Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder which leads to various problems like shorter attention span, hyperactivity, and impulse behaviour.

  • What is ADHD?
  • ADHD & Cannabinoids
  • Text references, literature discussion
    & clinical trials

What is ADHD?

Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that leads to various problems like shorter attention span, hyperactivity, and impulse behavior. 1

The symptoms of ADHD in adults may not be the same as in children because the symptoms can change over time as the disorder develops. For example, hyperactivity in a child can decrease and be replaced with impulsiveness and restlessness in adulthood.

Regardless of the manifestation of symptoms, the disorder can have a great impact on all aspects of a person’s life as it may lead to poor school and work performance, lower self-esteem, and a range of other individual challenges.

The exact cause of ADHD is not yet known, however, current research proposes that three factors may be involved in the development of ADHD:

  • Genetics/hereditary
    Studies indicate that genes may play a role in the development of ADHD
  • Environment
    External factors in the environment such as exposure to lead as a child may increase the risk of developing ADHD
  • Complications during development
    If complications with the development of the nervous system in the fetus occur during pregnancy, it may increase the risk of ADHD
  • Cannabinoids
  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Endocannabinoids

  • CBD
  • THC

  • CB1
  • Terpenes
  • Strains
  • Enzymes
  • Metabolites



Synthesizing & Degrading Enzymes


The connection between ADHD
& cannabinoids

Adhd brain scan frontal lobe

The cannabinoids CBD and THC  are proposed to have therapeutic properties for ADHD as there is a significant overlap between ADHD and other mental disorders such as anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and disorders within the autism spectrum where clinical data suggests the potential benefits of cannabinoids.2

In addition, this study shows that there is a connection between higher dose intake of medical cannabis components like phytocannabinoids and the reduction of ADHD medication. Furthermore, it was observed that there is a link between a high dosage of CBN and a lower ASRS score.3

Another study suggests that adults with ADHD may experience a reduction of symptoms and no cognitive impairment when taking cannabinoids.4

Note: If you have any further information relevant to the connection between ADHD and cannabinoids, or find any of the information inaccurate, outdated, or incomplete please contact us here.

Text references, literature discussion
& clinical trials

  • Text references
  • Literature discussion
  • Clinical trials

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be often treated by stimulants known as amphetamines.

Increased monoamine neurotransmission in brain regions such as the nucleus accumbens (NAC) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) brought on by amphetamine, is the cause for the drug´s behavioral effects.

In a rat study, it was discovered that CB1 activation is required for the therapeutic effect of amphetamines (Kleijn et al., 2012).

This offers the chance that current amphetamine treatment may be supplemented or replaced by the treatment of ADHD with cannabinoids.

It was shown that ADHD is a heritable disorder.

A genetics study showed that small variations/mutations (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in the CB1 gene (CNR1) are tightly connected to ADHD (Lu et al., 2008).

Similar to OCD, there is a connection between cannabis use and the incidence of ADHD.

The prevailing opinion existed that the use of cannabis may precipitate ADHD. An alternative opinion is arising that self-medication with cannabis may inhibit symptoms in people that tend to develop psychiatric disorders like ADHD (De Alwis et al., 2014; Bidwell et al., 2014; Loflin et al., 2014).

More research is needed to identify whether cannabinoids impact ADHD positively or negatively or potentially do both.

Clinical trials

The current study aimed to assess the link between ADHD subtypes and cannabis use (2811 people were included in a survey). It was found that people who did not use cannabis had a higher chance to be diagnosed with ADHD, proposing that cannabinoids may have therapeutic potential (Loflin et al., 2014).

A pilot randomized placebo-controlled experimental study included 30 patients with ADHD to investigate the effect of the cannabinoid medication, Sativex Oromucosal Spray. Although no significant difference was seen in the cognitive performance between study participants treated with cannabinoid medication and the placebo reference group, a significant improvement was found in hyperactivity/impulsivity upon treatment (Cooper et al., 2017).

In a meta-study of clinical trials, it was shown that behavioral symptoms of ADHD were slightly but significantly reduced by food supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids (especially EPA) (Bloch and Qawasmi, 2011).

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