Reading Time: 4 minutes
The advantages of using cannabis to treat attention deficit disorder
The use of cannabis is becoming more and more common in the field of medicine. While some people use it for recreational purposes, other people consider marijuana as a heaven-sent solution to alleviate pain and treat other maladies. In fact, several cafés offer cannabis-infused coffee, and consumers say that they feel relaxed and better after drinking one. Some massage spas even use cannabis-infused massage lotions to provide better services and relaxation for their clients. Most patients who suffer from chronic stress and pain ease their suffering by using a high-quality product such as CBD oils. In addition, patients who uses CBD oil are reported to have improved well-being and experienced a better sleep.
Cannabis keeps on surprising people by its contributions in terms of medicine. One of the main benefits of medical marijuana is its ability to treat mental conditions. Various reports show that there are many patients who use CBD to ease stress, reduce anxiety, and prevent depression. Now, medical studies show that cannabis even provides better treatment for ADHD than conventional medication Ritalin.
What is ADHD?
ADHD, acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a medical condition wherein a person has variances in brain activity and brain development that affects attention. This condition also affects self-control and the ability to sit still.
ADHD is one of the most diagnosed medical disorders in children. In some cases, symptoms continue in adolescence and even adulthood. Approximately 57 percent of adolescents and children and 3.5 percent of adults worldwide are diagnosed with ADHD.
Types of ADHD
ADHD is formerly known as Attention Deficit Disorder (or ADD). According to DSM-V diagnosis criteria, ADHD could be divided into three subcategories:
- Inattentive ADHD
Inattention is the incapability to concentrate and focus. It is what usually previously meant when referring to a patient who has ADD. The patient shows signs of distractibility and inattention but lacks the indication of impulsivity and hyperactivity. Symptoms may include easy and frequent distractibility, loss of focus, and being side-tracked easily.
- Impulsive or Hyperactive ADHD
Patients who have this type of ADHD are characterized as being impulsive and hyperactive but do not display any symptoms of inattention. They seem to be “on the go” most of the time. Also, they talk excessively all the time and tend to be disruptive and interruptive.
- Combined ADHD
The name itself already suggests what kind of ADHD this is. This type of ADHD shows both the characteristics of impulsivity/hyperactivity and inattention.
Researchers are still unable to point out the exact cause of ADHD. However, studies say that ADHD is caused by the multi-factor condition, which consists of a mix of environmental, neurobiological, and genetic factors. These factors cause problems in the dopaminergic signaling system. A study made in 2009 found out that patients that display ADHD symptoms had lower levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which controls attention and memory and allows people to experience the feeling of motivation and reward.
Additionally, the study has also found out that patients who have ADHD have fewer dopamine transporters and receptors in the two parts of the limbic system, which is responsible for motivation/reward and emotion.
ADHD medication: Cannabis vs. Ritalin
There are a lot of disputes and debates going over the proper medication for ADHD. Here, we will talk about the most debatable medications for ADHD – cannabis, and Ritalin.
Traditional Medication: Ritalin
Ritalin is the conventional medication used for patients who have ADHD. Ritalin works by stimulating and make people feel excited. It suppresses inhibitions and tiredness, inhibits appetite, and increases short-term physical performance. Moreover. It restricts the function of the noradrenaline and dopamine transporters. With these characteristics, it’s safe to say that it is similar to cocaine.
There are several reported side effects with the use of Ritalin. Apparently, its long-term use can result in weight gain and reduced growth. Also, liquid intake and appetite can also be repressed. Taking Ritalin can also cause vomiting, bellyache, burning in the esophagus, and nausea to occur. Some patients who used this medication also said to experience hair loss, itching, dermatitis, and excessive sweating.
Moreover, a massive overdose of this drug could result in over-stimulation of the central nervous system. It will make people experience delirium, cramps, and even coma. The worst happens when the effect of the Ritalin wears off. The original ADHD symptoms returns, significantly worsen and can include undesirable behavior. This is what experts call the rebound effect.
Alternative Medication: Cannabis
Aggression, crankiness, hyperactivity, difficulty in falling asleep are some of the symptoms that plague the daily lives of ADHD patients. Most of the time, these symptoms cause problems in social life. The traditionally prescribed ADHD medication we discussed above just causes the symptoms to get worse, with additional health problems. That is enough reason to why researchers started examining cannabis as a potential alternative.
Consumption of medical marijuana seems to be a perfect alternative for treating ADHD symptoms. Both CBD and THC are proved to have anxiety-reducing and anti-depressive effect. Cannabis makes ADHD patients feel relaxed and have a sense of tranquility. Additionally, fear and hyperactivity are also reduced, and ADHD patients finally have the chance to unwind and have a better sleep.
Apparently, several ADHD patients are treating themselves with cannabis. In 2012, a study was conducted by the University of Albany in New York. Data was analyzed from a subgroup of ADHD patients who treats themselves with medicinal cannabis.
The patients were inquired of their ADHD symptoms when using and not using medical marijuana. The study found out that the patients saw better results on using cannabis rather than the traditional medication. They experienced a significant reduction in hyperactivity, aggression, and gained the ability to focus.
What’s the verdict?
Though studies for the deployment of medicinal marijuana for ADHD treatment exist, additional scientific substantiation or obtained results is still required. However, justice systems are obstructing further research for the use of cannabis for ADHD treatment. In the current state of medicine, perseverance, and education are both needed to make everyone realize that marijuana is a feasible alternative.
Meanwhile, the industry of marijuana continues to bud up, and there’s no telling what the future holds in terms of cannabis trade and medication.