Could marijuana be helpful for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? The possibility is raised by a newly published case report in Cannabinoids, the journal of the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine. Doctors from the Heidelberg University Medical Center in Heidelberg, Germany, report on an adult ADHD sufferer who exhibited classic ADHD behavior -- pushy, impatient, having trouble focusing or responding to questions appropriately -- and who had not been helped by Ritalin, a standard ADHD treatment, but whose symptoms essentially disappeared after smoking marijuana. The authors also discuss animal research that suggests cannabinoids may be effective against ADHD, as well as a human study suggesting that moderate marijuana use may have helped ADHD patients with cocaine dependence stay in treatment.
Some studies have found an association between marijuana use and ADHD symptoms, often drawing the inference that marijuana is worsening ADHD, or that ADHD sufferers are at risk for "drug abuse." But what if they're self-medicating and -- in at least some cases -- actually helping reduce their symptoms?