CBD for ADHD: Benefits, Considerations, and Uses

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental conditions among children, affecting an estimated 11% of American children. The condition is characterized by having trouble staying still, inability to focus, forgetfulness, and disorganization.

Adults can also be diagnosed with ADHD, and about 75% of children with ADHD will continue to have symptoms of ADHD as adults.

These days, more ADHD patients and parents of children with the disease are curious to know if cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive extract from the cannabis plant, may be beneficial in controlling ADHD symptoms.

CBD has shown promise in treating some health experts, and many experts believe its calming effects could help people with ADHD. However, research is still emerging and caution is needed.

This article will review the potential benefits of CBD for ADHD, its side effects, and how to get the best CBD products.

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CBD use for ADHD symptoms

The federal ban on all cannabis products, including hemp, before 2018 has limited research on CBD and ADHD. However, there are some studies on the effects of CBD or cannabis on ADHD symptoms. Here’s what they found:

  • A 2020 scientific review yielded a grade B, or moderate, recommendation that supports CBD for the treatment of ADHD.
  • A small 2020 study of 112 adult patients with medical cannabis with ADHD found that those taking a higher dose of CBD took fewer other medications for ADHD.
  • A small 2017 study of 30 people found that those who used a CBD nasal spray had a small reduction in hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. However, the improvement was not large enough for researchers to definitively say that CBD spray was more effective than a placebo. The researchers called for more research.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one prescription drug CBD, which is used to treat epilepsy. Research is underway into the formulation of CBD to treat other conditions.

Benefits of CBD

Unlike THC, which acts on the brain’s cannabinoid receptors, CBD acts on opioid and glycine receptors. These receptors regulate pain and the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps us feel good. Not surprisingly, research has shown that CBD can have many benefits. This includes:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Regulation of the immune system
  • Reducing pain
  • Provides antipsychotic effects
  • Seizure reduction
  • Reducing anxiety

CBD products sometimes claim many additional benefits. However, the ones listed above have been scientifically proven, while other benefits are often anecdotal or exaggerated.

Potential side effects of CBD

An advantage of CBD is that it has very few side effects. CBD has no psychoactive effect and no risk of addiction or abuse. A 2020 scientific review of 22 research studies found no reports of serious adverse side effects.

However, some people taking CBD will experience minor side effects that include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Changes in appetite
  • Stomach pain or nausea

Things to consider before using CBD

Although many CBD products make claims about the treatment of ADHD, there is no definitive research showing that CBD helps most people with ADHD. It’s best to keep your expectations realistic and remember that even if CBD worked well for someone you know, it won’t necessarily improve symptoms for you or your child, and is not a substitute for the treatments recommended by you. medical team.

You should also consider legality. It is important to use only a CBD product that contains less than 0.3% THC, in order to comply with federal law. If you are considering CBD for a child, check your state’s laws and consider using a THC-free isolate, which is illegal for people under the age of 21, even in states that have legalized it. cannabis. Make sure you buy your CBD products at a reputable dispensary or pharmacy so that you know exactly what they are.

How to use CBD

There are no guidelines on how to use CBD for ADHD. CBD oil is widely available and is usually consumed by placing a few drops under the tongue or stirring in coffee or tea. There are also many CBD products available, ranging from jelly supplements to packaged drinks.

There is also no known dose to treat ADHD. Many people find that they need to experiment to find the right daily dose to control their symptoms.

If you are curious about using CBD to treat ADHD, you should talk to your healthcare provider. Although CBD is generally considered safe, it is still a chemical compound that can interact with other supplements or medications.

Remember that most CBD oils are unregulated, so there is no guarantee that a product will be safe, effective or what it says is on its packaging. Your healthcare provider should be able to offer dosing recommendations and products that work with your individualized treatment plan.


CBD shows some promise in helping to control ADHD symptoms. However, research is limited and further research is needed to confirm efficacy, dosage, and safety. CBD is generally considered safe and has few or no side effects. If you are considering trying CBD, talk to your healthcare provider and look for a quality product for the best results.

A word from Verywell

The symptoms of ADHD can have a big impact on your life, so it’s normal to look for alternative treatments to supplement your medical treatment plan or manage minor symptoms.

While early research on CBD for ADHD is promising, there are no definitive conclusions yet. If you want to try CBD for ADHD, talk to a trusted health professional. They will be able to answer your questions without judgment and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is CBD oil safe?

    CBD is generally considered very safe. It has no psychoactive properties and is not addictive. Some people experience minor side effects such as upset stomach or drowsiness.

  • Can CBD oil be given to children?

    The FDA has approved a prescription drug for CBD to treat epilepsy in children. Outside of that, CBD is generally considered safe, but you should consult your healthcare provider and your state’s laws before giving CBD to children.

  • Is CBD illegal?

    CBD is legal at the federal level as long as it is in a form that contains less than 0.3% THC, the other active ingredient in marijuana. State-level CBD legality varies, so be sure to look at your state’s laws.


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