Written by Tara Boustany on
January 16, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Tara Boustany on:

Do you suffer from ADHD? Are you interested to know more about CBD oils? Is CBD oil good for ADHD in adults?

These days, it’s difficult to come across an online community that isn’t talking about CBD oil.

CBD oil, containing the CBD cannabinoid and derived from the cannabis plant, is used to help with many mental and physical problems. It has been shown to help treat epilepsy. It is also thought to ease pain, anxiety, mood problems, and even acne.

Today, cannabidiol oil shows promise for ADHD symptom management. But, when it comes to ADHD, any such claims are only that: claims. In fact, a lot more clinical trials are needed to test the potential benefits of CBD oil in ADHD.

If you want to know what the research reveals about CBD oil and ADHD, keep reading!

What exactly is CBD?

Cannabis sativa is one of the most popular illicit recreational substances in Western culture. Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two major cannabinoids found in the plant.

THC handles the euphoric effects, while CBD lacks psychoactive properties. The human body contains an endocannabinoid system in the brain.

CBD interacts with its receptors, possibly producing beneficial effects. CBD is available in many different forms such as oils, capsules, edibles, sublingual spray, teas, or vaporized oil.

FDA Approval and Potential Treatment

Epidiolex is the only CBD containing medication approved for two different indications:

  • The treatment of seizures is associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome. Both are two severe forms of epilepsy.
  •  The treatment of seizures associated with tuberculosis sclerosis complex.

Although CBD is only FDA-approved for two uses, it is being studied to treat a variety of conditions. Examples include:

Yet, further research needs to be conducted to fully understand the effects of CBD in these different conditions.

CBD Safety and Side Effects

CBD is generally considered to be safe. Yet, some people can experience adverse effects.

The major side effects of CBD are:

  • Skin rash
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Infections
  • Drowsiness, weakness, fatigue, insomnia, lethargy, malaise, sedated state, sleep disorder, sleep disturbance
  • Fever
  • Liver damage

Is CBD legal? 

The legality of CBD oil varies by state. As more research is being done on CBD, more states may legalize it, resulting in greater availability.

Before taking CBD, double-check your state’s rules or those you travel to. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products haven’t been approved by the FDA, so their labels may be inaccurate.

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder usually diagnosed in childhood. It is mainly characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity.

ADHD affects 4-12% of school-aged children worldwide and 4-5% of college-aged students and adults. Symptoms can lead to school or work problems, reduced confidence, and strained relationships.

Effective treatment for ADHD usually entails the use of strong medication and therapy. Alternative treatment such as CBD is becoming more popular due to its soothing yet effective nature.

Why CBD oil over conventional medicine?

Talk therapy, medication, and behavior management are all common ADHD treatments. However, the adverse effects of ADHD medications don’t usually occur with cannabis products.

As a result, some people may be tempted to use CBD for symptom reduction. CBD oil has a calming effect that is beneficial for people who suffer from anxiety or insomnia.

The advantage of a CBD product over conventional medicines is that CBD usually has little to no side effects. CBD products have risen in popularity throughout the years, which has made them appealing to a large number of people.

Always talk to your doctor before making any decisions about the use of your medications.

Is CBD oil good for ADHD in adults? What the Research Says

The majority of the research on CBD and ADHD is still in its early stages. To date, several claims have been made about the entire cannabis plant rather than just isolating the CBD cannabinoid.

More studies on CBD oil uses for ADHD are required before firm conclusions can be made. However, early studies suggest that it may be beneficial.

Studies show that people reported more hyperactivity or impulsiveness when not taking cannabis.

A 2016 study investigated the link between ADHD, depression, and marijuana use among students. Some students used marijuana to cope with their depressive symptoms. But, the overall impact of marijuana on these symptoms was unclear.

Another 2017 study looked at ADHD patients who took Sativex, which is a drug containing both CBD and THC. A modest reduction in ADHD symptoms was observed even though improvements were minimal.

One review article on CBD and ADHD concluded that there was a lack of human-controlled studies on the topic.

