Medical Marijuana and Adult ADHD / ADD Treatment
Attention deficit disorder, or ADD, is widely known as a childhood disorder and can affect up to five percent of all children. However, a lesser-known form of ADD or ADHD can affect adults. Some researchers argue that adult ADD sufferers also had the disorder in childhood and never grew out of it, while others believe that some adults develop the disorder in their later years. Here we discuss how medical cannabis may help in ADHD treatment.
Medical marijuana has been used by thousands of those who suffer from adult ADD or ADHD. One of the hallmarks of ADD is a lack of focus, racing thoughts, and an inability to concentrate. Marijuana’s natural relaxing effects are often just what an ADD sufferer needs to calm their minds, focus on the moment, and form more cohesive and complete thoughts. In addition to the relaxation benefits, medical marijuana has specific effects on the body’s cannabinoid system, which may explain why it is so effective in treating ADD and other disorders that affect the brain. Read on to learn more about how medical marijuana can help you or a loved one who suffers from ADD or ADHD.
Symptoms of Adult ADHD
Adults who have ADHD have some of the same symptoms as children with the disorder, though they tend to be more varied and complex in adults. Symptoms can include difficulty paying attention, problems getting organized, reckless or inattentive driving, poor listening skills, lack of follow-through on commitments, restlessness, angry outbursts, and trouble with prioritization.
Adults with ADD often have a problem at work and in their personal relationships, especially if they are undiagnosed and do not realize that ADD is affecting their behaviors. Adult ADHD sufferers often blow off commitments, fail to complete projects, and are often late to appointments or to meet friends and family members. These can all lead to damaged relationships and an image of being someone who can not be counted on.
What Else It Could Be
One of the issues with diagnosing adult ADD is that many of the symptoms are similar to other disorders including depression and anxiety. The symptoms also coincide with someone who is struggling with a substance abuse problem. It’s important to see a medical professional get a proper diagnosis and identify the underlying cause of your symptoms if you think you may have adult ADD.
How Medical Marijuana Helps Treat Adult ADD
Many doctors and researchers believe that adult ADD occurs because of an imbalance in the brain. This causes thoughts to race, focus to wane, and does not allow other areas of the brain the opportunity to keep up. This results in fractured thinking, an inability to follow through, and lack of concentration that are the hallmarks of adult ADD.
Other factors that contribute to ADD are environmental and include overconsumption of sugars or simple carbohydrates, heavy metal poisoning, yeast, and fungal infections, or contamination of natural gut flora.
Medical marijuana helps treat adult ADD by increasing the amount of dopamine that is produced in the body. It has the same type of effects as Ritalin, but the mechanism is much more natural and safer than the prescription drug. Dopamine production and availability is heavily influenced by the body’s cannabinoid system. Because of medical marijuana’s effect on the cannabinoid system, it can not only increase dopamine production, but also make it more readily available without the metabolic breakdown that can result from prescription drugs.
Why Medical Marijuana Treats ADD Better Than Alternative Treatments
ADD sufferers are notorious for self-medicating and trying anything they can think of to regulate their systems. Because they already have poor impulse control and may not realize they have a treatable medical condition, they are often attracted to risky behaviors such as taking illegal drugs, thrill-seeking or abusing alcohol.
Once an ADD sufferer realizes they have a medical condition, they are often prescribed stimulant drugs like Ritalin or Concerta, non-stimulants such as Straterra, or amphetamine-based drugs like Dexedrine or Adderall. These prescriptions can have some hefty side effects including chest pain, irritability, insomnia, hair loss, arrhythmia, and the development of uncontrollable tics. They can also be difficult to stop taking and many people find themselves dependent on these prescription drugs for the rest of their lives.