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ADHD patients see ‘substantial’ improvements with cannabis

Three individuals found ‘substantial’ improvements in their symptoms and overall quality of life.

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ADHD patients report ‘substantial’ improvements with cannabis
Two were able to take on a new job with more responsibility.
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In a recent case report, three individuals with ADHD, found ‘substantial’ improvements in their symptoms and overall quality of life with cannabis.

An increasing number of patients with ADHD are self-medicating with cannabis, despite the limited amount of clinical data on its efficacy.

In a new paper, researchers examined the cases of three male patients, between the ages of 17-23, who were using medical cannabis to help manage their symptoms. 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder, which can affect people’s behaviour in that they can seem restless, have difficulty concentrating and or seem impulsive. 

It is one of the most commonly diagnosed neurodiverse conditions in the UK. 

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Over half of the children and adults with ADHD also have mental health conditions, such as sleep disorders, mood and anxiety disorders.

According to the paper, the improvements in all three participant’s symptoms and quality of life were “substantial”, with all three finding they were “more able to keep their emotions in check”, and two were able to take on a new job with more responsibility.

All three patients who took part in the study experienced “positive improvements” on measures for depression, emotional regulation, and inattention.

Their levels of depression improved by up to 81 per cent, anxiety by up to 33 per cent, emotional regulation between 22 to 78 per cent and inattention between seven and 30 per cent. 

All of them were using cannabis alongside their other medications, including antidepressants, 

One patient described cannabis as “a good helping hand” alongside his other treatments and another said “cannabis, in addition to a change in prescription medications to lithium, helped to change his life.”

Some mild side effects were reported, including short-term memory problems, dry mouth, and sleepiness.

Researchers highlighted the importance of case studies such as these, in the absence of scientific data, but recommended further studies to confirm efficacy.

“There is limited information that can be gleaned from these reports of a few selected patients,” they wrote.

“While randomised controlled trials are urgently needed to provide insight on the efficacy of cannabis in the treatment of ADHD, such studies will never be performed with smoked cannabis flower, and we are left to rely on observational data for these exposures.”

They added: “Clinicians who care for patients who self-medicate with cannabis should aim to objectively monitor symptoms, using validated scales for ADHD and other comorbidities.

“Clinical trials are recommended to confirm the efficacy of cannabis in the treatment of ADHD.”

 

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email sarah@prohibitionpartners.com / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag

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