A 2019 study estimates that ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has a 0.96 percent prevalence among adult Americans. Some people aren’t even aware they have it until a diagnosis. As a mental health disorder, ADHD pertains to hyperactivity, the inability to remain focused, and the intense need for constant stimulation.
ADHD can be upsetting for many people. It affects jobs, relationships, education, and several aspects of life that contribute to the overall quality of life. There is a conventional way of managing ADHD but one curious holistic way comes up – hemp.
Little by little, from research hints, we’re uncovering gems that certain cannabis compounds like delta 8 might have some connection to ADHD. What are these connections? Does delta 8 help with ADHD? Is there some truth to it?
What is Delta 8?
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, delta-8 THC, or simply delta 8 is part of over 100 cannabinoids existing in the cannabis plant. When taken, delta 8 combines with the human body’s cannabinoid receptors which are attached to a cell’s surface. This mechanism is responsible for the many effects delta 8 has.
Fondly called “cannabis lite” and “diet weed,” delta 8 relies on its popularity for being a milder version of delta 9 THC (the main and most popular psychoactive cannabinoid of cannabis plant varieties). In 2022 alone, there is a 700% rise in online searches for the keyword “delta 8.”
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a condition that causes the inability to stay focused or even sit still for a long time. While people without ADHD have moments of hyperactivity, those diagnosed with ADHD have them at an abnormal frequency that already interferes with their quality of life.
Those with ADHD tend to be:
- Very disorganized
- Overly hyper
The most common way of treating ADHD is through medication. Examples of these medications include Adderall or Ritalin. These stimulants can be very effective but can inflict some side effects. The side effects may come in the form of suppressed appetite, weight loss, insomnia, nervousness, and more.
An NCBI study also looked into the possibility of Methylphenidate (the main ingredient in Ritalin) stunting physical growth in children. Stimulants may also raise blood pressure which can be damaging to overall health in the long run.
With all these side effects and complications, there arises a question if there are other wholesome, preferably natural ways of treating ADHD. Hence, the interest in Delta 8.
Can Weed or Delta 8 Help ADHD?
Delta 8 for ADHD, seen through therapeutic lens, is growing in popularity. In a 2016 analysis of the online discussion of delta 8 and ADHD, the study confirmed that this discussion is a growing trend among cannabis users. The study also concluded that most participants of the online discussion lean toward pro-cannabis for ADHD.
Additionally, a study conducted in 2020 found that those who took a higher dose of cannabis therapeutic compounds like CBD have intentionally reduced their ADHD medication dosage. One limitation of this study though was the number of subjects which was determined to be small.
So what’s the sound take on this?
Put your faith in science and caution is recommended when trying new potential treatments for mental health disorders. Currently, due to insufficient evidence, experts wouldn’t recommend using weed or delta 8 as the first-line of treatment for ADHD.
Medical practitioners recommend sticking to traditional ADHD treatment options for a while at least until clear and conclusive results on delta 8 for ADHD are out.
Sativa vs Indica for ADHD
Sativa for ADHD or Indica? Answering this question is not that simple. As studies tell us, certain ratios between THC compounds and CBD need to be considered in the effectiveness of using cannabis for certain conditions.
Note: THC compounds can mean any analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol which includes delta 8. Meanwhile, CBD or cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid rich in several therapeutic benefits.
If we gather data mined from scientific literature and the comparison to existing ADHD stimulant medications, Sativa is the closest strain to connect with ADHD. Sativa dominant varieties like Sour Hawaiian Haze encourage certain cerebral effects that are likened to focus, increased energy, and sharpened cognition.
Nonetheless, it’s better to check the cannabinoid content of a product or strain rather than put stress on whether it’s categorized under Sativa or Indica.
Delta 8 THC Dosage Chart
This is a general delta 8 dosing guideline. It doesn’t necessarily cater to ADHD. This guide aims to give new delta 8 consumers a peek at what a safe delta 8 dosage looks like.
- Low tolerance delta 8 dosing: 5mg-8mg per use
- Medium tolerance delta 8 dosing): 8mg-15mg per use
- High tolerance delta 8 dosing): 15mg-30mg per use
The 5-30mg delta 8 dosing limit is the best dosing range for those looking to acquire delta 8 benefits without the intense side effects of the compound.
Can You Take ADHD Medication and Cannabis Together?
Anecdotal reports are saying some adults find the combined approach of taking ADHD medications with cannabis appealing. However, not disclosing the use of cannabis in your ADHD treatment journey might be a form of self-medicating.
Experts cannot stress enough the point that prioritizing proper treatment over unverified methods should be the norm; not the other way around. This principle is to protect patients from running into further complications.
Let’s take an unrelated-ADHD 2015 study as an example. In the study, subjects found the mixture of Adderall and marijuana to give a unique effect on their cardiovascular function. Although the perceived effects were neither positive nor negative, this raises the concern of whether it’s wise to use weed while taking prescribed medications.
Reviews of Actual Delta 8 Users with ADHD
*The views and opinions taken from Reddit users do not necessarily reflect that of DD8’s authors.
One Reddit user says, for people with ADHD, taking delta 8 feels more like a band-aid. It doesn’t completely wipe off all ADHD symptoms but it helps you cope and lessens your frustration.
Another Reddit user with ADHD along with a generalized anxiety disorder uses delta 8 80% of the time to help him relax within uncomfortable situations. One time, he forgot to take his ADHD medication and took delta 8 instead. The result? He didn’t notice any changes in his behavior.
A Reddit user argues that delta 8’s effect varies on the type of ADHD you got. For him, his impulsive type of ADHD doesn’t get the most benefit from taking delta 8. However, he notices that at times it seems to quiet down the mental chatter that’s going on in his head.
For the complete Reddit thread, click here.
Delta 8 works by activating the brain’s reward system, elevating dopamine levels than normal. People with ADHD tend to have erratic dopamine levels throughout the day which is why a rush of delta 8 in the system may give feelings of reward.
If you’re interested in using a delta 8 product to help manage the symptoms of ADHD better, you may want to wait for a more conclusive and comprehensive clinical trial or discuss these matters with your doctor first.