In the US, the diagnosis of ADHD and ADD have increased dramatically in the past few decades. In the 1980s, one in twenty children were diagnosed with ADHD. However, today that statistic is more around one in nine children. ADHD and ADD are gaining ground in schools, and critically affects development.
The cause for this rise is complicated, with many people believing that the marketing strategies pharmaceutical companies use are the reason for an increase in diagnoses, due to the apparent increase of lobbying efforts around the world. Including France and Italy. The motives of these lobbyists are to remove the restrictions on the sales of treatment.
Another reason may be due to the spreading definition of ADHD. DSM-5 lists the criteria for ADHD, explaining that the symptoms are most prevalent in adolescence and the developmental stages. Symptoms include failure to keep attention on many things (such as homework, work, etc.), trouble listening, following instructions, organizing, easily distracted, and more. The distinction between ADHD and ADD is hyperactivity, which DSM-5 defines as six or more criteria. This includes fidgeting hands, feet, squirming, running/climbing, trouble waiting, interrupts others, and more. Other criteria must be met in order to be diagnosed as ADHD or ADD, which is unclear to many parents.
The issue is that many children have these tendencies, and some studies claim that nearly as many as one million children have been misdiagnosed with ADHD. As of 2014, over six million children between four and seventeen have been diagnosed with ADHD. A misdiagnosis can result with a prescription for powerful medications to treat it, even though many children simply have few of these traits. Educational systems usually do not tolerate these behaviors, and the awareness of ADHD has only increased over the years as curriculum changes. Common prescriptions include Adderall or Ritalin, which both have relatively high dependencies with habitual use. Nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, and dizziness are side effects of these medications.
In 2016, approximately 9.4% of children ages 2-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. While this is technically lower than that of 2010, survey methods differed and changed the age gap. It has increased from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007, and eventually 11.0% in 2011, according to the CDC. One in three children with ADHD had anxiety, while two in three had one other mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder.
Clearly, ADHD is more prevalent than ever before, and perhaps what is used as a first option should rather be used after close consideration. The common medications used to treat ADHD/ADD are statistically redundant to those who were misdiagnosed.
CBD and ADHD/ADD
CBD is gaining ground in the research field. Every day there is more and more research behind the ways CBD interacts with other drugs, other ailments, and in general treatment of things like nausea, arthritis, anxiety, and much more. However, the relationship of ADHD/ADD and CBD have not been explored extensively yet. Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence is all there really is and hardly any randomized clinical trials. The review of CBD and ADHD/ADD calls for more research before any claims can be made.
Disclaimer: FDA laws require us to acknowledge CBD as a food product, and in no way treats or cures any of the ailments/conditions listed. CBD can interact with other drugs. Due to the entourage effect, CBD may alter the effectiveness of other drugs. Please contact your physician for questions regarding CBD and your medication.
CBD is the non-psychoactive cousin of THC and is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids in hemp and marijuana. A great benefit that CBD has is simply for being non-psychoactive, which means it will never get anyone the “high” effect that THC will give, and will also not show up on a drug test. CBD will provide many of the health benefits that THC does not give in isolates. CBD monitors metabolism, BP, and even a promising medication for pre-diabetics. ADHD/ADD is a biological problem in the brain, as there is an imbalance between the serotonin/dopamine neuroreceptors. The endocannabinoid system in the brain has specific CB1 and CB2 receptors that help monitor other parts of the brain.
Hyperactivity and short attention span are necessary criteria behind ADHD. A study in 2012 tested three different rat groups between social interactions. Rats that were exposed to three mg of cannabidiol (CBD) improved over the control group by decreasing hyperactivity significantly. The second group that was exposed to clozapine also improved in this area but did not affect their attention span.
A qualitative analysis of online forums conducted here reviewed over two hundred forums discussing cannabis and ADHD. While cannabis has THC, 25% of individuals claimed cannabis as therapeutic for ADHD, while 8% said it was harmful, 5% saying both, and 2% saying that cannabis has no effect.
The self-medication hypothesis claims that substance abuse could be reliant under other medical issues. This means that people with ADHD or ADD (or other behavioral disorders) could be prone to a dependency of other drugs. Some studies conclude that these symptoms are significant factors in cannabis abuse.
Marijuana has many cannabinoids, and is psychoactive. CBD is non-psychoactive, and has promising research behind anxiety, mania, and mood disorders.
Anxiety and Other Symptoms
People with ADHD and ADD are more prone to major depressive disorder, anxiety and insomnia. These symptoms are major life-changing aspects for people. For a child, these can change the life at home, while causing difficulty in the developmental stages. Anxiety is prevalent not only in ADHD victims, but also the medications given to treat it. It can make things difficult to beat and to get help.
Research with the relationship between CBD and anxiety is much stronger than that of ADHD. Research studies suggest that CBD is more than capable of treating anxiety among PTSD victims, and also in aiding falling asleep. CBD is known for giving a calmer feeling, which of course could help anxiety, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) studies.
Research is certainly needed in order to prove the effectiveness of CBD for people with ADHD. The relationship of ADHD/ADD and CBD is currently too dependant on anecdotal evidence. The vast increase of diagnosis of ADHD among children calls for more research as well. As we can see, the symptoms of ADHD and the side effects from medications could result in anxiety and a disturbance in the child’s’ growth. Hemp-derived CBD is safe for animals such as dogs, cats, and is also safe for people.
Consider researching the self-medication hypothesis before trying medical cannabis or CBD oil. The general claim it makes is that people with addictive traits, such as disorders, are more dependant on some drugs.
If you are looking to use CBD to treat the symptoms of ADHD/ADD, contact your physician first to understand the interactions of other medications you may be taking.