Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) includes symptoms like struggling to focus, making impulsive decisions, and feeling uber-fidgety or chatty. This can make life feel a bit like a daily game of whack o’ mole.
So, can turning to CBD help you chill out and focus if you have ADHD?
Cannabidiol, aka CBD, is just one of many cannabis and hemp plants extracts. CBD isn’t the compound that will get you high, but research shows that it may have promising effects to help anxiety, depression, and chronic pain conditions.
So, if you experience similar symptoms, it is possible that taking CBD for your ADHD *might* bring you a sense of calm.
Folks who stan CBD love to talk about its calming effects. But that doesn’t make it a surefire #win for ADHD because:
- There just haven’t been enough studies. 🤷
- Some research has focused on cannabis as a whole. It’s tough to determine whether positive results are due to CBD or one of the plant’s many other compounds.
One study of 30 adults with ADHD found that those who used a 1:1 CBD/THC mouth spray exhibited slight improvements in impulsiveness and hyperactivity compared to the placebo group. But researchers said the CBD mixture didn’t seem to make a difference in cognitive function.
Another study of 59 patients linked high doses of cannabinol (CBN) — a different cannabis compound — with lower self-reported ADHD symptoms.
Still, a recent review of 23 studies found enough evidence to give CBD a grade B recommendation (“moderate”) for use against ADHD.
Scientists are still trying to decode CBD’s role in the endocannabinoid system — a lush network of neurotransmitters that influence everything from appetite to memory. CBD seems to influence those neurotransmitters, which explains why it’s touted as a remedy for all 👏 the 👏 things 👏.
We can’t stress enough that research is ongoing. But current evidence suggests that CBD can:
- reduce seizures (CBD’s only FDA-approved product use, BTW)
- calm stress and anxiety
- soothe chronic pain
- improve sleep
- help clear up skin probs like eczema and psoriasis
- boost overall feelings of well-being
PSA: Some CBD products have been sold under false, unproven claims. Research a product and company before you buy. Choose wisely.
Whether used to help soothe anxiety, calm ADHD, or rev up libido, CBD has a reputation for causing minor side effects.
Possible reactions include:
- light psychoactive effects (likely from full-spectrum CBD, which contains THC)
It’s always best to talk with your doctor before trying a new ADHD treatment — even one as low risk as CBD. And the following populations should consider steering clear altogether:
- Anyone taking prescription meds. CBD doesn’t mix well with certain medications. If you’re taking meds for ADHD or any other condition, check with your doctor before adding CBD to the rotation.
- Pregnant or nursing people. If this is you, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says to avoid CBD and other cannabis-based products.
- Kids. Older 2014 research linked childhood and adolescent cannabis use with a higher risk of cognitive problems. It’s tricky to determine whether this was caused by a specific cannabis compound (THC, CBD, CBN, etc.) or cannabis in general. If your kiddo has ADHD, talk with their doctor before offering CBD.
Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.
CBD could be a low risk remedy for stress, anxiety, sleep probs, and general scatterbrained-ness. But remember, it’s *not* an approved ADHD treatment.
Some things to consider:
- CBD is not strictly regulated. The FDA doesn’t put CBD products under the same microscope that it uses for prescription drugs. It’s still a bit of a Wild West out there. Companies might sell bad products — or even good products with false claims.
- CBD research is still happening. We could know more about CBD’s effects on ADHD any day now. For now, do your due diligence and talk with your doctor before adding CBD to your routine.
- CBD products vary — a lot. This can be a pro or con! It might take time (and $) to figure out the best CBD product for your tastes, budget, and goals.
Bottom line: Only you and your doc can decide if you should take CBD oil — or any other CBD product! — for ADHD.
Wanna give CBD a whirl? Research is so limited that we can’t recommend a specific type or dose for ADHD.
Here are a few ways to reap the rewards of CBD.
- Oils and tinctures. Arguably the most well-known CBD product, these liquids are an easy, portable way to get full-body effects quickly. Remember that they’re not pre-dosed, so read the label and start with the lowest possible amount.
- Pills and capsules. These CBD supplements are also convenient and portable. Plus, they’re less likely to have that not-so-pleasant cannabis flavor.
- Gummies and edibles. All the benefits of a softgel, but way yummier.
Regardless of the CBD you choose, always start with the lowest possible dose.
If CBD doesn’t sound like the right fit for you, consider these other ADHD treatments or remedies:
- behavior therapy
- support groups
- certain essential oils
- doctor-prescribed meds like central nervous system stimulants or nonstimulant medications containing norepinephrine
Research on CBD for ADHD is still super limited. We need more studies to understand how much this cannabis compound can squash hyperactivity, impulsivity, or lack of focus.
However, science says CBD may help soothe anxiety, stress, and disrupted sleep. If your ADHD experience includes those symptoms, taking CBD might help.
Since CBD seems to be low risk for most people, it might be a helpful tool in your focus and productivity kit. But if you’re taking any prescription meds or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before adding CBD to your routine.