Is CBD Nature's Answer For ADHD & ADD?
Updated: Feb 24
By Keith Alban
As CBD continues its meteoric rise in popularity around the country and is nearly at household term status, many people wonder if CBD is a fad or scam. Is there legitimate research behind this conspicuous cannabinoid? We live in an age ruled by mainstream medicine and doctors writing quick prescriptions for just about every health issue we go through during our lives. You go to a doctor's office, pay money out of pocket, fill out several different forms, and wait at least 30-45 minutes in several different rooms for the doctor to arrive. When the doctor is finally ready to see you, it’s almost always a 3-10 minute visit, followed by a script for whatever medication is being pushed or recommended.
Yes, doctors are told to push certain medications over others at times. I think we can all agree that the healthcare system is in a pretty horrific state at the moment. People aren't being treated the way they deserve when they place their trust in their doctors and the medical establishment. ADHD/ADD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, continues to be one of the most prevalent challenges that children and adolescents face. There's been around a 2000% increase in the consumption of drugs for ADHD/ADD in the past 30 years! Maybe you're a mother or father searching online for a better option. Something safe, natural, gentle, and effective.
The Potential Harm of ADHD Medications
The purpose of writing this article is to dive into the efficacy of CBD and other natural compounds for ADHD/ADD. Many different contributing factors of ADD aren’t being properly addressed by the medical system. As more research emerges on the dangers of drugs such as the titans Ritalin and Adderall, as well as medications like Vyvanase, Strattera, Concerta, and Dexidrene, the need for other options become very important. Long term side effects of these medications aren't told to parents and often covered up in order to not taint their image. Take Ritalin for example, which was long thought to be a very short-acting drug on the brain and body. Once it's out of the system, no real long term harm or damage was thought to have been done to the brain and body of a developing child.
While I don’t believe that researchers and informed doctors ever truly thought they were ignorant of the potential causes, it was the going spiel to justify it and still is. As time has gone by and more unbiased research has taken place, researchers now know how far from the truth this notion of harmlessness really is. A study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that Ritalin (and most likely many other medications for ADD/ADHD) causes long term changes to the neurons in reward centers of the brain in mice. (1) The effects were quite similar in certain ways to the long term side effects of none other than COCAINE! They found that many of these medications may lead to clinical depression and potential brain injuries to the frontal lobe. (1)
The damage that was seen in this study was very similar to frontal lobe syndrome, which can create a problem in controlling different types of impulsive behaviors. Other research showed that medication in this class may cause long-lasting changes in brain cell structure and functioning. (1) As if that wasn't enough, Ritalin use (and likely other medications in the same class) is linked to peripheral vascular disease. (2) Other research has shown that younger people who take medications such as Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin, Dexedrine, Strattera, and Adderall have lower bone density than people who didn't. Lower bone mineral densities were seen in the femur, femoral neck, lumbar spine, and possibly other areas. (3,4)
Growth and development issues that have been tied to certain medications for ADHD. Taking these medications from a young age significantly increases the chances of osteoporosis, potential brain-related structural issues, mood and emotional imbalances, potential physical risks from peripheral vascular disease, depression, and possibly impulsive behaviors. It’s horribly irresponsible and angering for doctors to prescribe these medications to children and adolescent teens and without letting concerned parents know the truth about them. The medical system is all about hiding important facts and research about medication, unfortunately. It’s up to each person to do their own research on what they put in their bodies.
CBD’s Balancing & Regulating Properties
As far as CBD's therapeutic potential for ADHD, research has been showing that it can have a calming, protective, balancing effects on the brain and body. CBD's adaptogenic, regulating properties would make it a good candidate. Research is fairly sparse for ADHD at the moment, but preliminary studies show that CBD may be helpful because of its ability to balance brain activity to some degree. One German study with 30 people that hadn’t responded to Ritalin reported improved sleep patterns and enhanced focus using cannabinoid extracts. (5)
A second study in 2013 reported a reduction in hyperactivity and impulsive behavior using a CBD oil extract. (6) Certain research has also alluded to ADHD having low dopamine as a common theme. Using CBD with other compounds mentioned below may help to address low dopamine and other causes of ADHD simultaneously. Rather than using CBD as a stand-alone supplement for ADHD, a multi-nutrient program may have a more profound effect because of the underlying causes of ADHD. While CBD won't act as a cure for all symptoms and aspects of ADD/ADHD, it can serve an important as part of the solution. There's no single compound that will act as an absolute cure for any condition because of the numerous causes that create it.
Deficiencies Associated With ADHD
Most people with ADHD have low levels of magnesium, iron, and zinc, which need to be replenished. Omega fatty acid ratios are often far from ideal. Lower levels of vitamins B2, B6, and other B vitamins are seen in many people with ADHD. All these things need to be addressed for noticeable improvement that lasts. It’s a really good idea to have your
child tested for some of these nutrients and others. Children don't have a Ritalin or Adderall deficiency, the causes go beyond anything medication can address. This is the underlying problem with the current system.
When the true causes are effectively addressed, improvement is pretty much inevitable. Sometimes it's a slow process of finding the right combination of nutrients and improving deficiencies, although at times improvement can be noticed quickly in children. Some of the best supplements to use with CBD in a program for ADHD include NAC (N-acetylcysteine), a compound called baicalin, an adaptogen called gynostemma pentaphyllum or jiaogulan, holy basil, omega 3 fatty acids with a 2 or 3:1 ratio of EPA to DHA, non-GMO vitamin C with cofactors, magnesium glycinate and magnesium threonate, a methylated B-complex, zinc, and a low dose of bioavailable iron.
There are many other products with good potential for ADHD, but those mentioned may help address a wide range of symptoms, causes, and deficiencies that have been proven to be prevalent with ADD/ADHD. A comprehensive protocol that addresses deficiencies with natural supplements should be considered before any type of strong medication. Positive change is always right around the corner, even if things are a struggle at the moment. While it’s easier to take medication that may provide deceptive results (many don’t even see results with medication) and cause more damage in the meantime, the real solution is to address why ADHD is occurring.
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