-controlled trial. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2017;27(8):795-808.

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CBD Oil for ADHD: Pros And Cons

CBD is an emerging supplement that’s generating a lot of buzz due to its therapeutic properties and anecdotal claims of being effective against chronic pain, anxiety, ADHD, diabetes, seizure disorders, auto-immune disorders and other chronic conditions. In the scientific and medical communities, the therapeutic and neuroprotective properties of CBD is a hot topic because studies are still being conducted to establish a strong connection and correlation of these effects through case-control trials, experimental samples and different phases of human trials for CBD administration.

The studies on the efficacy of CBD in treating the symptoms of ADHD are still relatively new, and need careful evaluation and interpretation. Thus, while there is no established and firm supporting evidence of the potency and effectivity of CBD for the treatment of ADHD and its symptoms, there are advantages and disadvantages of using this health supplement. CBD oil and its sublingual administration are considered as one of the most potent variants of the CBD and the most effective method of administration, respectively. We will examine what are the pros and cons of using CBD oil in the treatment of ADHD.

First off, let us explore the benefits and therapeutic claims of CBD oil for ADHD. While there are some recently conducted studies that have established evidence in support of efficacy using CBD for ADHD treatment, there still needs to be a significant relationship that has to be established to support this claim. Thus, other studies are still underway, which are being conducted on a larger population. Gathering results from recent studies, we’ll tackle the benefits of CBD oil below.

CBD Oil Helps Relieve Hyperactivity and Impulsivity

Hyperactivity and impulsivity are the hallmark qualities of ADHD. People with this condition have trouble concentrating, paying attention, staying organized and remembering details. Studies conducted in 2013 were able to establish the efficacy of daily and regular administration of CBD oil in managing hyperactivity and impulsivity. Compared to ADHD patients without CBD oil treatment, those that regularly received the treatment performed better on tasks which involves concentration and attention. While the experimental population of the study was limited, it showed promising results that warrant a follow-up study on a larger population of ADHD patients. Also, CBD research can get its much-needed push with the undertaking crowdsourcing project on website, which aims to collect an extensive volume of testimonials, medical research information and reports gathered from CBD user experiences from all over the world.

CBD Oil Helps Relieve Anxiety

Anxiety can be an aggravating condition that can affect people with ADHD. This can worsen the symptoms of ADHD. There are many sources of research showing the effectivity of CBD oil for anxiety relief. Relieving anxiety can help lessen the stress levels and the level of hyperactivity for people with ADHD. Further study is still warranted on how CBD oil can help minimize or lower the hallmark symptoms of ADHD.

CBD Oil Helps Relieve Sleep Disorders

Aside from disorders in hyperactivity and attention, ADHD can also affect the sleep patterns of these patients. Hyperactivity and overstimulation usually spills over until nighttime when it is supposed to be the sleeping time of children and adults with ADHD. As a result, sleep patterns are disrupted and may cause additional health problems. CBD oil can help stabilize the sleep patterns of ADHD patients, which is helpful in giving them a comfortable rest and refreshed feeling. Although not directly related to ADHD, keeping the sleep pattern stable can actually benefit the concentration and cognitive health of people with ADHD.

CBD oil has many health benefits and therapeutic properties, especially in the human central nervous system where CBD has a special reaction with the endocannabinoid system. Some studies have shown proof of the health effects of CBD, while other newer claims of health applications like ADHD treatment are still requiring further studies and more compelling results. Also, CBD’s reaction varies in every individual, and not all may have positive interaction with the substance.

CBD Oil Has Unestablished Manufacturing Regulation

CBD oil is not subject to the same strict and comprehensive regulations as medicines, which still leaves open the possibility of contamination and un-calibrated or uneven composition. CBD oil and other products may not contain the amount of CBD it claims, which could limit the potential therapeutic effect of the products. Manufacturers may advertise their CBD products as pure, such as 100% pure CBD oil, but could possibly contain other undisclosed ingredients such as THC, which may have serious implications in ADHD treatment.

CBD Oil Has Side Effects

Most medicines and even natural supplements and compounds can have unwanted or undesirable side effects. These effects vary from person to person and for those with medical conditions and neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD. The common side effects include digestive issues, such as an upset stomach or nausea. Some individuals also experience drowsiness or headaches, especially when taking higher doses. The side effects may eventually go away with continued use as the person becomes used to the product.

CBD Oil Has Unstudied Long Term Effects

While many studies focus on the health benefits of CBD oil, there is a sparsity in the number of studies on the long-term effects and adverse reactions of the product. It is still unclear if CBD can affect hormones in the body, which may be a cause of concern for children and adolescents with ADHD. The long-term effects of CBD are something that should also be taken into consideration by scientific and medical researchers.

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to the therapeutic options for disorders like ADHD that currently don’t have a known cure. At best, the only way to make the lifestyle and health situation of ADHD sufferers better is to provide therapeutic agents that lessen the problematic symptoms with regular or daily intake. CBD oil is showing promise of therapeutic benefits, but the current scientific studies have not established a solid proof of its efficacy as of yet. The best person who can provide advice on the usage of this product will be your doctor.