Can Marijuana Help ADHD?

Oct 20, 2008 ,

A new study, published in the journal Schizophrenia Research, adds to the growing evidence that marijuana may be helpful to some who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. The study also sheds light on the ongoing controversy over marijuana’s relationship to schizophrenia.

Researchers looked at three groups of young people, age 14-21 — non-psychotic siblings of schizophrenia patients (considered at “genetic risk” for psychosis), adolescents with ADHD, and healthy controls — and compared the marijuana users with non-users in each group on a variety of psychological tests. There was a correlation between signs of mental health disturbance and marijuana use for the group of siblings at genetic risk for psychosis, but not for the other groups. This suggests that marijuana may worsen the prognosis of those with a predisposition to psychosis but does not make healthy people psychotic.

In the ADHD group, the results suggested marijuana may be beneficial: In several of the tests, there was a trend toward better functioning among the marijuana using ADHD patients than among the non-users. In the article, the researchers discuss a possible mechanism by which marijuana “could attenuate some of the behavioral symptoms of ADHD.” This is an area that cries out for more research.

28 responses to “Can Marijuana Help ADHD?”

  1. Being diagnosedwith ADHD from a very young age, I know what its like to be hyper and destructive and to have seemingly no amount of control over those impulses, even though it may affect those around you. I also remember the side effects of Ritalin having taken it for a year or two in elementary school. Both that drug and ADHD can have serious implications on your social skills at such an early point in your life.

    It wasn’t until I took a vacation to Portland Oregon when I was 26, where pot is fairly well accepted, that I took my first taste of the stuff. And as I began to further my experimentation, I noticed a general relaxed state of mind, a reduction in my nervous tics (which I still have to this day), an overall increased ability to concentrate on one thing at a time, and so on. And I began to ponder on this idea: what if I had had some form of this drug, in say a non-halucinoginec pill of some sort when I was younger? Would I have done better in school, would I have been more aware of my hyper activity and better able to conduct my self socially? This study is but a confirmation to what I already knew was true.

    Now if we could only convince government of this, think how many of our nations children could benefit from a non dependency drug that actually helps kids instead of just creating more of the problems associated with drugs like Ritalin. While I grew up to be a fairly well rounded individual, its inspiring to thing that kids like me could have a better chance in school, all thanks to the natural drug that has been so demonized by our bureaucracies in Washington .

  2. It is true that marijuana can help a person with ADHD. I was never treated with meds of any kind nor did my parents wish to seek answers and treatment from dr’s. So I struggled throughout my entire school years until one day in high school in the 10th grade my friends skip lunch and went off campus to smoke some marijuana. I went with them and participated, I smoked half a joint then went back to class. I wasn’t parinoid of being caught but instead I felt free, for the first time I didn’t care what my classmates thought about me because I wasn’t thinking about them. I was actually listening to my teacher lecture history, for the first time it wasn’t boaring, I listened with interest and I took notes. A couple of hours later I analized myself and came to the conclusion that I had knew for years, I needed meds to help me focuse. I was too afraid to ask dr’s if there was any medicine that would relate to marijuana. So I read how to book’s of growing my own weed. I only smoke it when I thought I’d have a hard subject to focuse on, I didn’t want it to get in my way of track running. I saw how my friends smoked a lot of it and vegged out and over ate junk food. It should be legal to buy and sell it. Just like cigs and alcohol and food, too much of it is unhealthy.

  3. I never realized that i had trouble paying attention in class its just i get lazy or don’t wanna do work but i would smoke with my friends in high school and when i first did it in school i noticed i payed attention better and was very interested.but one tim ei did smoke alot and was really stoned that i could not pay attention at all so i think that the right amount of it does help you pat attention and your more interested in the subject i really think the gov. could consider it. it helps a lot im gonna do my own test and smoke everyday before school for a week then im not gonna for a week.i don’t wanna do it to long. theirs just one bad thing it goes away but i still seem stimulated to my work after the high is gone.

  4. I’ve known this for a long time and didn’t need a scientific study to confirm it for me. I was so sure of it, that I’ve been asking dr’s for years if they have noticed a connection between marijuana smokers and ADHD. Even when you can tell they’d prefer to not answer the question, they all confirm the connection is there. Every time. I get a kick out of seeing the look on their face when I ask. I’m glad to see research is being done and information is finally being made to the public.

