can marijuana treat ADD/ADHD

Anecdotal and scientific evidence suggests cannabis could help ease the symptoms of ADD/ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, widely known as ADHD, is most often diagnosed in children, and generally presents with excessive distractibility, poor impulse control, and hyperactivity.

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Adult patients, as well as some adolescents, may receive a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD, which has similar characteristics with a lack of hyperactivity.

Traditionally, pharmacological treatments prescribed for ADHD and ADD include Adderal and Ritalin, both of which have a similar molecular makeup to cocaine.

As is the case with many diagnoses it is believed to aid, the evidence for marijuana’s benefit to patients with ADD and ADHD is mostly anecdotal. Due to a lack of legality and available human patients, there has been very little scientific research into the effects of cannabis on people affected by these diagnoses. But the reports that do reach us are largely positive.

A lack of dopamine production in the brain is believed to be a contributing factor to the development of attention disorders, and could help to explain why cannabis offers relief to some patients.

Like the pharmaceuticals prescribed to patients, cannabis can promote the production of dopamine in the brain. While traditional medications tend to have strong adverse side effects, however, cannabis is known for producing more mild, transient effects. 1

Read More: What is CBD?

ADD/ADHD and weed

There are many safe and minimally psychoactive options for cannabis treatment.

One of the few studies on the effects of cannabis on patients with attention disorders was undertaken in Germany in early 2015. The study investigated the effect of cannabis on 30 patients with ADHD who had failed in the past to find relief through traditional treatment.2

Notably, all 30 patients confirmed an improvement in concentration and ability to sleep , as well as a reduction in impulsivity. Following the study, nearly three quarters of the patients decided to continue medicating their ADHD with cannabis in lieu of the pharmaceutical treatments. 3

The primary argument from dissenters – that cannabis generally diminishes a user’s ability to focus – is addressed by Dr. David Bearman, who points out the significant fact that cannabis affects those with attention deficit disorders (those who require an increase of dopamine) differently than those without the diagnosis (those who do not require an increase of dopamine). 4

Other case studies and research regarding cannabis as treatment for ADHD suggest that low doses of THC – the psychoactive compound in cannabis – may be all that is required for positive results.

While more research is undeniably needed before cannabis can be named a confirmed treatment for ADD and ADHD, the natural method does show promise and further study is being pursued.


Cannabis isn’t the only natural treatment that can result in positive changes for people with ADHD and ADD. A recent article from Cognitune, 12 Best Adderal Alternatives, shares a dozen natural products that can help patients deal with ADD and ADHD without meth-like Adderal, which has the potential to become chemically addictive and damage the Central Nervous System. Though they must still be used with care, these herbs can offer a safer alternative to pharmaceuticals.

Review our Medical Benefits section to learn more about how medical cannabis affects the body and aids numerous conditions and symptoms.

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2German study

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