Another review article looked at the link between endocannabinoid system dysfunction and ADHD. Similar to some conditions like depression, ADHD could be an endocannabinoid deficiency disorder. Cannabinoids like CBD may affect these conditions — but this requires further studies.

Thus, to fully comprehend the potential advantages of CBD in ADHD management, extra study is needed.

CBD Oil and ADHD Symptoms

Although CBD oil may not be a treatment for ADHD, it may help with certain symptoms that many people deal with. Individuals with ADHD frequently suffer from anxiety, which can exacerbate their symptoms. There’s some evidence that CBD oil may help decrease anxiety symptoms.

A 2016 case backed up previous claims by researchers that CBD might be helpful in alleviating anxiety and sleep issues in children. Yet, further study is required to determine the impact of this treatment in a large group.

A 2013 research also looked at the connection between ADHD symptoms and cannabis use. People with subtypes of ADHD characterized by hyperactivity and impulsivity had a higher chance of consuming cannabis on a daily basis to alleviate their symptoms than those with inattentive subtypes of ADHD.

However, the cause of this subjective symptom relief is not known. Also, this research only looked at cannabis as a whole rather than just the CBD compound. More studies on ADHD and CBD alone may help to highlight its potential as a treatment.

How much CBD do I need for ADHD? 

Because there is so little CBD and ADHD research, there aren’t any guidelines on dosage.

It’s usually recommended to start with a tiny quantity of CBD per day and gradually increase it as needed. The majority of CBD brands recommend starting with 10 to 20 milligrams a day.

For children, it could be an even lower dosage. Before using health products like CBD, it is critical to consult with your doctor. If your doctor recommends you use CBD, they can help you determine the best dosage for you.

Substance Use Disorder

Cannabis and ADHD have been studied in studies that consider ADHD to be a risk factor for developing substance use disorder.

In one 2014 study, cannabis use and ADHD symptoms were assessed in 376 undergraduate students. Inattention problems and childhood inattention problems were associated with more severe addiction. Also, participants with hyperactive-impulsive behaviors as kids started using cannabis sooner.

In a 2017 study, researchers assessed 197 students in the same age group. It examined the role of impulsivity in young people with ADHD and risk factors for alcohol and drug abuse. The researchers concluded that youngsters with ADHD were more likely to consume alcohol and illicit drugs.

Can you give CBD to children?

There have been only a few studies on child CBD use. This is owing to marijuana’s negative image, its psychotropic component THC, and CBD. Epidiolex can be used to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy in children and adults as well. The only types of reports on CBD in children are case studies or individual experiences reported through researchers.

In one 2013 report, parents were asked to complete a Facebook poll about giving CBD-enriched cannabis to their child to treat epilepsy. Nineteen parents said they had given it to their kid. Side effects reported were drowsiness and tiredness.

In another 2015 on Facebook, parents of children with epilepsy stated that they administered CBD products to their child. Regular CBD usage has helped improve sleep, alertness, and mood.

Many of the testimonials about CBD in kids focus on those with epilepsy, much like these surveys. Some reports have addressed issues such as autism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

CBD hasn’t been researched particularly for the treatment of ADHD in children. Thus, it’s wise to consult with your child’s pediatrician before giving your youngster CBD.

The Bottom Line

CBD’s ability to assist ADHD treatment and managing ADHD symptoms is still being researched. Yet, CBD research has a long way to go before we truly understand how it works and whether it is safe.

Here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • The research done on Cannabidiol to treat ADHD looks promising. But, long-term clinical trials need to be done.
  • CBD regulations are different in each state, and you should thoroughly research the laws in your state before using them.
  • CBD products are not FDA-approved for treating ADHD. This implies that the quality and dosage might differ between one distributor and another.
  • There is very little clinical data on CBD use in children.
  • Always consult with your doctor about any alternative health approaches you use. They will give you their professional medical advice. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.

Click here to get more information on whether you or someone you know has ADHD, anxiety, or depression, and join the online community.

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