  5. weed is what made me do good in school sports and to just relax ADHD is very hard to control but when i smoke i can think about one thing at a time and do the problem but on the pill or not i cant get a thing done it really made my life hard to live till age 14 after that i started to make friends started doing better in school and every thing and i can say it did not make me want to do coke or meth. people its not a gateway drug it helps people not kills the only drug you cant OD on. it needs to be for legal use for anyone that needs it

  6. This makes no sense at all. From what science knows about pot and ADHD, pot causes ADHD. My son took a IQ test after he smoked pot and had horrible results. His score years earlier without pot qualified him for the gifted program. I think it just makes you think your smart.

  7. i am 14 and have adhd and have a ton of problems with my sisters and mom and dad i have taken pills all my life and they just dont seem to work i am considering talking to my parents and see what they think, if we should talk to my doctor or not, but im scared cuz i have smoked mj before and i dont want to have to take a drug test to get a licence, what should i do, i dont want my parents knowing that i have smoked before.

  8. Jordan, I wish you luck dealing with this situation. No one at MPP is qualified to give you or your parents medical advice, and this is clearly a tricky situation. In most circumstances I would say that marijuana is clearly not good for kids your age, so I would be very cautious about proceeding. Marijuana is not generally accepted as an ADHD treatment, and the evidence is still pretty sketchy, so don’t be surprised if both your doctor and your parents are skeptical — and might even get upset at the very idea. I can’t tell you what to do, but this may be something that’s best left for when you’re an adult. In any case, good luck.

  9. hello im correy, im 13 and i have ADHD
    i have tried marijuana a couple of times before
    and i have noticed a difference in my behavoir.
    Usually most of the time im very jittery and compulsive,
    but when marijuana is in my system i become more calm.
    Every person with ADHD knows that there brain does not work
    right because their is a chemical in our brain that is missing.
    Well i did some reserch on the internet and i have found out that
    the chemical we are missing in our brains is in marijuana
    i still use this plant continously and i feel great.
    people with ADHD can not become addicted because we are
    missing that certain chemical in our brain.
    Pot has that chemical.
    If you do not believe me then do our research on the internet,
    it’ll show you.


  10. Correy (#12), thank you for sharing your experiences. But I do think it’s important to remember that self-medication with any drug can be risky without your doctor involved. Even though it may be difficult, I hope you are able to talk honestly to your parents and your doctor about this.

  11. hello i am 15 and i suffer from adhd and my doctor has prescribed me adderal and it does what it is supposed to like calm me down and stuf f but i get real shakey and i have noticed that instead of have twiches i go into a little seasure and i have dabbled with marijuana and if i found the right amount for me tha makes me calm and able to focus more but my mother realized this and she tried to help me but my father belived that she was olny hurting me and i found that if i smoke some at night it relaxes me and alows me to fall asleap without haveing to take the sleaping pills my doctor gave me and also it help with my constant upset stumach i dont really know if it is the weed or thee fact that it is relifing the stress and helping my stumach or what i want to tell my dad and my doctor about what i have found and when i need to rember lines for theater if i smoke i have an almost photographic memory and im worried that if i tell them i will get in some kind of trouble can i get in trouble with my doctor for telling him what i have discovered that marijuana has done for me?and can i get a perscpition for medical marijuana in the state of west virginia

    • Mikey, you have brought up a difficult and tricky question. Unfortunately, we are not qualified to give either legal or medical advice, so I can’t positively tell you what to do. In general, though, it is never a good idea to self-medicate without your doctor and family being involved and knowing what’s going on, and except where there is a clear medical need, there are good reasons for someone your age not to use marijuana. So I hope you can find a way to talk to them about this and figure out the best thing to do with them fully involved. Unfortunately, West Virginia does not have a medical marijuana law, so even if your doctor and parents were to agree that it is appropriate, you would still be at legal risk. I’m sorry I can’t give you a more definitive answer, but good luck and best wishes.

