Many who have been diagnosed with ADHD have likely wondered if cannabis or some cannabinoids, like Delta 8, could help their condition. That’s why we’ve put together this article to better understand the relationship between cannabis and ADHD and the potential benefits of Delta-8 THC in particular.
- Research on the effectiveness of cannabis, including Delta-8 THC, for treating ADHD is inconclusive and mixed.
- While studies suggest potential benefits, including reduced symptoms and decreased use of traditional ADHD medications, the evidence is insufficient to make definitive claims.
- The federal government's classification of cannabis as a substance not accepted for medical use complicates research efforts despite studies suggesting that CBD and Delta-8 THC may have potential therapeutic effects for ADHD symptoms.
Cannabis and ADHD
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a common neurodevelopmental condition with characteristic symptoms that include impulsive behaviors and tremendous difficulty focusing and sitting still. Statistics show that ADHD affects 4.4% of adults and 11% of school-age children.
Scientists, psychologists, and psychiatrists have been striving to find some type of cure and potential treatments for this condition, finding some benefits in certain stimulant drugs and positive effects after sessions of different types of therapies to treat this disorder. On the other hand, we have cannabis, a plant that many swear by for its therapeutic qualities.
Based on user reports, preclinical evidence, and the fact that cannabis appears to be linked to relaxation, ADHD might be on the list of conditions for which cannabis has beneficial potential. Nevertheless, it seems too early to make any kind of solid claim about whether or not cannabis can serve as a treatment for this neurological disorder.
Does Cannabis Help ADHD?
There is still no simple answer to this question. Research results on whether cannabis might offer short-term relief from hyperactivity in people with ADHD are mixed and inconclusive.
Traditional treatment for ADHD includes stimulant medications like methylphenidate, the active ingredient in Ritalin, Concerta, and other formulations, and amphetamines such as Adderall or Vyvanse. These medications are often complemented by counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, anger management, and support groups.
But it seems that the anti-anxiety and relaxing qualities of some cannabis strains and components might have the potential to help some ADHD patients. There are not many specific studies on the use of cannabis to treat ADHD yet because the federal government still considers cannabis a drug not accepted for medical use that has the potential for abuse.
The little research on this subject gives mixed answers as to whether cannabis can help with ADHD. For example, in 2016, a study looked at online posts mentioning cannabis and ADHD. This study found that 25% of posts speak of a positive impact of cannabis on ADHD symptoms, in contrast to 8% who say it is harmful.
In 2019, a medical review of 83 studies found that the evidence suggesting that cannabis could positively impact some mental conditions, including ADHD, is "scant" or "insufficient."
Then, in 2020, a small study of 112 adults with ADHD who used medical cannabis found that patients who used higher doses of cannabis components like CBD took lower doses of the other ADHD medications.
A 2021 study of 1,700 students found that those students diagnosed with ADHD self-reported that medical cannabis improved ADHD symptoms and lessened the adverse effects of traditional ADHD medications.
In conclusion, we still need much more research to determine whether cannabis could offer real benefits to adults with ADHD. We must highlight that in most states where the medical use of cannabis is legal, ADHD is not a qualifying condition for licensing.
In any case, to better understand how cannabis could help people with ADHD, we must first understand the differences and basic principles of the different types of cannabis and their different natural components. Based on the cannabinoid content, most dispensaries and dealers of cannabis products divide cannabis into two main categories:
- Marijuana is cannabis rich in Delta-9 THC, the famous psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for generating the high for which this plant is infamous and illegal in many states. Beyond this, if used correctly and in the proper doses, Delta-9 THC may have some therapeutic uses for some people. Nonetheless, we still need more research on this topic.
- Hemp is a type of cannabis rich in CBD, a cannabinoid with a therapeutic load equal to or greater than that of Delta-9 THC but not intoxicating or addictive. Hemp is federally legal, and so are products derived from it. Interestingly, CBD is the cannabinoid that has been drawing the attention of researchers worldwide due to the possible benefits it could bring to some ADHD patients.
- Sativa: These types of cannabis strains seem to have energizing effects.
- Indica: Indica cannabis strains have the characteristic of producing calming and analgic effects.
CBD ADHD Benefits
It is essential to point out that, in addition to the indica or sativa nature of each strain, each of the organic components of cannabis can generate effects when they act individually. These effects can be enhanced, diminished, or varied when they work in conjunction with the other natural components from this same plant.
Each cannabis variety brings a unique combination of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes responsible for generating the distinctive and particular effects each strain can cause. This is why some specific strains or components of cannabis may be less or more beneficial for certain specific conditions.
Such is the case with CBD. Some of those who advocate the use of CBD oil as a possible complementary treatment for ADHD suggest that:
- CBD could be more effective than some traditional medications.
