ADHD affects children and teens and can continue into adulthood. Children with ADHD may be hyperactive and unable control their impulses. Or they may have trouble paying attention. These behaviours interfere with school and home life.
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A recent study showed that an estimated 25% of patients experienced therapeutic benefits with the use of cannabis for treating ADHD symptoms.
Cannabis raises dopamine levels in the brain, but unlike other drugs, the way in which it does this is different. Cannabinoids increase dopamine levels indirectly by blocking the action of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA reduces neuronal excitability in the nervous system and inhibits dopamine release. Unlike stimulants that excite the dopaminergic system directly increasing the risk of dopamine “burn-out” over prolonged periods of use, cannabis instead allow normal dopamine release by blocking GABA.
It seems that it is this interaction between the endocannabinoid and dopaminergic systems that might provide a mechanism for the reported decrease in ADHD symptoms when using cannabis to self-medicate, but without the side-effects associated with stimulant prescriptions.
For some patients, cannabis is useful as a complimentary therapy to help alleviate the side-effects associated with prescription medications. Cannabis has been shown to be effective for treating insomnia and nausea without the side-effects associated with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Others patients, prefer using cannabis as a primary treatment for the alleviation of ADHD symptoms itself such as hyperactivity, behavioural problems, anxiety, and depression.
Although in cannabis and ADHD research is in its infancy, the increasing number of scientific studies being conducted, are starting to increasingly show that cannabis can be a valuable complementary, and even primary treatment for combating the difficulties and symptoms associated with ADHD.
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