  12. i think that marijuana helps me out because i have ad/hd and im sitting in iss i smoke every mourning before my mom wakes up and before i go to bed i take meds for my manic bipolar and severe adhd and when i smoke i feel like my minds not racing and im stuck between really mad and really sad and this is my theory on marijuana and fuck the police

  13. If you look at some of the side effects as released by the FDA of drugs like Adderall, you will notice they are the effects of marijuana: hearing voices, having hallucinations, becoming suspicious for no reason, or becoming manic (an overly high mood). This was “discovered” by an FDA review in 2007. It is because there are almost 1100 lobbyists working for pharmaceutical companies in D.C. that marijuana is illegal. They are trying to replicate THC because they want to make money which is unfortunate because there are devasting side-effects of synthetic meds like thoughts of suicide and what not. Marijuana is mother nature’s way of helping but our government is too incompetent to recognize it

  14. I have had ADHD all my life. In 8th grade my freind came up to me and said Cannabis would help with the ADHD. Soo i hit the joint and i was calm and not all hyper, i just wanted to chill for once. Now im in the 11th grade and i have a joint everyday before school and im never hyper and my ADHD don’t mess with me much at all but if i go afew days without it the ADHD will kick in tho.

  15. And also Cannabis helps me sleep at night and since i don’t eat much Cannabis helps me eat so i can gain weight ’cause right now im under wieght and i have gain afew pounds

  16. I have adhd. I was diagnosed at 5 . i was put on rittalin and i took three pills a day of it. i was always alseep in class and i didn’t have any friends. I also got really skinny and was very rebelious with my parents. In highschool i was put on adderall, which helped me alot, but i still didn’t want to eat any food. I had to force myself to eat a slice of bread once to the point that i almost passed out cause it seemed so nasty to eat anything to me. I love smoking because i can focus and it helps me eat well. I could’t survive without.

  17. i smoke everyday, all day. When i don’t, i do get shakey and i tend to bite my lips, nails, fingers, and i get obsessed with my acne. i also cant get my daily chores done(stay at home wife).I will have done nothing all day and feel like i have been working my butt off, because im halfway doing things and get distracting and going off to do something else halfway. smoking cures all my issues. Ive never ever gotten too high to focus or complete any task in front of me. My ancestors of the Cherokee Tribe smoked it. I almost get more satisfaction from just the act(holding it and tasting it) of smoking more than the feeling of it.

  18. I am 30 and have been on ritalin, Dexedrine and concerta (I think in the USA this is called Adal or something) since I was 12. I have a good job and a loving husband and am a law abiding member of society. I know the drugs helped me through school and there is no way I could hold down the job I have with out them but they are totally ruining my life. The side effects are horrible (my mother once took them for a week to see what my life was like she said it was the worst week of her life). It has been my choice as an adult to keep taking them but because I was brought up on them I have not found alternative methods of coping with life or work with out them. I am not addicted and I do actually want to achieve something with my life so I continue to take them. Maybe I would be doing a different job that did not require so much attention if I had never taken them but hay. I have an extremely good job and make a very good wage but i don’t feel like I am living life. for the parents that don’t know what its like let me explain. It’s like being numb you know that this is not your personality but you just cant seem to participate. life being trapped inside yourself. Standing on the sideline as you are not really that actively involved in your life. and that is on a good day, I need something to focus on or I get focused on stupid things (and yes it is the drugs not a personality disorder). I feel resentful and paranoid allot of the time (am I doing a good enough job, does my work stand up to the work of others, is my partner happy with me) I also feel worried and stress out allot. On the physical side I have to force feed myself, I get explosive diarrhoea once if not twice a day (normally about 15 to 30 mins after taking the drugs (parents think about this when putting your kid on the bus to school, they might not tell you and believe me its stressful)I cant sleep without taking something and then its not good sleep, so I am constantly tired but get though the day because the meds keep me awake. I find it hard to interact with people and am not the bubbly fun person I am off the drugs ( I actively have to remind myself to smile and laugh at jokes. and people know when you are faking it, it makes it hard to make friends, you come across as a bit weird and people cant work out why) at 6 in the evening when I am coming down I cant hold any conversation at all and the kiss that my partner give me when I come in the door is almost painful to take (I don’t want to talk to anyone or have anyone touch me at all. Interacting with another human is painful). And I have no sex drive at all it takes about a week of the drugs to get it back (ok so if you are a parent reading this it might not seem like a big deal but as your child gets to be an adult this is a really big problem. It seriously effects your life if you are or what to be in a relationship). I have always tried to hide this from my partner and just got on with it but recently he read an article about ADD and the meds and then sat me down for a long talk. I am lucky he is so understanding and mainly he was worried that I had not really enjoyed sex unless we were on holiday and I was not taking the meds. One of the things that came out was that he hated living with a Zombie. He saw small bits of the real me when I was not taking the drugs or for half an hour before I went to sleep.
    I have always thought ” ok so I am not massively happy on these meds but I am holding down a real life so its ok” but maybe I have been kidding myself. I read so much about people with ADD and ADHD becoming drug addicts, alcoholics, and general looses that drop out of life, I though medication was the only way forward.

