Is CBD a treatment for ADHD and ADD? Can we use CBD to help relieve ADHD symptoms? Is it safe for children to use, and what delivery system is best when using CBD for ADHD?
More than one in ten children are diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For many people with these disorders, the symptoms last into adulthood. The primary medications used to treat ADD and ADHD are stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall, but many people with ADD and ADHD use CBD products to help manage the frustrating symptoms of these conditions.
ADD and ADHD are disorders that are both characterized by a difficulty with concentration, distractibility and impulsivity. A diagnosis of ADHD includes hyperactivity and is generally given to children.
While research has been done on the relationship between CBD and ADD/ADHD, there haven’t been any clinical trials completed with a large enough test group to be able to definitively say that CBD can relieve symptoms of ADD. However, the research that has been done, although on a smaller scale and oftentimes with animal subjects, points towards that answer. Anecdotal examples from countless CBD users who struggle with ADD/ADHD suggest that CBD can have a beneficial effect.
Luckily, with CBD products, there are little to no negative side effects. This makes trying CBD in the form of a daily tincture, softgels, or vape a very low-risk personal experiment. Compared to the prescribed stimulants that are typically used to manage symptoms of ADD, which are known for a laundry list of side effects just as frustrating as attention difficulties, CBD is an easy-to-use alternative. It’s not a treatment for ADD and ADHD, but it may be able to help relieve your symptoms and create a better quality of life.
Most of the hype around using CBD for ADD and ADHD comes from CBD users who have either disorder. They’ve found that incorporating CBD into their life can improve their symptoms and can act in place of intense prescription stimulants.
A study was conducted looking at online forum participants who used cannabis to manage symptoms of ADD/ADHD. They found that those online discussions did suggest a large portion of participants found some success using cannabis. Cannabis is the plant that both marijuana and hemp come from. While CBD products are primarily made with hemp for the naturally low amounts of THC, marijuana is grown with large amounts of THC for the high sensation. This study did not differentiate between types of cannabis used by participants.
How Does CBD Interact with the Body?
Cannabidiol (CBD) interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is present in all vertebrate creatures. The ECS plays a regulatory role and influences the actions of other major bodily systems. While the body produces its own natural cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, that bind to the ECS, using CBD products is another way to enhance the effects of the ECS.
What Causes ADD/ADHD?
Unfortunately, the specific causes of ADD and ADHD are unclear. Doctors know that genetics play a large part, so you have a gene expression that is prevalent in your family that may “turn on” and result in ADD. Doctors also suspect that environmental and developmental factors may contribute to ADD, as well.
With so little solid information about the root of ADD and ADHD, it can be more difficult to manage the symptoms that arise. While there are similar symptoms that many people experience (which have been grouped together and called ADD) like trouble focusing, difficulty with organization and forgetfulness, the degree to which you struggle with individual symptoms can vary from someone else’s experience.
Managing ADD and ADHD becomes a task in trial and error. The first approaches recommended by doctors, especially to children, are behavioral interventions and prescription medications. These may work for some people, but others dislike the side effects of heavy pharmaceuticals or chafe at the restrictions implemented with behavioral intervention. This is why many folks have turned towards CBD.
How Does CBD Help?
According to Dr. David Bearman, who is a prominent cannabis researcher, ADD and ADHD are related to dopamine levels. When there’s not enough dopamine being produced in the brain, it can result in ADD. Pharmaceutical drugs like Adderall and Ritalin bind to dopamine in the brain and make it harder for the neurotransmitter to be broken down. This keeps the dopamine active in the brain and produces the stimulant effect. Unfortunately, that process evokes many negative side effects.
As per Dr. Leah Zachar, M.D., CBD Testers’ Scientific adviser, CBD works inside the cell, not at the cell surface. Since CBD does not bind to the CB1 which causes an increase in dopamine, you have none of the side effects experienced by the conventional agents used to treat ADD. CBD helps address the symptoms of ADD by decreasing the breakdown of anandamide and stimulating 5HT1. The result is decreased anxiety and restlessness, increased ability to focus, and improved clarity of mind.
Although CBD can relieve the symptoms of disorders like ADD and ADHD, it isn’t a treatment. Large-scale studies haven’t been completed to show the efficacy of CBD in relation to ADD. Anecdotal evidence suggests many people are trying CBD products for their ADD/ADHD symptoms and finding relief. So, CBD may be able to help you, too.
Unlike marijuana, which is illegal in many states throughout the country, CBD derived from hemp is legal to ship to all fifty states. CBD is available through online retailers and often in smoke shops. It’s non-psychoactive so it can’t get you high, and it isn’t addictive.
CBD Can Help with Comorbid Conditions
Countless people are using CBD to relieve symptoms from a variety of disorders and conditions, such as general anxiety, social anxiety, and insomnia. The CBD industry is booming and is expected to grow 700% by 2020. There’s a reason it’s growing so quickly. CBD has the potential to help countless people improve their quality of life.
Incorporating CBD into your daily life as a daily nutritional supplement can be an effective way to find relief from a variety of symptoms and support your endocannabinoid system.
Cannabidiol is a powerful tool that can be used in specific situations for symptomatic relief or used regularly for continued support of frustrating disorders and general wellness.
CBD for Children
To begin with, any decision about medications or dietary supplements should be discussed with a doctor. They’ll be able to let you know if your child might have any current medications or conditions that might react adversely to CBD usage.
Whether you give your child CBD products or not is a personal decision that should be made with the input of a licensed healthcare professional. As CBD has gained media attention, you may have seen the stories of children successfully using CBD to deal with a variety of medical conditions.
A young girl in Colorado named Charlotte gained national media attention when her parents began to use CBD to help with her frequent seizures and saw incredible results. Even Parents.com has covered CBD usage with kids. And with CBD products, particularly those derived from hemp, there’s no psychoactive component so your child won’t be getting high.
The World Health Organization investigated CBD usage and found that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile…to date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” They also found that “there is preliminary evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions.”
When you’re looking for a CBD product to give to your child, look for top quality. Ensuring that you’re giving you kiddo the best full-spectrum CBD will increase the chances that it’ll work well for your child.
Choosing a CBD Product
Choosing a CBD product can be difficult with the massive number of options available on the market. Each company is marketing its products as the best, but there are a few ways to weed out the duds.
Look for products that contain full-spectrum CBD. These will include other cannabinoids and terpenes that can also be beneficial to the endocannabinoid system. Most companies will test their CBD oil to ensure that it’s the best quality. Keep an eye out for companies that also grow only organic hemp, are local to your area or region, and make lab results available to their customers.
If you’re looking at edibles or capsules that contain ingredients other than CBD oil, be as critical about those as the CBD. You don’t want to be ingesting something that has fillers, pesticides or other strange ingredients. If the ingredient list is full of words you can’t pronounce, you might not want to put it in your body.
CBD is slightly pricey mainly because it is not FDA approved, and thus it is not covered by medical insurance. However, CBD has the potential to increase your quality of life and provide relief from symptoms of ADD and ADHD without the myriad of side effects that come with the use of the currently available stimulants used to treat this disorder. If you’re curious, do some of your own research on products and try it out. Enjoy the benefits of regular CBD usage that numerous others experience, too.
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