CBD Oil for ADHD in Children and Adults: Does It Work?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of several active compounds found in the cannabis plant.
Although CBD has established benefits for certain mental health conditions, researchers are still trying to understand its effects on behavioral and neurological conditions.
It’s unclear whether CBD, or CBD oil, can help ease symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Here’s what you need to know about the potential benefits, side effects, and more.
Research on CBD as an ADHD treatment is sparse. Much of what we do know stems from research on cannabis as a whole and not CBD as an isolated compound.
Cannabis use and ADHD are both independently associated with impaired attention, inhibition, and functioning.
Because of this, many researchers theorize that cannabis use would worsen existing ADHD symptoms. However, there isn’t any evidence to support or contradict this.
One 2016 study explored the relationship between ADHD, depression, and marijuana use in undergraduate students. Although the researchers established that some students used marijuana to cope with depressive symptoms, its overall effect on these symptoms was unclear.
A 2013 study on ADHD subtypes and cannabis use also delivered interesting results. After collecting data from 2,811 current cannabis users, researchers found that people who used cannabis daily self-reported symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity when not using cannabis.
More research is needed to truly understand what benefits, if any, CBD may pose in ADHD management.
Substance use disorder
Other research on cannabis and ADHD focuses on ADHD as a risk factor for developing substance use disorder.
One 2014 study assessed cannabis use and ADHD symptoms in 376 undergraduate students.
The researchers found that both current inattention issues and childhood inattention issues were associated with more severe cannabis use and dependency.
They also found that participants who demonstrated hyperactive-impulsive behavior as children began to use cannabis earlier than participants who didn’t.
A separate 2017 study assessed 197 students in the same age range. It looked more broadly at the role of impulsivity in young adults with ADHD and risk factors for alcohol and drug misuse.
The researchers concluded that young people with ADHD were more likely to use alcohol and recreational drugs.
When you consume CBD oil, the compounds engage with two receptors in your body. These receptors, known as cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2), have a direct effect on specific parts of your body.
CB1 is more abundant in the brain and is directly related to epilepsy. CB2 is more abundant in the immune system. It’s connected to pain and inflammation.
The compounds from CBD appear to trigger your body to use more of the cannabinoids it produces naturally.
The uptick in the use of naturally occurring cannabinoids may lead to a number of benefits, including decreased anxiety and reduced hyperactivity.
Research on CBD for ADHD is mixed at best. Learn how CBD oil for ADHD works, how it compares to ADHD drugs, benefits, risks, and more.