A recent German study has found cannabis may be an effective treatment for adult patients with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
ADHD can persist well into adult years and some of the drugs currently in popular use for the disorder – including amphetamines – may not be effective and/or have undesirable side effects.
The progress of 30 patients with adult ADHD who had received permission from the German Health Ministry to use cannabis between 2012 and 2014 has been followed by researchers from Germany’s Nova Institute. The researchers analysed their medical history, the course of disease and the effects of self-administration of cannabis and cannabis based medications.
Eight of the subjects continued to take their usual medication combined with cannabis and 22 patients used cannabis exclusively.
All patients reported an improvement in a range of symptoms, including improved concentration and sleep, and a reduction in impulsivity.
This result is different to what non-ADHD sufferers experience when using cannabis. In the general population marijuana is known to contribute to a loss of focus; so it appears cannabis has a truly medicinal effect on those with ADHD.
The study isn’t the first time the medicinal benefits of marijuana have been noted in ADHD patients. Back in 2004, a Californian pediatrician claimed it prove to be the preferred medical treatment for attention deficit disorder; but in that case, with children.
A medical case study in 2008 provided details of 28-year old male who had very noticeable ADHD, appeared to be “completely inconspicuous” while having a very high blood plasma level of delta-9-
“The authors also hypothesized that the effects of cannabinoids in patients may be different from those in healthy users suggesting an involvement of the central cannabinoid receptor systems in the pathology of the disorder,” state the case study notes (PDF).
However, there still remains a great deal of caution of using cannabis in ADHD treatment; particularly in children. A review in the February Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics states:
“Given the current scarcity of data, cannabis cannot be safely recommended for the treatment of developmental or behavioral disorders at this time.”