The problem of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder largely affects children and adolescents. According to estimates, up to 8% of young patients may suffer from ADHD. Difficulty concentrating, difficulty communicating with the world, screaming instead of using normal words, and overwhelming energy are the most characteristic symptoms of ADHD. Seeing the problem growing, researchers decided to develop a new treatment using the benefits of medical marijuana. Let's see what correlation exists - Marijuana and ADHD.
Marijuana and ADHD - existing drugs and their harmfulness
Since the late 1960s, ADHD has been treated with psychostimulants such as Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta. These agents in excess cause side effects in the form of euphoria, anxiety, paranoid states, and even limited contact with reality. The drugs listed above have a similar structure to amphetamines or cocaine. Moreover, some athletes or drug addicts use the drugs illegally for doping and intoxicating purposes.
Why is marijuana likely to help?
Many ADHD patients have already been convinced of the salutary effects of marijuana. One of them is Antonio Rodriguez, who was diagnosed with the condition at age six. Antonio says "He remembers headaches preventing me from sleeping. I had no appetite until I tried cannabis." Antonio adds "For the first time I was where I wanted to be along with my mind". The patient has seen a significant improvement in concentration, restored appetite and self-control. Despite the noticeable effects, Antonio was initially cautious about marijuana for fear of becoming addicted. "I kept waiting for the moment when my body would ask for a higher dose, but nothing like that ever happened," he says. To date, there is a lack of adequate research regarding marijuana and ADHD; however, the effects of cannabis are having a visible effect. Among other things, ADHD has been linked to insufficient amounts of dopamine (the so-called "happy hormone"), which plays a key role in cognition. The aforementioned drugs - Ritalin and Adderall stimulate dopamine formation, but cause side effects.
Dr. Bearman's discovery
Dr. David Bearman, a pioneer in cannabis and ADHD research, discovered a link between the cannabinoids in cannabis and dopamine. Cannabinoids work closely with the natural system that manages the amount of dopamine. Bearman comments on his discovery as follows, "Marijuana treats ADHD by increasing dopamine. That is, it works on the same principle as available drugs, although there is a difference. Ritalin causes dopamine to bind and disrupts/slows its breakdown." Simply put, marijuana compensates for dopamine deficiency in a controlled manner. The effectiveness of medical marijuana is also supported by a study conducted by German researchers. The researchers presented their findings at the "7th European Workshop on Cannabinoid Research and IACM 8th Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine" (2015). The experts studied 30 people who did not respond to Adderall and Ritalin. The implementation of cannabis resulted in better concentration, calmer sleep as well as reduced impulsivity.
Further prospects for cannabis
Undoubtedly, the above research gives hope to many sick children and adults. More tests and experiments are still needed to fully implement medical marijuana into ADHD treatment. The number of scientists interested in medical marijuana is growing, so in a few years we can expect a real breakthrough in the issue of marijuana and ADHD.