Cannabis for ADD
Attention deficit disorder, also known as ADD, is one of the many mental illnesses that cannabis can help treat and manage. ADD is defined by the presence of 4 characteristics: impulsivity, distractibility, short attention spans, and hyperactivity particularly in children. Those who have hyperactivity are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to the National Institute of Health, ADD affects 3-5% of Americans.
While ADD isn’t fatal, it affects the attention spans and learning processes because it is a cognitive disorder. Individuals with ADD also tend to suffer from other co-occuring disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
While ADD can’t be cured, it can be managed through the use of pharmaceutical medications, behavior modification, and therapy. The most common medications prescribed to patients with ADD are notorious for lethal side effects and addictive qualities: Ritalin and Adderall, which are designed to help improve focus and concentration. They also have serious side effects such as diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, appetite suppression, and nausea among others. Medications that contain amphetamine can also be harmful because it increases heart rate, promotes agitation, and makes you feel nervous.
How Cannabis Can Help
Living with ADD can be extremely stressful and paralyzing. But many individuals who live with ADD have found comfort from using cannabis. A 2014 study also says that individuals who are hyperactive and impulsive tend to use cannabis more. It’s not surprising considering that the plant is effective for relaxation and reducing stress. People with ADD often think of so many things at the same time, all day long, and this can be tiring. Cannabis can help patients mentally switch off and relax for a while.
Most people have difficulty eating if they are on Adderall. Not eating enough can have a serious impact on your health, and neglecting food will only do more harm than good especially if you have a cognitive disorder. Cannabis is helpful in stimulating the appetite and eating well can reduce even more anxiety and restlessness. Going for several hours or days without eating can worsen the symptoms of ADD.
ADD medications can also leave patients feeling nauseous for long periods of time. Cannabis is widely recognized for its proven ability to stop nausea right in its tracks, primarily the reason why it is highly recommended for patients who are undergoing therapy. There are countless studies that prove how beneficial cannabis is for nausea.
Cannabis also helps the body release dopamine, which is helpful in regulating moods. This is particularly useful especially because those with ADD suffer from mood disorders. Additionally, the dopamine release is also associated with reward, which is linked to other basic processes in the body which control sleep, attention, learning, and appetite.
A 2009 study explains the correlation between dopamine and the endocannabinoid system of those with ADD or ADHD. People who are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD are shown to have more anandamide, and that the enzyme needed to break it down, called FAAH, is inadequate. When this kind of imbalance occurs in the body, the dopamine supply runs out too quick which is why it becomes so difficult to focus. However just by taking some cannabis, dopamine supply in the body is regulated and so are moods.
Despite the limited number of studies, there is so much anecdotal evidence on how cannabis can help ease the symptoms of ADD. One study of 30 patients showed that each and every one of the participants reported improvements in sleep, impulsivity, as well as concentration after taking medicinal cannabis. Additionally, all of them also reported that conventional pharmaceutical medicines like Adderall and Ritalin didn’t work for them. Cannabis gives hope for people living with ADD/ADHD, and has no side effects.
Have you used cannabis for ADD? Share your story with us in the comments below.