By Roland Sebestyén
A new study argues that adults with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) may very well be benefiting from cannabis use to mitigate their symptoms.
A study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders found that there may be a link between cannabis consumption and positive effects on symptoms of ADHD in adults.
According to Additude, 1,738 people completed an online survey containing measures of ADHD symptoms, cannabis use, perceived effects of cannabis on ADHD symptoms and medication side effects, as well as executive dysfunction (skills enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and manage multiple tasks).
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a kind of neurological condition which is characterised by inattention and hyperactivity. The condition most commonly begins in childhood, with symptoms often easing off or improving by adulthood. There are three subtypes of ADHD: primarily hyperactive-impulse type, primarily inattentive type (previously called ADD) and primarily combined type.
ADHD was only recognised as a valid condition in the UK in 2000, however, it was still not officially recognised as an adult condition until 2008. According to the NHS, around 3-5% of children in the UK may have some form of ADHD, reducing to 2% of adults.
Research has shown that people with ADHD are more likely to use drugs and commit a crime, with a shocking 30% of prisoners in the UK estimated to have some form of the condition. Furthermore, adults with ADHD are more than twice as likely to meet the criteria for cannabis use disorder (CUD).
Once receiving a diagnosis of ADHD, an individual will typically be offered behavioural therapy and, depending on their age, medical treatment with pharmaceutical drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall – types of methylphenidate and amphetamine.
The results of this study show that while almost nine out of ten didn’t have ADHD diagnosis, one in four were mildly symptomatic.
The results are encouraging: researchers revealed that 92% of the participants with ADHD who have used cannabis reported that it has acute beneficial effects on many symptoms of ADHD, including hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Furthermore, they perceived that cannabis was able to improve most of their medication side effects (e.g., irritability, anxiety).
Finally, cannabis use frequency was a significant moderator of the associations between symptom severity and executive dysfunction.
What does it mean?
While scientists and researchers often emphasise that more study is needed on the subject, adults with ADHD may very well be optimistic about these findings.
For all those who have already exhausted every other “traditional option”, the medical use of cannabis could mean new hope of treating a condition that makes the lives of millions much harder.
If you’re interested in the details, you can find the study on this link.