What is ADD/ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children and can continue through to adulthood.
There are three main categories of this condition:
- Inattentive: difficulty focusing or staying focused on a task or activity
- Hyperactive-impulsive: excessive activity and impulsivity
- Combined: focusing problems plus excessive activity and impulsivity
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, individuals can experience difficulty focusing and inattentive behaviour as well as difficulty with impulse control. It can also affect short term memory and result in difficulty completing tasks as well as problems with intrusiveness and privacy.
It is believed that ADD/ADHD is caused by a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. It is also believed that these individuals may have decreased levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in managing attention, task orientation and activity. This condition is estimated to effect 6-9% of children and young adults and approximately 5% of adults worldwide. It is also three times more likely to occur in boys than girls.
How Can Cannabis Help?
Current treatments for ADD and ADHD include prescription medications, psychoeducation, special supervision, individual psychotherapy and social skill classes. Cannabis is also being researched for its benefits for ADD/ADHD patients.
As ADHD is linked to lower dopamine levels, cannabis is an excellent therapy. As proven in a 2017 study, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is able to boost short-term dopamine levels to help balance the brain. They also found that too much THC over a long period can actually dull these senses, so THC is best used in moderate amounts to manage ADD/ADHD symptoms.
While additional studies looking at the effects of cannabis on ADD/ADHD patients are minimal, there have been some positive correlations thus far. In a 2016 study, researchers data mined hundreds of customer experiences and found that approximately 25% of individuals had a positive experience using cannabis for their ADHD. This was corroborated by a 2017 trial study that reviewed the effects of cannabis on ADHD individuals, finding improvements in cognitive ability and focus.
Best Cannabis Strains for ADD/ADHD
Every ADD/ADHD case is slightly different. Therefore, it is best to test different strains such as high THC, low THC, high CBD or one-to-one options to determine which is best. Some of the most popular strains for managing ADD/ADHD symptoms include:
One of the more popular Sativa cannabis strains, Jack Herer produces energizing and creative effects that help the individual to focus and get things done!
This strain also happens to be high in the terpene, pinene, which has been linked to reduced breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter found in the brain. This transmitter, as well as dopamine, have been linked to memory, attention and learning making this strain and terpene combination a potent contender for ADD/ADHD patients.
While Sativa’s are best in small doses for ADHD/ADD patients, due to their energizing qualities, they can also be helpful for creating focus. Sour Diesel is excellent for invigorating the mind and boosting energy and creativity. This strain typically has long-lasting effects making it an excellent option for managing symptoms during the day.
Northern Lights is a popular Indica strain that produces a buzzing euphoric along with relaxing physical effects. This strain is highly effective for managing anxiety, which is common with ADD/ADHD patients. It can also help reduce pain, assist with insomnia and even balance lack of appetite. Northern Lights is a great option for the end of a busy day, or a before bed toke.
This is a mellow and relaxing Indica strain. Despite the heavy Indica genetics, Master Kush leaves its users feeling uplifted and wanting to engage in creative activities. This strain simultaneously relaxes the body and mind to help release any anxiety and stress. Perfect for evening relaxation, Master Kush will help rock you to sleep after your creative endeavours.
Blue Dream is a near-perfect hybrid with balanced Indica and Sativa effects. This strain produces an electrifying and energetic high that is accompanied by body relaxation. This is beneficial to ADD/ADHD patients as Blue Dream can help to invigorate the mind and boost creativity and focus, as well as settling the body.
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