Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, more commonly known as ADHD, is a neurological condition that, if not treated, can cause difficulties in the daily lives of people suffering from it.

Symptoms of ADHD

Symptoms of ADHD usually manifest before the person is 6 years of age and may continue in to adulthood. In addition, these symptoms can be classified into two different types of behavioural disorders.

Attention deficit, including signs such as:

  • Short attention period
  • difficulty fulfilling long tasks
  • difficulty listening to instructions
  • forgetfulness or loss of memory

Hyperactivity and impulsivity, which includes signs such as:

  • constant restlessness
  • talking excessively
  • difficulty concentrating
  • little or no sense of danger

Treatment of ADHD with cannabinoids

Although there is a wide range of medications and behavioural therapies for people with ADHD, several studies have suggested that the endocannabinoid system can play an important role in the treatment of this condition. A study with rats found that those presenting the symptoms of impulsivity had a lack of density in their CB1 receptors, therefor suggesting that an increase in the amount of cannabinoids consumed causes a reduction of the intensity of the impulsivity of patients with ADHD.

Most studies on ADHD have been carried out in children. This is one of the reasons why the effects of this disease on adults are somewhat unknown. This, in turn, implies that it is a little difficult to find treatments that work. However, a study

[1] conducted last year by Kings College in London aimed to test the effects of cannabinoids for the treatment of ADHD in adults. Participants (a group of adults with non-medicated ADHD) were randomly assigned. Half of them received a cannabinoid treatment while the other half received a placebo. The researcher’s goal was to monitor the cognitive performance, activity, emotional responsibility and levels of behaviour of ADHD, while participants were administered with the drug or the placebo.

The results of this study showed that in the active group there was a significant difference in the levels of hyperactivity, as well as in the levels of lack of attention and emotional responsibility. They found that the treatment with cannabinoids did not have negative effects on the levels of cognitive performance, which surprised many people because of the association between cannabis and a decrease in cognitive performance.

On the other hand, the researchers suggested that improvements in impulsivity may be due to the anxiolytic effects of CBD and THC. The relaxing effects caused by cannabinoids may have been the reason for the decrease in general behaviours associated with ADHD.

There are also a number of psychological conditions that can manifest along with ADHD, including depression, anxiety, sleep conditions, among others. In this sense, studies have also suggested that the use of cannabinoids can be successful in the treatment of these types of conditions. Not only thanks to the positive effects of the medicinal cannabis plant but also because, being a natural substance, it does not have negative side effects.

[1] Cooper, R.E., et al., Cannabinoids in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A randomised-controlled trial. European Neuropsycho