    I have to stay there is no way I am getting stoned every day and I am not going to start smoking BUT I read something that said if you eat it in a cookie that it can last up to 8 hours (not the 1-2 hours it does if you smoke it. lets face it its not like I can pop out of the office and come back in smelling like weed. I would be fired within a day (I work in an extremely professional business environment and I am high up in the company I work for (their are people after my job and I don’t need to give them the ammunition to get it)) and that it realises slower. I think I will try this in very low form. After all its about having a real life and achieving goals without being a zombie or a stoner. will let you know how I get on.

  19. My names Jeff, I’m sixteen, and I live in Virginia. I’ve been smoking for about four years and it help tremendously with my ADHD, along with some other physiological problems that I have. My parents know that I smoke to help myself with these problems but they aren’t happy because it’s illegal. It would be very beneficial if it was prescribed to me. Is there anywhere I can go to have it prescribed?

  20. My 5 year old nephew has been suspended from Kindergarten 3 times this year and sent home multiple times. The school system says he’s disruptive, defiant and distracting. The teachers, administrators, psychologists and doctors are all pushing a drug that isn’t even prescribed for someone his age and causes side effects like headache, heart attack and stroke. He is being set up for failure! I want to help him and this is what brought me here!! Hearing all of these stories tears me up inside to know that there is something that might help him, but instead they want to put him on drugs that will hurt him. If my sister were to try to medicate him at home and if anyone EVER found out, he would be taken from her in a heart beat. What can we do?

  21. Academic difficulties are also frequent. The symptoms are especially difficult to define because it is hard to draw a line at where normal levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity end and clinically significant levels requiring intervention begin. To be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must be observed in two different settings for six months or more and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

  22. Bruce, I am mother of 2 children with ADHD, 13 and 10. They are both on medication. My son has been on medication since he was 7 and my daughter since she was 8. Every couple of years we have to change meds, because of the build up of the meds in their system. We go on
    to experiment with different meds until we find the right now for the time being. The side effects are bad, the tics (like scratching on a scab until it bleeds again, or biting on your fingers until they are sore), then there is their inability to sleep at night, the lack of appetite that affects their growth. Can you direct me to a website that has done research on how marijuana or a modification of it can help with the side effects of taking the meds?

  23. I was born in 1978 . in those times there were not abbreviated terms like adhd add etc. my adhd is undiagnosed but by me. after 36 years of living with this I found things that helped me along the way. I did substance abuse it helped alot but creates more problems for you so it is not good . Marijuana I do not consider an abusable substance. There is one thing that can stop my mind from racing at 1000 miles per hour so that I may be productive and be able to listen and intake information orderly and not spastic disorganization in my head as it all gets dumped in there. There is one thing that will aid me in getting sleep as my mind refuses to stop paging through itself at a high rate of speed. there is one thing that helps me communicate socially and not become so discombobulated that I no longer am making sense. I cannot do my passion of art without its help to slow my brain down so I can operate normally and that is Marijuana & it is not legal in my state there is no possible way for me to get prescribed & I therefore am forced to go find it to live a normal life. and to feel normal instead of 100% panicky 100% of the time stress omg massive amounts. and 100% of the time severely depressed. WI needs to change its stance on Marijuana. the miracle drug the cure for epilepsy etc.
    I am an adult. No state can/should dictate to me what is good and bad for me. if they care spo much then why are they ripping money from my paychecks then telling me what I can and cant do, what I do and don’t need. you are not me. speak for yourself. this is not a majority…this is me and people like me that need help and have found it but yet you stand in our way of freedom to live normal lives.

  24. I’m 15 and I have ADD and ADHD and dyslexia and its literally impossible for me to take any pill it causes me to have terrible anxiety mood swings and not even able to eat food I at one point lost over 20 pounds in on week on that terrible medicine and as a also quote pot head at my age I can surely say smoking marijuana helps more than that medicine ever did it makes classes more interesting and fun my grades have gone up It literally does all the same things as adhd medicine plus it even copes the side effects just legalize it it’s a medicinal drug not a subject one drug but a prescription used medicinal drug

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