Research, Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, and More

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Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of several active compounds found in the cannabis plant.

It’s unclear whether CBD oil can help ease symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Although CBD has established benefits for certain mental health conditions, researchers are still trying to understand its effects on behavioral and neurological conditions.

Here’s what you need to know about the potential benefits, side effects, and more.

Research on CBD as a treatment for ADHD is sparse. Much of what we do know stems from research on cannabis as a whole and not the specific CBD compound.

Symptom management

Cannabis use and ADHD are both independently associated with impaired attention, inhibition, and functioning.

Because of this, many researchers theorize that cannabis use would exacerbate existing ADHD symptoms. However, there isn’t any evidence to support or contradict this.

One 2015 study explored the relationship between ADHD, depression, and marijuana use in undergraduate students. Although the researchers established that some students used marijuana to cope with depressive symptoms, its overall effect on these symptoms was unclear.

A 2013 study on ADHD subtype and cannabis use also posed interesting results. After collecting data from 2,811 current cannabis users, researchers found that people who used cannabis daily self-reported symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity when not using cannabis.

More research is needed to truly understand what benefits, if any, CBD may pose in ADHD management.

Substance abuse

Most research is around ADHD as a risk factor for developing substance use disorder.

One 2014 study assessed cannabis use and ADHD symptoms in 376 undergraduate students.

The researchers found that current and childhood inattention were associated with more severe cannabis use and dependency.

They also found that participants who demonstrated hyperactive-impulsive behavior as children began to use cannabis earlier than participants who did not.

A separate 2017 study assessed 197 students of the same age group but looked more broadly at the role of impulsivity in young adults with ADHD and risk factors for alcohol and drug abuse.

The authors concluded that young people with ADHD were more likely to use illicit drugs and alcohol.

When you consume CBD oil, the compounds engage with two receptors in your body. These receptors, known as CB1 and CB2, have a direct effect on specific parts of your body.

CB1 is more abundant in the brain and is directly related to epilepsy. CB2 is more abundant in the immune system. It’s connected to pain and inflammation.

The compounds from CBD trigger your body to use more of the cannabinoids it produces naturally. Your body doesn’t actually use any of the compounds found in the oil.

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