cannabis ADHD
cannabis ADHD

Does Cannabis Help People with ADHD Focus? - Latest Studies on Marijuana and ADHD Released in the UK

Does marijuana help with ADHD? What do the latest studies say about weed for ADHD?

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Wednesday Jan 3, 2024

cannabis for ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) still continues to affect millions of adults and children alike.


In 2020, some 366 million adults around the world have ADHD. It can manifest in adults through excessive talking, difficulty focusing, problems with fidgeting, difficulty sitting still, interrupting others, and general restlessness. It can also cause issues with attention to detail or carelessness. When ADHD symptoms aren’t treated or managed, this can cause serious problems in all life stages.


Adults with ADHD can face difficulties at work, school, relationships, and finances. This is why it’s so important to diagnose and treat it as early as possible. Thankfully, research has shown that cannabis can help individuals who are struggling with ADHD.


In one of the latest studies, British researchers analyzed the efficacy and safety of cannabis products on 68 ADHD patients who have been enrolled in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry. They tested a range of cannabis flower and oils, or a mixture of both, on the participants – all of whom were given a doctor’s authorization to buy cannabis medications. The researchers then studied the impact of cannabis after 1, 3, 6, and 12 months.

They found that patients reported positive changes in many symptoms including sleep quality, anxiety, and other health-related aspects after cannabis treatment. Additionally, more than a third of them were able to stop taking at least one of their ADHD prescription medications during the study.


“This case series is the first of its kind in assessing the clinical outcome of patients from the UKMCR with a primary diagnosis of ADHD prescribed CBMPs (cannabis-based medicinal products) for up to 12 months,” they wrote. “This study reports that treatment with CBMPs was associated with improvements in general HRQoL (health-related quality of life) after 1, 2, and 6 months, in addition to anxiety and sleep quality after 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. These results suggest that CBMPs may play a role in alleviating symptoms and co-morbid anxiety and sleep disruption associated with ADHD,” they concluded.

What Other Studies Say


There have been other studies with similar findings, including one case study from Canada. Researchers in Saskatoon, Canada, observed the effects of 3 male patients with ADHD, aged 18, 22, and 23 after they added marijuana to their treatments.

They found that after the patients began medicating with marijuana, there were significant improvements in anxiety, depression, and focus. According to the investigators, marijuana acted as a complementary treatment to their existing medication.


In 2021, the results of survey data taken from ADHD patients was published in the Journal of Attention Disorders. The poll was conducted by researchers from Washington State University, utilizing an online survey where 1,738 students suffering from ADHD responded.


“Participants with ADHD who have used cannabis reported that cannabis has acute beneficial effects on many symptoms of ADHD (e.g. hyperactivity, impulsivity). Further, they perceived cannabis 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,” wrote the researchers.

“People with ADHD may be using cannabis to self-medicate for many of their symptoms and medication side effects and that more frequent use may mitigate ADHD-related executive dysfunction,” they reported.


Pharmaceutical ADHD medications have long been notorious for the side effects they cause, as well. These include dizziness, irritability, moodiness, headaches, and much more. They are also dangerously addictive. But cannabis, when used by ADHD patients, has been shown to help reduce dependency on these drugs.

According to an Israeli study of 59 ADHD patients, medical cannabis consumption has helped them reduce the need for ADHD medications. Because of this, researchers say that cannabis can be used as a substitute. “These results, although not causal, might shed light on the potential beneficial effects of MC on ADHD symptom severity and motivate future prospective studies in order to validate our results and perhaps even consider making ADHD an approved indication for MC license in future,” they said.

Caution: Mixing Weed With ADHD Medications


If you or a loved one are interested in using cannabis to help treat symptoms of ADHD, be cautious if you are already using ADHD medications. Combining marijuana with common ADHD drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall may be dangerous, because there is evidence that it can cause a dramatic increase in heart rate – which ADHD drugs already do on its own.


 In addition, cannabis use with stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall can cause cardiovascular complications.

That said, it’s extremely important for you to be honest about cannabis use when discussing these treatment options with your doctor. Being upfront can save your life, so it helps to have a doctor that you feel comfortable enough talking with about your current cannabis use, or interest in it. Mixing weed and ADHD drugs, or any combination of substances for that matter, require medical consultation with a healthcare professional if you want to stay on the safe side.




While more studies are needed for us to better understand how exactly cannabis can help patients with ADHD, as well as the types of weed and dosage for this condition, researchers seem to agree that since people with ADHD tend to have low dopamine levels, cannabis helps greatly in supplementing it.


Additionally, marijuana can be beneficial in helping create new signal pathways for chemicals to flow in the bloodstream. These new signals can help stop hyperactive signals, which is why cannabis users may have better concentration and focus, particularly for tasks that involve executive functioning.


When all is said and done, there’s still much more research needed that specializes in cannabis for ADHD. However, we can’t deny the studies that show positive results, especially where conventional pharmaceutical drugs have failed.






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