I suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), would smoking marijuana help me focus?


Hello! Before answering, there would be a couple questions with which I would want clarification. When were you formally diagnosed with ADD/ ADHD and what types of treatments have you tried so far? Have you been diagnosed with anything else that might contribute to the diagnosis? (i.e. anxiety/panic disorder, depression diagnosis, etc?). As for cannabis, there are interesting studies being done, that might link ADHD to the CNR1 (Cannabinoid receptor 1) on Chromosome 6 ( article link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2685476). However, there are other studies that seem to find a correlation between ADHD and CUD (Cannabis use disorder) (article link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882033/)

 So with all these seemingly contradictory bits of information , what would be my recomendation?  If you haven't been formally diagnosed by a psychiatrist and at least given a good trial of first line medications, you owe it to yourself to at least check these  out first or to see if your initial diagnosis of ADHD might have been mistaken.  Another option is that cannabis can be used in moderation to help you as a pt handle the side effects from  the Rx meds/ stimulants.  If you absolutely can' handle these  Rx meds and want to experiment with cannabis, I would only do so under a very controlled setting with the lowest amount of cannabis use possible and with a psychiatrist/ therapist supervising the overall treatment plan.   Keep in mind that if you are under the age of 25, heavy (daily/ near daily)  cannabis use has associated cognitive/ IQ decline and increased rates of schizophrenia-like symptoms, worsening of anxiety/ depression, bipolar and other unsavory mental health issues; mult. sources have cited that this is linked to the frontal lobe of your brain being damaged. The overall message is: yes, this might help but overall ADHD should be managed by a multi-modal response that includes more than medications as cited by sources including the British Journal of Psychiatry. I hope that this information helps and if you want to talk further for an online consult, we can do that too!

drpark


Unfortunately, there is very little formal research regarding the possible therapeutic value cannabis may have on ADHD and ADD. However, a recent study by Loflin et al., studied current cannabis users and found that when the study subjects did NOT use cannabis, they were much more likely to exhibit hyperactive-impulsivity symptoms; or alternatively worded, cannabis helped reduce hyperactive-impuslivity symptoms in established cannabis users.

According to the study above though, cannabis did not have much effect on focus. However, there is a plethora of anecdotal evidence supporting a positive effect on both hyperactive-impulsivity and focus. There was even a study which polled ADHD internet forums about the effectiveness of cannabis as a treatment. The study concluded that despite a lack of systematic research supporting the beneficial effects of cannabis use for ADHD, online discussions indicate that cannabis is helpful for improving focus in ADHD patients.

When considering the above, in combination with the fact that conventional medications for ADD wreak havoc on one's health, I do believe that cannabis is a viable treatment option to try. Most of my ADD patients report a significant boost to their focus with a very small dose of sativa or a sativa-dominant hybrid.

drkim