Medical marijuana, more properly termed “cannabis,” is an amazing resource. From its pain controlling, perfect fit with our endo-cannabinoid receptors, to its proven soothing effect during chemotherapy — cannabis is exactly suited to our bodies and minds in many ways. Now we have research from a German team that seem to be very compelling evidence for yet another real use for cannabis: treating the symptoms of ADHD.
Peter Strohbeck-Kuehner, Gisela Skopp and Rainer Mattern from the Institute of Legal- and Traffic Medicine, Heidelberg University Medical Centre in Heidelberg, Germany conducted a study on a small group of 30 individuals who had been diagnosed with ADHD and did not respond well to stimulating medications, like Adderall and Ritalin. All 30 reported improved concentration and sleep as well as reduced impulsivity after using medicinal cannabis. Also, it appeared to actually improve the subject’s performance behind the wheel while under the influence of Cannabis.
At the end of the study 22 of the 30 patients actually stopped taking previously prescribed medications in favor of continuing medical marijuana to manage their symptoms instead.
It is a small study, but even so it is really exciting science and other researchers will hopefully be replicating this study soon. Of course, we must keep in mind that a month’s worth of Adderall for an adult costs about $130.00 according to some resources – though it was about $300.00 a month for my prescription three years ago. Pharmaceutical companies may not be very happy with this research, especially if it cuts into their profits.
ADHD is a neurological disorder, it affects all aspects of people’s lives who have it. Stimulants like Adderall can treat the symptoms, but are very heavy on side effects and interactions – from high blood pressure and stroke to an increased risk for mental health problems, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and unusual behaviors including aggressiveness or hostility. So learning that cannabis may be a treatment for this disorder is a great thing for the estimated 11 percent of Americans that will be diagnosed with ADHD at some time in their lives.
According to Dr. David Bearman, a cannabinoidologist:
Cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine this then has the same effect but is a different mechanism of action than stimulants like Ritalin and dexedrine amphetamine, which act by binding to the dopamine and interfering with the metabolic breakdown of dopamine.
Currently, medical cannabis is only available as a treatment for ADHD in Colorado and California, though hopefully more research will encourage other states to prescribe it also.
Feature image via HigherPerspectives.com