Marijuana and ADHD? — ADHD Tip O the Day 918

Does Marijauna help with ADHD?

I recently answered this question about marijuana (weed, pot) on another website. My answer stimulated a lot of controversy. 

My answer began, “I don’t recommend marijuana. “

Apparently some people took this as my being against marijuana, against marijuana users, and against themselves personally. Some were quite passionate. Several said weed really helped them with ADHD.  That’s personal experience and I have no reason to disbelieve them, although I’ve never heard, seen, or read of this anywhere else.

What I meant was, ‘I do not recommend marijuana for ADHD.’

It’s possible that some of the responders are involved in the marijuana business. If so, they’d be more knowledgeable than I am, but is it possible that they might also be a little bit biased?

My view:
1. Marijuana can be helpful for a number of things, chronic pain, for example, where it’s approved for medical use.

2.  I’ve seen no research supporting use of marijuana for ADHD nor any patients who it helped with ADHD. I’ve seen some research against it.  Research reports are based on averages. There are always some exceptions, people at one end or the other of the bell shaped curve.

3.  Research shows that marijuana is harmful to the developing brain, up to around age 25. This is slightly controversial.  Marijuana can cause various problems, can be addictive, can precipitate psychosis in susceptible adolescents. It’s probably not as bad as alcohol. Both are damaging with heavy chronic use.

4. I support legalization of marijuana, for several reasons.

5. I think CBD oil can supply many of the same benefits as marijuana without the drawbacks (and without the high.) I use it to help with leg cramps and sometimes with insomnia. 

6. There are many ways to use marijuana without smoking it. Smoking any substance is bad for your health.

7. Research shows that it can be difficult to know what strain of marijuana you’re buying, and that there may not be much difference between the various strains. This is controversial also.

8. If you’re using pot for ADHD and it helps, great, as long as it’s not causing you problems (check this with someone who knows you well, preferably a non-user) and if you’re not smoking it.  Still, I’d worry about long term effects if you’re a heavy daily user.  Have you tried CBD?  A few people who use CBD for other medical reasons say it works best if there’s a  little THC with it.

Comments?

doug

 

Links:

About marijuana

Cannabis use disorder

Recreational Use

CBD and med interactions  I haven’t read this anywhere else.

Song O the Day  link

#ADHD, @addstrategies, @adhdstrategies, @dougmkpdp

 

Does pot help ADHD?

 

 

About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at amazon.com, or smashwords.com (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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14 Responses to Marijuana and ADHD? — ADHD Tip O the Day 918

  1. lauJ says:

    I’m so happy to have found your resources. I’m also a Santa Fe resident. Do you currently have a practice?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lau- glad you found them. hope you find the blog enjoyable and useful and that you will contribute comments. I love the comments. i closed my practice years ago, just writing now. welcome to the tribe
      best wishes
      doug

      Like

  2. rammkatze says:

    Hi Doug
    I’ve read ADHDers commenting on internet forums that smoking marijuana is (or was at some point) a form of self-medication (much like copious amounts of coffee, which gives everyone else a buzz, but seems to soothe use ADHDers). But this is anecdotal evidence, of course. In Germany, the use of methylphenidate on adults is advised against for people who have previous history of drug abuse, including marijuana.
    As for the effects of long-term use of marijuana on the brain, one could always argue that it is also true of almost any substance, including ADHD prescription drugs.
    I’m sticking to my methylphenidate. I tried marijuana many years ago and only got a massive headache from it. No buzz at all. I peg this down to not being neurotypical. But who knows?

