I. CBD Oil for ADHD Treatment

As of 2020, the research done regarding the use of CBD oil as a treatment for ADHD has been limited, but signs are generally positive. Anecdotal reports from patients and doctors alike indicate that CBD oil may have a calming effect on the central nervous system, and may significantly affect not just ADHD, but a host of other conditions as well, such as insomnia and anxiety.

Double-blind controlled trials of CBD oil in isolation as a treatment for ADHD are lacking, but the substance has been included in some more general studies of cannabinoids’ effects on emotional and mental health. One study from 2017 looked at the possibility of adverse effects when using cannabinoids to treat ADHD or depression. The results were negative, suggesting the cannabis derivatives did not make the conditions any worse.

Other studies have specifically focused on the effects of CBD oil on mental health disorders, including ADHD, with occasional positive results.

  • One report from 2016 showed a mild improvement in the symptoms of ADHD and several other conditions, such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD), among children and adolescents in the study group.
  • Another survey of 2,811 cannabis and cannabinoid users with ADHD and depression, found broadly positive results for moderate users of cannabinoids. Unfortunately, this study did not finely distinguish between CBD oil and other types of cannabis-derived treatments.
  • In 2019 a paper was published on the effect of CBD oil on children with autism spectrum disorder. Parents in the test group reported mostly positive results with many of their children showing significant improvement in hyperactivity.

ADHD sufferers may be predisposed to use risky substances, including marijuana. More research into using CBD oil to improve focus and reduce hyperactivity can help prevent young adults and adolescents from turning to marijuana to self-medicate. Additionally, studies aimed at pediatric use are needed to gauge the safety of using CBD oils in those younger than 18.

II. CBD Oil Side Effects & Drug Interactions

Like any other potentially therapeutic substance, CBD oil should be taken with care when attempting to treat a medical condition. Most of the research on CBD oil suggests that people tolerate it relatively well and that side effects are mild and rare. Side effects that have been reported by adults who use CBD oil for ADHD include:

  • Fatigue and general tiredness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Diarrhea and loose or bloody stools
  • Changes in appetite, either increases or decreases
  • Rapid changes in weight

In addition to the potential side effects of CBD oil when it’s taken on its own, the preliminary research suggests there may be a risk of interaction with some prescription medications. Always talk about interaction risk with a doctor or a pharmacist, but in general, the closest relationship seems to be between CBD oil and drugs with a grapefruit interaction warning. It is believed this may be a result of CBD oil and grapefruit sharing several enzymes in their makeup.

As of 2020, the only FDA-approved CBD oil product is Epidiolex, which is used for the treatment of epilepsy. Beyond that, the FDA has not approved the use of CBD oil in any medical context. Unlike marijuana, however, CBD oil is not classed as a Schedule I controlled substance, so it can be purchased online and shipped to consumers’ homes in most states. Laws vary, however, and buyers should always check local rules for possession and use of cannabinoids for medical purposes.

As with any substance intended to be consumed by humans, it’s important to thoroughly research both CBD oil and its suppliers. Ideally, a retailer offering CBD oil for the treatment of ADHD should submit its products to professional third-party testing for purity and safety.

Another consideration for taking CBD oil to treat ADHD is that it might show up on a drug test as marijuana. CBD oil is derived from the same source, so even small doses of the oil are likely to contain trace amounts of THC. Drug tests with a high sensitivity to THC may generate a positive result.

IV. How to Use CBD for ADHD

CBD oil can be taken in several different ways, depending on the condition being treated and the preference of the consumer. Dosage levels and frequency of dose vary by wide margins, depending on a person’s body mass, other medications, and how quickly the effect is desired. Most trials of CBD oil start at the low end of the dosage spectrum, around 25 mg a day for grown adults, and gradually work up to higher doses until an effect is felt. Daily intake usually tops out at around 250 mg, though some studies have gone as high as 1,500 mg. As always, consult a doctor or a pharmacist before choosing an initial dose level.

CBD oil is a versatile substance that can be taken in several ways. These four are the most popular methods of taking CBD oil for ADHD:

  • Tinctures: CBD oil is often mixed with olive oil or another fatty solute and made into a concentrated tincture. Drops of this preparation may be placed under the tongue or sprayed into the nose for a fast-acting dose of CBD.
  • Edibles: Edible CBD oil products are very popular. Several varieties of mints, gummies, lollipops, and other candies contain doses of CBD oil that can be absorbed into the system like any other nutrient. This method can be slow to have an effect, which makes it ideal for gelcaps and other time-released treatment choices.
  • Vaping: Many people choose to consume CBD oil as a vape product. This tends to have the fastest effect because the CBD preparation is passing directly into the bloodstream through the lungs. Consumers who choose to vape their CBD oil should be extra careful about dosage levels and frequency of use because this method acts very quickly.
  • Topical treatments: Topical CBD oil treatments take some time to cause an effect because they have to seep through a layer of skin to contact the bloodstream. This makes CBD-containing lotion, ointment, salves, and transdermal patches ideal for slow-acting and overnight use.

The Bottom Line

Across most of the United States, people are free to try CBD oil preparations, which could provide help for ADHD. However, you should always check your local laws and consult with a doctor before starting a CBD oil treatment. Side effects of using CBD oil for ADHD are generally rare and mild, although interactions with certain medications can occur.

Always do your due diligence when researching CBD oil retailers to ensure that you get a good, high-quality product that delivers what it promises.

V. Additional Resources