A new study has found that patients who use medical cannabis to treat their ADHD symptoms tend to use fewer prescription drugs.
The study collected information from 59 medical cannabis patients in Israel who were diagnosed with ADHD. Participants were asked to fill out surveys and self-report their monthly doses of cannabis, how they consumed cannabis and the name of strain of cannabis consumed. Of the 59 patients, 37 of them suffered from another mental health condition. Most patients received their medical cannabis licenses for chronic pain and cancer treatments rather than neurological disorders. “The aim of this cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was to identify associations between the doses of cannabinoids and terpenes administered, and symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),” the study explains.
The study authors found consuming cannabis with high amounts of phytocannabinoids and terpenes resulted in using less prescribed ADHD medication. The cannabinoid cannabinol (CBN) was associated with a lower score on the self-report survey. In addition to CBN, the cannabinoids most associated with a reduction of ADHD medication were THC, THCV and CBD. Previous research on how cannabis can affect ADHD studied cannabis as a whole rather than testing individual strains, making this study the first of its kind.
“These results, although not causal, might shed light on the potential beneficial effects of [medical cannabis] on ADHD symptom severity and motivate future prospective studies in order to validate our results,” the researchers said. “These findings reveal that the higher-dose consumption of [medical cannabis] components (phytocannabinoids and terpenes) is associated with ADHD medication reduction.”
As always, more research is needed to fully understand how using cannabis can be used to treat ADHD. The authors also note that their study may be limited due to the small sample size and potential for biased self-reports from the patients.