- It could generate fewer side effects than other medications.
- There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that CBD oil could help with ADHD symptoms.
- It could lead to other mental health benefits.
While 70% to 80% of children diagnosed with ADHD report a reduction in symptoms after taking traditional stimulant medications, these same medications can often lead to side effects such as mood swings, appetite loss, and sleeping issues.
Much of the appeal of using CBD oil to supplement ADHD treatment is due to the side effects that traditional ADHD medications can cause. Research on the effects of CBD on people with ADHD is extremely scant. Although proponents have made several claims, in reality, most of the available information comes from pre-existing research on the smoked or ingested use of marijuana and not directly on the effects of CBD oil or other hemp-derived products.
Research on marijuana as a treatment for ADHD is minimal. Much of this information relies on or comes from self-reported data. Nonetheless, here are some informative findings:
A 2013 study of cannabis use and ADHD subtypes that collected data from 2,800 participants found that people who use marijuana to self-medicate may relieve symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity.
A 2017 study of adults with ADHD treated with the THC and CBD drug Sativex showed a minor reduction in ADHD symptoms without any cognitive impairment. However, these improvements were too small to make any kind of claim about using Sativex as a treatment for ADHD.
Another 2020 study found a relationship between higher doses of medical cannabis and a reduction in the use of traditional ADHD medications in adults, where products with higher CBD content are associated with lower ADHD scores.
Although the evidence on whether CBD oil can be helpful as a treatment for ADHD remains scarce, there is a belief that CBD could be useful to manage better some of the symptoms associated with this condition, such as anxiety and depression.
In fact, although we still need more research on the specific effects of CBD, some studies found that CBD could effectively reduce different anxiety conditions, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
Additionally, there is data suggesting that CBD may have antidepressant effects that might help treat depression related to ADHD. Either way, before deciding to start taking CBD oil, it's crucial to consider the information and research currently available and talk to your doctor before trying any alternative medications.
Best Cannabis Strains for ADHD
It's normal to need a little help concentrating, especially with ADHD. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that cannabis might provide support for some people to manage ADHD symptoms better.
But while the effects of cannabis are often generalized, the truth is that these effects can vary significantly depending on the cannabis strain and the unique blend of natural components it contains. THC can be focus-boosting for some and distracting for others.
CBD is non-psychoactive and does not produce a euphoric high. The combination of these cannabinoids can produce a mild high, making it an excellent choice for those seeking only a little brain activation. In addition to this, terpenes, flavonoids, and an Indica or Sativa bias can also significantly influence the potential each cannabis strain may have to assist with some of the symptoms of ADHD.
Although we cannot fully state that cannabis works as a treatment for ADHD, the uplifting and energizing effects of Sativa-dominant strains may help with some symptoms of this condition. Taking all these factors into account, some of the best cannabis strains for ADHD are:
Sour Breath is an almost wholly Sativa strain with a high THC content that can reach up to 24% and generate energizing effects. Sour Breath results from the crossing of Lamb's Bread and Sour Diesel and carries a terpene profile, producing a delicious smell of apricots.
Sour Breath floods users with mentally uplifting effects and boosts focus and energy. It is essential to moderate the doses of this variety, as an excessive dose could increase anxiety instead of calming it.
This potent Sativa strain can take its users to a new level of focus. Lucid Blue comes from the cross between Blue Dream and Grateful Breath strains, creating a powerful, uplifting variety with a classic blueberry and pepper smell.
Although Lucid Blue can contain up to 16% THC, in combination with its terpene profile and sativa nature, it can produce powerful effects that are ideal for users with a high tolerance. Therefore, it is advisable to be cautious with the dose.
The genetic origins of the Red Congolese strain are still under debate within the cannabis community. Many people believe it to be an African landrace, but this strain most likely has Mexican and Afghani roots, giving it its characteristic Indica-like appearance.
Red Congolese can contain an impressive 23% THC and deliver focus-enhancing and mental clarity-boosting effects. These energizing effects could potentially assist with some of the symptoms of ADHD. However, being a strain with such a high THC content and such powerful effects, it is vital to remain discreet and take care of the doses to be taken.
If you are looking for a genuinely stimulating strain that can increase your mental edge and focus, the Green Crack cannabis strain could be the one for you. Green Crack, also called Green Crush or Mango Crack, is a potent, almost entirely Sativa strain that results from crossing the Skunk #1 strain with an unknown Indica strain.
Green Crack, or Green Cush as it is also known, can contain up to 17% THC and a terpene profile in which myrcene predominates, the terpene responsible for the distinctive mango aroma that emanates from this variety.
Green Crack can also contain up to 1% CBG, which, together with the rest of the natural components of this crop, completes the highly invigorating and energetic effects produced by this strain.
