Cannabis and ADD/ADHD

Many people, myself included, stumbled upon the beneficial effects of cannabis for our ADD, long before it was called ADD, quite by accident as a teenager.

What started out as what you might call a trial among friends in the gulley behind school, turned into a habit that was beneficial for my grades.

I was an okay student before that fateful day, but I really started to enjoy school much more when I started smoking marijuana.
Projects became a lot more interesting for me and I stopped stressing about my homework as much as I had before.

Cannabis diploma

Things flowed and I was able to gain a sense of priorities much easier.  I graduated from high school with honours in science and acquired a 3.94 grade point average in college.

To this day, there is no doubt I'm a lot more productive when I’ve had a little smoke after breakfast.  Preferably a sativa.

Like other folks with ADD, I have experienced a lot of the symptoms of anxiety, irritability, depression, mood swings, insomnia and I have had a tendency to self medicate with alcohol, tobacco, cocaine and marijuana.
I’m recovered from three out of four, thankfully.

Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


In short, ADD and ADHD are behavioral and neurological disorders associated with a shortage of dopamine transmitters in a person’s brain.

Described patterns of behaviour include inattentiveness, over impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

In adults, it could be described as restlessness and the inability to maintain concentration and focus.

This may seriously alter a person’s life and their ability for education, employment and interpersonal relationships.

It is estimated to affect roughly 5% of the adult population and up to 10% of the child population are affected.

Given that we know dopamine levels rise with the use of recreational drugs and that ADD/ADHD patient have low dopamine levels as the underlying cause of their disorder, it is easy to understand how quickly a person with low dopamine levels becomes addicted to a substance that provides dopamine, even if it is harmful.

We all just want to feel good.

What do we know?

At the present, there is very little research and no clinical studies being conducted into the benefits of medical marijuana for persons dealing with ADD/ADHD.

A pot plant grown in a laboratory
Incidentally though, this image is from an article discussing lab studies of marijuana upon diabetes sufferers.

What we do know is that the largest system of receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain is the endocannabinoid system.

Characterized in 1992, it is found to influence a lot of our human activity and behaviour.

A study was conducted in April 2009 and titled "Altered Anandamide Degradation in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder."  It was published in the official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology and attempted to link the dysfunction of the dopamine system to the manifestation of ADHD.

The study stated that the interaction of the dopamine system with the endocannabinoids altered the disorder.  Based on that premise, possible interactions of anandamide metabolism were investigated.

Specifically, the study used Anandamide (AEA) as the incumbent endocannabinoid and I find it interesting that the root of the word is of anandamide is “ananda” which in Sanskrit means "bliss".  Just saying...

The report goes on to say “the endocannabinoid AEA reduces the activity of the dopamine transporter and might therefore be implicated in the dysfunction of the dopamine uptake mechanism involved in ADHD pathophysiology.  (1).

You can learn a great deal about this from Dr. David Bearman as he discusses them in the videos we've linked below.

Dr. David Bearman
What's up doc.

Dr. David Bearman explains in his video how it is that as the cannabinoids compete with the dopamine receptors, it causes more dopamine to be available.  Makes sense.

Exciting and fascinating information on how the brain interacts with cannabis was revealed in the article, Cannabis and Creativity (March 13/15) .  The research is just starting and more incredible discoveries will be uncovered.

People who use medical marijuana know it’s benefits even if medical science is remiss in being able to explain the magic and mystery of cannabis.


(1)   Dr. Bearman video  (1:36)   Dr. Bearman video  (7:27)