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  • ADD & ADHD

CBD Oil for ADHD: Evidence, Benefits and How to Use it

Under: ADD & ADHD, General Health

These days, it seems like you can’t throw a rock without knocking over a bottle or two of CBD oil. This naturally occurring chemical derived from the marijuana plant is everywhere right now, from wellness supplements to skincare products, and even pet supplies.  

So, what exactly is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, an active ingredient found in the Cannabis sativa plant. When we hear the word “cannabis,” we automatically think of marijuana — aka weed, pot, ganja, etc. But that’s not always the case. 

There are over 100 active chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. The most abundant are CBD and THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is what gives marijuana its mind-altering effects and the characteristic “high” or euphoric sensation that also decreases pain, promotes appetite and reduces nausea. CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive. In other words, consuming CBD in any form (topically, orally, smoked, etc.) won’t get you high or impair your motor skills in any way. 

There’s been a lot of research on the topic of cannabis — particularly CBD oil — lately. The soundest scientific evidence is for its effects treating two severe and rare forms of childhood epilepsy that don’t respond well to anti-seizure medications. In fact, back in 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first-ever cannabis-derived medication for treating individuals with these complex and devastating disorders. 

And there’s also evidence, both empirical and anecdotal, that CBD oil may help treat or at least improve many health concerns, like:

  • Arthritis or joint pain
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep issues
  • Migraine
  • Nausea
  • Chronic pain
  • Drug addiction or withdrawal
  • Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • IBS and IBD

CBD oil for ADHD: What the science says

To date, there hasn’t been a ton of research done on the subject of CBD and ADHD. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, is typically treated with a combination of prescription medications and behavior therapy. The goal is to manage disruptive behaviors and learn ways to channel energy to avoid instances of impulsivity and inattention.

Is CBD oil a treatment for adult ADHD?

Although there’s no evidence that CBD oil or cannabis use can treat ADHD, advocates of CBD hemp oil for mental health believe cannabidiol may indirectly help relieve some symptoms of ADHD. 

According to a 2020 review of studies in the Journal of Cannabis Research, CBD oil may improve many of the symptoms associated with neurological disorders. More specifically, the researchers reported that CBD showed promising results as a therapy for generalized anxiety, social anxiety, hyperactivity, and insomnia — all of which are common effects of ADHD. 

A 2013 study of more than 2,000 participants also found that adults with ADHD that used cannabis products reported less hyperactivity and impulsivity. Nevertheless, several randomized-control clinical trials have concluded with inconclusive or non-relevant results. 

Is CBD for ADHD safe? Are there side effects?

Just because CBD products are legal (when they contain less than 0.3% THC) and easily accessible, it doesn’t mean they’re always safe. For starters, it’s important to remember that there haven’t been any studies showing the safety or effectiveness of cannabis products for ADHD. 

The quality, potency, and pureness of the CBD oil you purchase will also play a huge role in how your body responds to it. Only buy products that have a third-party certificate analysis, or COA, that confirms that whatever’s written on the label are the true ingredients and concentration of the product. 

Side effects of CBD oil tend to be mild and short-lived, but until more research is conducted, we won’t know the potential long-term effects of using it to treat ADHD. That being said, top-quality CBD oil seems to be well-tolerated at doses up to 1,500 mg in both children and adults. 

Common side effects of CBD oil include:

  • Interactions with other medications
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Changes in appetite
  • Upset stomach
  • Mood changes
  • Headaches

How to use CBD oil for ADHD 

If you want to try CBD oil as an alternative treatment for ADHD, it’s important to remember that:

  • There isn’t any scientific evidence that CBD or other cannabis derivatives directly improve ADHD.
  • CBD oil is not a substitute for your regular ADHD treatment, whether it is medications, therapy, or both.
  • Quality matters; just because a CBD product says it’s “natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Always buy from reputable sources and talk to your doctor before taking a new supplement. 

The easiest and most popular way of consuming CBD is as an oil extract. You may also find CBD-infused products like gummies, lollipops, and beverages online or in some pharmacies and health stores.