Henry VIII is a balanced hybrid strain that comes from still-unknown genetics and can contain between 16% and 18% THC. Henry VIII could be a cannabis strain with the ability to help manage symptoms of depression, anxiety, and ADHD due to the energy-boosting and stimulating nature of its effects.
This strain promotes laughter, social mood, energy, and creativity in users, but its balanced hybrid effects also induce a bit of laziness and relieve stress as your body high develops.
GG4 is a potent hybrid strain with a slight Indica bent that goes by various names such as Original Glue, Gorilla Glue #4, or Gorilla Glue. GG4 could be an ideal strain for ADHD patients with particular difficulty relaxing, as this strain contains 20% THC and generates delivery-heavy effects that can leave more than one user glued to the couch.
GG4 unites the genetics of the Chem's Sister, Sour Dubb, and Chocolate Diesel strains. From this union of genetics also comes its characteristic and pungent earthy and sour aroma and its buds' chunky and resin-covered appearance.
Sativa or Indica for ADHD?
Determining the best type of cannabis to help deal with ADHD symptoms largely depends on the predominant symptoms, which can vary significantly from person to person.
But, taking into account the statistics and compared to traditional stimulant medications for ADHD, we could say that Sativa strains of cannabis could be ideal over Indica strains to help with this condition. This is because Sativa-dominant varieties tend to generate cerebral effects that stimulate focus, increase energy levels, and sharpen users' cognitive processes.
Nonetheless, depending on the person and the most recurrent ADHD symptoms, there are cases where a hybrid strain or even a slight Indica leaning could have better effects than a Sativa strain. Especially when the symptoms to be treated are more related to anxiety, stress, or depression derived from ADHD.
Whatever the case, it is always crucial to check the cannabinoid content of each strain rather than its Indica or Sativa leaning, as CBD might alleviate some of the symptoms of ADHD. Still, THC administered in doses that are too high can have a contrary effect and end up increasing anxiety or even inducing states of paranoia in some cases.
This is why it is vital to be careful with the dosage of the variety of cannabis you plan to use and to always consult with your doctor before using cannabis to help you deal with the symptoms of ADHD. Especially if you already take any other medication to deal with this condition.
Best Delta 8 Strain for ADHD
It should be noted that Delta-8 occurs naturally only in very low amounts and that strains marketed as Delta-8 are typically hemp-derived Delta-8-infused. Delta-8 THC could be a more gentle, manageable, and viable option for those wishing to experiment with cannabis as a complementary treatment for ADHD.
Delta-8 has very similar qualities to regular THC or Delta-9 THC, but in a significantly milder intensity that makes its effects not as invasive as they can be for some users. This also allows enthusiastic users who have never experienced any psychoactive effects to do so with less risk of "overdosing" on THC, which could lead to an increase in anxiety or the same ADHD-related symptoms sought to treat.
Considering all these factors, we can say that there are Delta-8 strains that are better for treating anxiety, just as there are other strains that are better for focus and creativity, and others with more physical effects that could be ideal for muscle relaxation.
So, this begs the question: what is the best Delta-8 strain to take for ADHD? We can't single out just one Delta-8 strain as "the best" to deal with this condition. But we have made a list of the best Delta-8 strains currently available on the market for you to choose for yourself:
Sour Hawaiian Haze
This is a delicious Sativa strain with sweet aromas of guava and mango and a Delta-8 content of up to 4.4% and 15% CBD. Delta-8 Sour Hawaiian Haze is an excellent daytime strain that produces energizing effects with little to no drowsiness.
Delta-8 Sour Lifter is a strain with a CBD content of 17% and up to 4.4% Delta-8, capable of delivering immediate energy and relief. This strain carries the sweet scents of juicy grapes and lemon peel and is the perfect Sativa strain to start the day in the right mood.
Sour Space Candy
Our Delta-8 Sour Space Candy is a high-quality hybrid strain that generates relaxing and soothing effects with its 4.4% Delta-8 content and up to 16% CBD packed into delicious buds with fruity, gassy, and diesel-like aromas, similar to those from GG4.
Delta-8 Sour Elektra is a tastier and more outrageous version of Elektra that packs 15% CBD and up to 4.4% Delta-8 content combined into zesty Sativa-dominant hybrid buds capable of promoting focus and increasing energy levels in its users.
If smoking is not your thing or none of these strains convince you, you can also try our Delta-8 THC gummies or a dose of our live resin Delta-8 tincture to see if it is effective or helps you in some way to cope better. with any of the symptoms of ADHD. But be sure to check with your doctor before doing so, as none of these products can replace traditional ADHD treatments.
It is important to first ensure that you can tolerate this cannabinoid or that it will not cause any adverse reactions with any other medications you take.