Study: Cannabis Associated With Reduced ADHD Mediciation Use

Marijuana use is associated with a reduction in the use of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications in patients diagnosed with the syndrome, according a new study published in the journal Rambam Maimonides and first reported on by NORML

For the study Israeli investigators examined 59 patients with ADHD who possessed a license from the Ministry of Health to access medical cannabis products. According to NORML, they reported that the use of medical cannabis, and in particular products dominant in the cannabinoid CBN (cannabinol), was associated with medication-sparing effects. The findings suggest that some ADHD patients may consume cannabis as a “substitute treatment” for more conventional medications, authors concluded. They added, “These results, although not causal, might shed light on the potential beneficial effects of MC on ADHD symptom severity and motivate future prospective studies in order to validate our results and perhaps even consider making ADHD an approved indication for MC license in Israel in future.”

Clinical trial data published in 2017 in in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology previously reported that the administration of whole-plant cannabis extracts is associated with improvements in cognition and behavior in subjects with ADHD.

The study is titled Cannabinoid and terpenoid doses are associated with adult ADHD status of medical cannabis patients.

The abstract of the study can be found below:

OBJECTIVE:

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).

METHODS:

Participants were adult patients licensed for medical cannabis (MC) treatment who also reported a diagnosis of ADHD by a physician. Data on demographics, ADHD, sleep, and anxiety were collected using self-report questionnaires. Data collected on MC treatment included administration route, cultivator, cultivar name, and monthly dose. Comparison statistics were used to evaluate differences in reported parameters between low (20-30 g, n=18) and high (40-70 g, n=35) MC monthly dose and low adult ADHD self-report scale (ASRS, 0-5) score (i.e. ≤3.17 score, n=30) or high ASRS score (i.e. ≥3.18 score, n=29) subgroups.

RESULTS:

From the 59 patients that answered the questionnaire, MC chemovar could be calculated for 27 (45%) of them. The high MC monthly dose group consumed higher levels of most phyto-cannabinoids and terpenes, but that was not the case for all of the cannabis components. The high dose consumers and the ones with lower ASRS score reported a higher occurrence of stopping all ADHD medications. Moreover, there was an association between lower ASRS score subgroup and lower anxiety scores. In addition, we found an association between lower ASRS score and consumption of high doses of cannabinol (CBN), but not with Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

CONCLUSION:

These findings reveal that the higher-dose consumption of MC components (phyto-cannabinoids and terpenes) is associated with ADHD medication reduction. In addition, high dosage of CBN was associated with a lower ASRS score. However, more studies are needed in order to fully understand if cannabis and its constituents can be used for management of ADHD.

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