    Like

    • ram – yes, we’re wired different and react to meds, and drugs I guess, different. the use of any of the stimulants is advised with great caution and careful monitoring with anyone with history of substance abuse, and yet we have a higher incidence of substance abuse than vanillas. often strattera or one of the other alternatives is tried first. I’m not aware of long tern effects with the meds except some studies show that the brain becomes somewhat more normal with them.
      lots of complicated stuff here and i sure don’t understand all of it, just try to keep up with the studies
      thanks again for your comments
      best wishes
      doug

      Like

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think you make a lot of good points above. Marijuana, like any drug that alters brain function, has its good points and bad points. I am a psychiatrist and have seen, professionally and personally, marijuana ruin the lives of many young people, especially young men (males seem far more likely to become addicted to marijuana than females). The fact that heavy use in adolescence can nearly double the rate of developing schizophrenia is reason enough to be wary. The CDC has done some studies to show that legalization has also resulted in a number of problems that weren’t predicted (for example, increase in motor vehicle accidents in young people and also certain types of crime). Overall…I believe it is less dangerous a drug than alcohol. But it is definitely not harmless or “safe” for many people.

    Like

    • anon – thank you for commenting and contributing, and for all the good work you’ve done.
      best wishes
      doug

      Like

    • rammkatze says:

      “The fact that heavy use in adolescence can nearly double the rate of developing schizophrenia is reason enough to be wary.”
      But is it causation or is it correlation? If a brain is hard-wired to be schizophrenic (even in the near future), doesn’t it also stand that the addiction center of the brain might itself cause the abuse of marijuana?

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      • ram – you’re suggesting that the same miswiring in the brain, or at least an overlap,. might underlie both schiz and addiction. certainly plausible. its assumed that the pot triggers the schiz in an already susceptible person. further, the is strong evidence that use of pot, probably heavy use, does long term damage to the developing brain. probably to around age 25, although i recently read a study that suggested it didn’t. we have a number of people who state that pot has helped their ADHD, and a number who say it didnt or it caused them problems. i’ve found no research supporting the idea of benefit. there are always outliers. i suspect that the people who felt helped actually had help with anxiety and/ or sleep, so they functioned better. which touches on your issue of cause or correlation and i hope to address this soon.
        thanks you for all your good commenting
        best wishes
        doug

        Liked by 1 person

  4. victor whitman says:

    Another issue with current marijuana-it is estimated to be 10 times more potent than the pot of the 60s.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  5. Ken Powell says:

    Unfortunately I know a little more about this than I’d like to and can attest to the destructive power of taking the weed. While I’ve never felt the need to use it myself, one close to me has and refuses to see that while it may provide some relief from the pressures and difficulties of life – often acutely felt by those suffering ADHD, autism or other similar issues – it has made him more or less non-functioning as a young man and almost all his zest for life in previous years is gone. To the point where I am quite bitter about the whole thing and if one more person tries to tell me how cannabis is ‘harmless’ I might just punch them on the nose!

    Like

    • ken – sounds painful. I’ve seen a lot of damage from pot. I’ve seen some people helped, but not many, and not helped with ADHD problems. sorry for your hurt.
      as always, thank you for contributing your comment.
      best wishes
      doug

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Eric Touchberry says:

    Hey Doug! I’ve only been diagnosed ADHD for 10 months. (I’m 59) I found a nice equilibrium with methylphenidate, and then I got a toothache. My dentist’s office was Covid-closed so I turned to marijuana for pain relief. (I live in Michigan where it’s legal.) But it didn’t work for me. I smoked some and I tried a variety of edibles and I got a two-week-long brain fog to go with my excruciating toothache. I was scatterbrained and forgetful. THC negated the gains I made on methylphenidate, so I quit experimenting. The experience obliterated the allure of marijuana for me. Your mileage may vary, of course. But while I have you on the line, I must thank you for Your Life Can Be Better. I recognized myself so clearly on every page. Your tone is warm and self-deprecating. I felt like I was encouraged by a peer, or a friend and, as a result, I sought help. Your tips are quite helpful, too! Thank you!

    Like

    • eric –
      welcome to the tribe. i appreciate your appreciation of the book and the tips. glad that they’re helpful. and thank you for contributing your comment. i hope to see more from you.
      best wishes
      doug

      Like

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