CBD or Cannabidiol is one of many active chemicals that naturally occur in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD does not lead users to experience the ‘high’ or euphoria usually associated with Marijuana.
Despite the fact that CBD has established itself as having a number of benefits for treating various health conditions, the scientific community is still actively researching the neurological and behavioral effects of CBD.
While there are no conclusive findings to determine the effects of CBD and CBD oil on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), here is what you should know about CBD’s possible benefits and side effects.
Understanding the Research
The research on using CBD to treat ADHD is not extensive. However, a lot of what the scientific community has been able to determine is from the general research done on Cannabis overall and not specifically on CBD as a standalone compound.
Managing ADHD Symptoms
The use of Cannabis and ADHD are both associated with changes in functioning, attention, and impaired inhibition. Therefore, a number of researchers are of the view that the use of Cannabis may worsen any existing ADHD related symptoms. However, no conclusive study exists to support this hypothesis.
A study conducted in 2016 attempted to get a deeper understanding of the relationship between depression, the use of Marijuana, and ADHD. The subjects in this study were college students. The study concluded that although a subset of students were active users of Marijuana as a way to cope with depression-related symptoms, the overall effect of Marijuana use on these symptoms were not clear.
Another study conducted in 2013 focused on the types of ADHD and the use of Cannabis. The study evaluated more than 2800 subjects and researchers found that regular Cannabis users reported symptoms of hyperactive-impulsivity when not using Cannabis.
Further research is ongoing to better understand what benefits CBD may provide in the management of ADHD if any.
A different study on Cannabis use and ADHD focused on understanding the risk of developing substance abuse disorder in Cannabis users with ADHD symptoms.
A study in 2014 looked into the relationship between the use of Cannabis and ADHD symptoms in undergraduate students. Of the more than 350 students analyzed, researchers concluded that, in most cases, inattention problems, both in childhood and in the present time would likely lead to acute cannabis use and future dependency.
Researchers also found that the subjects who displayed hyperactive-impulsive behavior during their childhood were likely to start using Cannabis earlier than those who did not.
A different study conducted 3 years later in 2017 studied about 200 students of the same age group. The study focused on understanding the role of impulsivity in youngsters with ADHD symptoms and the likelihood of substance and alcohol abuse.
The research also concluded that youngsters with ADHD were at a higher risk of using recreational drugs and alcohol.
Traditional ADHD Treatments & Their Side Effects
There are two major kinds of traditional ADHD medication – stimulants and non-stimulants.
Stimulants are more widely used and are fast-acting. Approximately 70-80% of children diagnosed with ADHD in the USA are prescribed these fast-acting stimulants with positive results and a decline in their symptoms.
That said, the usage of stimulants as medication does come with their side effects. These include mood changes, headache, sleeplessness, dry mouth, loss of appetite, weight loss, etc.
While the potential of non-stimulants to lead to side effects are low, it is still a possibility. Some non-stimulant side effects include nausea, dizziness, and tiredness in addition to the ones listed above.
Both stimulant and non-stimulant medications are available through a valid prescription only and require a medical professional to conduct regular check-ups for continued use.
The Possible Side Effects of CBD You Should Be Aware Of
Studies have shown that CBD is well-tolerated in doses of up to 1,500 mg a day. Depending on a number of factors, CBD can take between 20 mins to 2 hours before its effects are observed.
An animal-based study showed that the use of CBD rich in cannabis extract can lead to an increased level of liver toxicity. However, it should be called out that large doses were administered to animal subjects in the study.
It should also be noted that CBD has the potential to interact with various other prescription drugs, supplements, or over-the-counter medication. Just like grapefruit, CBD may also impact the enzymes that are critical to drug metabolism. It is therefore important to check if any of the supplements or medications you are prescribed come with a grapefruit warning.
Using CBD Oil
In most cases, CBD oil is consumed either orally or vaped. Oral CBD is generally thought to cause fewer side effects and therefore appeals to beginners. A few drops of CBD oil can be placed under the tongue via a dropper. Alternatively, CBD oil-based capsules and gels are also available.
When CBD is smoked, the chemical is delivered directly to the user’s bloodstream and is a far quicker method to feel its effects. However, a number of users and members of the medical community are growing more and more concerned about the other side effects of vaping or smoking.
Currently, there are no set guidelines on using CBD oil to treat ADHD symptoms like irritability, hyperactivity, and fidgeting.
When it comes to doses, researchers have conducted a study on symptoms like anxiety which is related to ADHD symptoms. Notwithstanding that more research is needed, a study conducted in 2018 indicated that 300 mg of CBD taken daily may be sufficient to reduce anxiety in users.
Is CBD Safe for Children?
Currently, there are limited studies and trials that have examined the effects of CBD in children. This can be largely due to the stigma associated with Marijuana use and the effects of THC – its psychoactive compound.
Today, Epidiolex remains the only CBD-based medication approved by the FDA. Epidiolex is a prescription drug that is administered for the treatment of acute and rare forms of epilepsy. The drug has been approved for both adults as well as children.
Most of the reports and studies on the use of CBD in children are either individual case studies or anecdotal reports confirmed to researchers, doctors, and members of the medical community.
Talk to Your Doctor or Healthcare Professional
More extensive research is the need of the hour when determining whether or not CBD oil can be considered as a viable option to treat symptoms of ADHD. However, if you’re interested in exploring the possibilities, there is no harm in talking to your doctor or a healthcare professional.
CBD products that are derived from Hemp and contain less than the prescribed .3 percent of THC are legal per federal law. However, certain state laws may still deem it illegal.
CBD products that are derived from Marijuana are illegal per federal law but remain legal under the laws of certain states.
It is advisable to check the appropriate state laws in case of travel. It is important to note that over-the-counter CBD products are not approved by the FDA.