Last updated: November 27th, 2019
Most people with ADHD have smoked weed at one point or another.
But, does cannabis actually do anything for ADHD?
Or…is using cannabis just another way to get high, and kill time?
Well, this article explains the pros and cons of using cannabis for ADHD.
Plus, towards the end of this article, I give you one little recommendation that could change the way that you think about cannabis forever.
So, let’s get started with the potential medicinal benefits of using cannabis for ADHD.
The potential medicinal benefits of using cannabis for ADHD
There are some potential medicinal benefits of using cannabis for ADHD.
For example, using small quantities of cannabis can serve as a natural source of dopamine.
You might use a little bit of cannabis as a “reward” for accomplishing your daily to-do list.
In other words, cannabis could be something that you look forward to after a long, productive day of work.
Some people with ADHD (who live in cannabis-friendly states) use small amounts of cannabis to improve focus and motivation in the short-term.
One German case report (PDF) found that cannabis therapy improved concentration, and reduced impulsivity in 30 patients with ADHD. Another German study mentioned on Cannabisclinicians.org found that cannabis can be used as an “effective and well-tolerated alternative” to ADHD medication, for adults with ADHD who are considered “treatment resistant” (i.e. they do not respond well to ADHD medication).
As you may know, people with ADHD lack the ability to produce normal amounts of dopamine. This is the reason why so many people with ADHD are drawn to cannabis in the first place. Cannabis tends to satisfy the ADHD brain’s deficit of dopamine, and makes people feel motivated or engaged in the short-term.
It has also been shown that people with ADHD often turn to self-medication. And, cannabis is often one of the first substances that people with ADHD experiment with (other than alcohol).
Another possible medicinal benefit of cannabis is that it increases your appetite. So, if your stimulant-based ADHD medication suppresses your appetite, then using a little bit of cannabis could help you eat a big healthy meal. If you use cannabis, you’ll instantaneously feel your appetite come back, and you’ll soon be looking through your refrigerator. Suddenly, all of the food in your fridge will look (and taste) delicious.
Cannabis can also help you fall asleep faster if you happen to suffer from insomnia. Sleeplessness is a common side effect that comes with taking stimulant ADHD medication.
Basically, if you take ADHD medication, then cannabis can solve many of the uncomfortable side effects that you experience. Especially when your ADHD medication is starting to wear off towards the end of the day, and you need a mood lift, but don’t want to take more pills.
Even if you don’t take ADHD medication, there’s a chance that cannabis could work as a herbal remedy to treat your ADHD symptoms. Some U.S. states (and foreign countries) allow cannabis to be prescribed specifically for ADHD.
The possible downsides of using cannabis for ADHD
The major problem with using cannabis for ADHD revolves around the potential negative effects that you could experience.
Here are some of the possible downsides of using cannabis for ADHD:
- Cannabis doesn’t always help you focus
- Cannabis usually doesn’t motivate you to interact with people (you could feel anti-social)
- Using cannabis in excess can lead to psychosis, increased anxiety, paranoia, or other possible mental health issues
- Cannabis could actually exacerbate your ADHD symptoms in some cases
- Cannabis has the potential to hurt your long-term motivation and drive (i.e. cannabis makes you feel content, rather than “hungry” for a bigger and better life)
To be fair, I do think that using cannabis in small quantities is enjoyable, and possibly even mildly beneficial for ADHD.
But, this doesn’t take away from the fact that cannabis probably isn’t a perfect substance for ADHD. Cannabis has its fair share of issues.
Not to mention, ADHD and anxiety are often comorbid. And, I still haven’t encountered a situation where cannabis genuinely improved someone’s anxiety.
Does weed and ADHD ever work well together?
Personally speaking, I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want to smoke weed, except for the occasional birthday celebration or whatever.
Weed doesn’t do much for my ADHD.
With that being said, I’m not the gatekeeper of cannabis.
You’re allowed to do anything that you want (within the law, of course).
If you work hard at your job, and you come home to take a few hits of weed, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
For example, Joe Rogan uses cannabis, and he’s one of the most successful public figures in the entertainment industry.
So, I do believe that there are productive ways to use cannabis for ADHD.
If you can maintain Joe Rogan’s work ethic while using marijuana on occasion, I’m sure that you’ll be a responsible cannabis user.
Problems tend to happen when you use cannabis habitually as a primary defense against ADHD symptoms.
If you’re like me, and you’ve used cannabis to self-medicate your ADHD for a number of years, then you probably know that using cannabis can feel demotivating after a while.
I’m sure that weed is a great solution for many people with ADHD. But, weed was not the best solution in my experience (as much as I wish it would have worked).
However, I respect that many people are able to successfully use cannabis to help with short-term focus, motivation, mood improvement, and especially managing the side effects of ADHD medication.
There are absolutely some scenarios where people with ADHD are able to use cannabis in a way that’s safe, fun, and relatively healthy (compared to other, much more harmful alternatives).
My personal recommendation: CBD oil is 100x better for ADHD than cannabis
Here’s a quick story.
I had a mostly negative experience with using cannabis to self-medicate my ADHD.
Plain cannabis didn’t really improve my ADHD symptoms.
So, my hope for the plant was pretty much lost, since I had assumed that cannabis wasn’t meant for me.
But, I’m happy to admit that I was wrong about cannabis.
Because, CBD oil takes the best aspects of cannabis, and eliminates most of the problems that come with smoking marijuana.
CBD oil is an exceptional cannabis-based product that doesn’t get you high. Instead of getting you high, CBD oil seems to improve your overall quality of life. You just feel better after taking CBD oil.
So yes, you can use CBD oil for ADHD.
I wrote an entire article about the process.
CBD oil provides you with the happy, dopamine-induced mental stimulation that typically comes with using cannabis. And, CBD oil satisfies the ADHD brain’s intense craving for stimulation in a way that’s safe and healthy.
And here’s the best part:
CBD oil doesn’t give you brain fog, anxiety, psychosis, or any of the other problems that often come with smoking marijuana.
Overall, I believe that CBD oil is 100x better than plain cannabis. Especially when it comes to using CBD oil to enjoy a greater quality of life with ADHD.
Some people love using cannabis for ADHD.
Other people, like myself, haven’t had the greatest experiences with using cannabis to improve ADHD symptoms. (Using cannabis made me kind of passive and lethargic.)
But at the end of the day, there are ways to use cannabis responsibly (I’m looking at you, Joe Rogan).
You could smoke a little bit of cannabis to fall asleep at night, after a long, productive day of work.
Or, maybe you use cannabis to reward yourself after taking care of your daily to-do list.
You might even use cannabis to lessen the side effects that come with taking ADHD medication.
Regardless of why you might use cannabis, you’re ultimately an adult with ADHD who’s capable of making responsible decisions. You have autonomy.
So, I trust that you’ll make the right decisions when it comes to using cannabis for ADHD, avoiding cannabis entirely, or using CBD oil (the smartest decision, in my opinion).
Either way, make sure to leave a comment below, and let me know your thoughts on managing your ADHD with weed.
I look forward to hearing your unique perspective.